tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN December 3, 2015 11:38pm-12:01am EST
i introduced the bill in february the same day that republican peter king introduced the bill in the house and the bill itself was developed by george bush's justice department. simply put, this shouldn't be a partisan issue. today, under federal law, an individual is blocked from buying a gun if that person falls into one of nine categories on the national instant background check system. i had it here and i wanted to show you the nine categories. this is it. and these are the categories. i have some -- i have been convicted by a crime, fugitive from justice, unlawful user or addicted to any controlled substance, has been adjudicated as a mental defecttive or committed to mental institutions. one thing that is left out of this, suspected of an act of terrorism or a terrorist. and that's what this bill would remedy.
the bill would add a new category that allows the attorney general to prevent a person from buying a gun or explosives if two requirements are met. first, that the individual is a known or suspected terrorist and second if the attorney general has reasonable belief that the recipient would use a firearm in connection with a terrorist attack. there are any number of gun safety bills that congress should pass, but keeping the guns out of the hands of terrorists should be number one on the list. and the huge soft loophole is that somebody can fly into this country and go and purchase a weapon, be a terrorist and not be held attributable to it.
that's the precision. it doesn't count as a reason to deny a sale. so giving the attorney general this authority, i think, is long overdue and hopefully we'll have a chance to vote on it today. let me get this out of the way. senator boxer. senator: i just spoke with the mayor of san bernandino and he had after i expressed my grief, he said ask everyone to pray for san bernandino. and so, senator schumer, thank you. i also as the senator has offered the help of any federal agency. i know the f.b.i. has been there from the get-go. my heart's broken again.
i remember so long ago, when john walked into 101 california. this was a disgruntled man who walked into a law office and killed a lot of people and one of them happened to be my son's best friend. and senator feinstein stepped up and said, what is happening with these assault weapons? and she's been on the case ever since. i'm so proud to be her partner on this. my heart is broken again, whether it's connecticut, whether it's washington, whether it's oregon, new york -- name every state, they have all had this happen.
we look at the pain, the trauma, the fear. we look at war zones in our own country. war zones? i want to thank the medical personnel, the first responders. they're heroes, they rushed to the scene and later stopped these killers. and we know that victims in this attack, they were county employees at the san bernandino department of public health. i was a county supervisor in marin county and in california, i got to tell you, the county workers are so wonderful because they are giving back to their community, in this case, the complex was dedicated to people with developmental disabilities and the attack occurred in a room -- big room they rent out and this time it was for the department of health employees.
so there's a holiday party. people gathered in friendship. and all of a sudden, the unspeakable happens and while the details have been noted before us are unfolding, they are unfolding and troubling. this is what we know for sure. these suspects -- they are not suspects, they are killers, these killers used military-style weapons, 14 people died, at least 17 were wounded in just a few short minutes. and left the scene like a war zone. the weapons, the weapons of war were used. i know a lot of people on the other side of the gun issue and i have never heard anyone give me a reason as to why
military-style weapons should be used by anyone other than a military person or law enforcement officer. weapons of war don't belong in our communities and again, senator feinstein, i know she is going to have more information for you on her efforts. but we are going to move again to make sure that these weapons stay in the hands of the military and the police. i'm so glad, senator schumer, and i say to patty murray and our leadership, senator reid and the rest, so grateful that we will be voting today and you outlined, you mentioned the background check expansion, the no terrorists can get a gun and mental health. senator murray has this very important amendment that i was proud to speak about at length on the floor that would increase the funding to make our health care clinics safe, increase security. that is also part of this
package. i'm going to close with this. after 10 years the vietnam, vietnam war got me involved in politics. we lost nearly 60,000 americans in the vietnam war over 10 years. we lose more than that to gun violence in less than 10 years. 10 years we mourn the loss of these soldiers. 10 years, even more die from gun violence. you know everybody would be on the floor tonight of the senate. but there is a lack of courage, a lack of courage and that's why we are here to say step up to the plate today, stand with us. people deserve to be safe in their communities, going to a holiday party, going to school, going to a mall, going to a
restaurant. they deserve to be safe and that's why we're here. senator murray: lawmakers in this building have offered their thoughts and prayers of yet to another heinous mass shooting in this country. my colleagues stand here once again to say we need something more. we need action. we stand here today because we know and the majority of americans agree it is far past time for this congress to adopt commonsense reforms. we don't have all the details of an what happened yesterday in california, but we already have
far too many examples from every corner of this country, including my home state of washington, to know we must act. we must act so children at school, young adults on campus, women in abusive relationships, patients at planned parenthood clinics and co-workers at a holiday party know their government is doing something, anything to keep guns out of the hands of the most dangerous criminals and terrorists. that action needs to start right here in this building. senator sanders: this is difficult for the american people to keep up with the mass shootings that we see almost every day. yesterday, san bernandino, few days ago, colorado springs.
before that, oregon, before that, tennessee and on and on it goes. the san bernandino shooting was the 355th mass shooting this year. 2,000 americans have been killed by guns. let me paraphrase what president obama said recently. and what he said is that this is not an easy problem to solve but just because it is not an easy problem to solve does not mean that we should not do everything that we can. now the bad news is, in fact, that this nation is divided over gun legislation. that's a simple fact and political reality. but the good news is, there is a broad consensus perhaps 60% to 70% of the american people who
agree on commonsense gun safety legislation and here is what that consensus is about, supported by a strong majority of the american people. we need to significantly expand and improve background checks. who is arguing that people who should not have guns because of a criminal background or mental problems should not be able to purchase those guns. very few americans disagree with that. we need to renew the assault weapons ban. we need to end the sale of high capacity magazines and make gun trafficking a federal crime and give law enforcement. we need to close the gun show loophole and allow gun purchasers to buy a gun without a completed background check. we need to close loopholes that allow domestic abusers to buy guns. and straw purchasers who buy it from licensed dealers prohibited
from purchasing a gun. and very significantly, we need to greatly expand and improve our mental health capabilities. the sad reality is in america today there are many thousands of people who are walking our streets who are suicidal or homicidal and these people need treatment when they need treatment regardless of their income, regardless of their insurance status. when they are in crisis, they should be able to get treatment today, not two months from now. these are just some of the ideas that, in fact, are supported by the vast majority of the american people and it's time that congress moves forward in response. thanks.
mr. blum: we are three days away from the newtown massacre and once again unspeble -- unspeakable carnage in america. senator: evil in the horrendous brutality of massacres and good in the emergency responders and police who faced down danger to save people. once again, prayers. prayers are not enough. the most common question in america today is what will it take -- what will it take to face down this evil? will it become the new normal?
will the finality of evil, a term used in reference to another time of mass killing, what will it take for real safety and security in america, not just for us, but for our children, for innocent people in churches and schools and clinics around america. all i've heard today in this building so far is pretty much business as usual. we are going to take another vote on the affordable care act. congress is complicit in these mass murders when it fails to act. inaction makes congress complicit. and for anybody who says connecticut now has a strong measure on gun violence and so does california, so does new york, this simple stark fact is
that the strongest state laws are at the mercy of the weakest because our borders are pourest. guns flow across state lines and they victimize innocent people as a result. so state laws are not the solution. nor is slugging our shoulders. that's the most common reaction. can't be done. there has to be a tipping point. what will it take? 30,000 deaths every year ought to be enough. a mass shooting every day on average ought to be enough. not just san bernandino but the constant flow of death and blood as a result of gun violence and it cannot be business as usual anymore.
as senator schumer said so well, enough is enough. enough is enough. senator: prayers and sympathies were important to us in sandy hook. i know thoughts and prayers are important to the people of california today. but members of congress don't get elected in order to send out sympathy tweets. members of congress get paid to change policy to make people safer. and what is so offensive to those of us particularly who lived through sandy hook and watch communities live through similar episodes is that it's not bad enough that we haven't passed any legislation to try to address these epidemic rates of
gun violence, but in this congress we aren't even trying. we aren't making an attempt. it's offensive. we are going to try. there is a group of sane people in washington who realize that the status quo isn't acceptable. maybe these measures will pass, maybe they won't but at least the american people will see we are plugged to this disbelief over the inaction of this congress. i want to say one word about the intersection of mental health and gun laws. there is probably nobody over the course of the last year who has worked harder than i have and i hope we have a chance to bring our bill before the united states congress. but the united states doesn't have a rate of mental illness than that is greater than other first world countries.
we don't spend less money. but we have a rate of gun violence that is 20 times that of first world nations. we have more illegal guns than any other country. we have the loosest gun laws. what is different about america, we allow for military-style of assault weapons to populate the streets. let's be honest what differentiates america. what differentiates america is the fact that we refuse to get serious about keeping guns out of the hands of criminals and military-style assault weapons off the streets. we are going to try today. i don't know whether we'll succeed but at least we will show the people of california, connecticut, south carolina and oregon that somebody, that somebody is listening and reacting to the pain that
millions of people are feeling across the country. senator schumer: questions. reporter: you have argued in the past what produces these shootings. why haven't you introduced these bills? senator schumer: when we put together our principles, we talked about the number one thing we could do is close the gun show loophole stop selling guns online and universal background checks. and that's what we are introducing today. because there is such an increase from violence from isis and it is absurd to leave the law as such that if you are on a terrorist watch list -- these are the two that does the most good now. next question. \[inaudible question]
reporter: this building never moves on it. you keep having these press conferences over and over. senator schumer: we are reaching a tipping point. i was the author of the brady law. there was crame wave in america that forced people to act and the brady law which saved tens of thousands of lives and many other things we did on crime reduced crime and the american people said ok, they agreed with us on gun control but it wasn't a high-ranking issue. the mass shootings week after week, different types of people all being killed is arousing the american conscience and we will win these fights. if we don't win today, we'll win next month, month after that or the month after that. the worst thing we can do is do nothing. and let those who are hiding out of fear of the n.r.a. stay under the covers.
we are going to keep at this. we talked about this a month ago. we talked about doing a major bill on our three principles in the early winter. we are going to keep at this and believe me, we will win. america is changing. reporter: excuse me. senator: when you ask such a question, you are basically saying, why bother. you have had all these other problems. that's not what leaders do. they just don't hide because you may not win the vote. you keep doing it. i'll give you one statistic. in california since the 1990's, we have passed a number of important gun safety laws and over that period of time, we have had a reduction in gun violence of 56%. now clearly what we see is, this is not enough.
that's why we need national laws and i look forward to senator feinstein's re-introduction of some form of her assault weapon ban. sensible gun laws work and we have proven it in california. if you look at the great fights over decades on major social issues, on major, you know anti-pollution years. they take 10, 20 years, you don't give up. reporter: republicans when they had in the minority had some successes with their pet projects trying to dismantle abortion rights. i do you have anything to learn from republicans to pursue your