Skip to main content

tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  January 20, 2016 10:00am-12:01pm EST

10:00 am
think she has done a good job of connecting these issues and a lot of other progressive health or organizations could certainly follow that model. att: rachel cohen, a fellow the american prospect magazine, talking about her cover story richard, thank you for joining us, and that is all for today, we will be back at 7:00, tomorrow. ♪ ♪ [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] ♪ >> loretta lynch is on capitol
10:01 am
hill this morning. she will testify about the justice department's role in implementing the new rules coming up live in a half hour. over on c-span3 today, the u.s. conference of mayors, one :00 p.m. eastern baltimore mayors moderates a discussion on relations between police officers and communities where they work. former new orleans mayor mark as well as the salo's police chief coming up at 1:00 p.m. eastern over on seas than three. >> american history tv airs every weekend on c-span3, all day saturday and sunday. some of the highlights for the weekend include saturday at 2:00 p.m. eastern on oral history, an interview with conservative commentator armstrong williams. >> my father had a reputation in
10:02 am
the county. before he was about to be introduced, i said, i hear that you are a racist. [laughter] he said to me, you sound like a bright young man. he said when you graduate from high school, come work for me. decide whether i am racist or not. >> on the anniversary of the boston tea party, reenactors reenact the scene in boston. sunday morning at 10:00 on route to the white house rewind, the 1980 republican campaign with interviews of ronald reagan, george h.w. bush, john anderson, and howard baker, recorded i students at a high school in a hampshire airing for the first time in national television. this week,rs ago iran released 52 american hostages after holding them for 444 days.
10:03 am
the release of the hospital minutes before ronald reagan was sworn in as president. for the complete american history tv schedule, go to c-span.org. >> loretta lynch, the attorney general on capitol hill this morning, testified about the administration's new gun regular -- regulations. live coverage when the hearing gets underway in about a half hour. until then, a conversation from this morning, washington journal. >> in our studio this morning, adam green's here to talk about 2016. let's begin. two weeks to go into iowa. what is your production? guest: it is all a matter of inspiring people at this point. we have been encouraged by a race to the top on a lot of
10:04 am
issues. whoever has a stronger message going into the caucuses with up that dayng thinking, -- host: who does your group think that is? guest: we have had a clear mission to work and engage with all presidential campaigns privately and publicly and set up a system of incentives. one year ago today there were zero politicians who supported the goal of debt-free college. today, all three candidates have their own plans to do it. we have 100 members of congress on board. it was unthinkable all caps dates would be talking about jailing wall street bankers and a picture systemic reform. ownthree have their variations of expanding social security benefits. we hope that in the final two
10:05 am
weeks we stay focused on substance. host: bernie sanders has been critical of the former secretary of state saying she gets paid big fees to speak to corporations, to wall street. does that concern you? guest: it has concerned us. part of our point this year was the burden of proof is higher on her given that she has taken multi-hundred thousand dollars fees. it is notable that she is talking about breaking up the big banks. she and bernie sanders have different ways of doing it. i think it is a legitimate line of critique. we are happy there is not a division in the democratic party right now whether to big to fail should be addressed. there's a question of how to do it. host: another issue is health care. the back and forth between the vermont senator and former secretary of state on this issue of medicare for all. [video clip]
10:06 am
>> secretary clinton did not answer your question. what her campaign was saying, bernie sanders who has fought for universal health care for my entire life, he wants to end medicare and medicaid and the children health insurance program. that is nonsense. what a medicare for all program does is finally provide in this country health care for every man, woman, and child as a right. the truth is that frank lindh delano roosevelt, harry truman, they believed that health care should be available to all of our people. i am on the committee that wrote the formal care. i voted for it. but right now, what we have to deal with is the fact that 29 million people still have no healthy insurance. we obtained the highest prices in the world for prescription
10:07 am
drugs and it ripped off. and here's the important point. we are spending far more per person on health care than any other people in the country. i want to get private insurance out of health insurance, lower the coast of health care for middle class family by $5,000. that's the vision we need to take. >> i have to say i'm not sure whether we're talking about the plan you just introduced tonight or we're talking about the plan you introduced nine times in the congress, but the fact is, we have the affordable care act. that is one of the greatest accomplishments of president obama, of the democratic party and of our country -- [applause] and we have already seen 19 million americans get insurance. we have seen the end of pre-existing conditions keeping people from getting insurance. we have seen -- [applause] -- women pay nothing more for our insurance than men.
10:08 am
there are things we can do to improve it but to tear it up and start over again, pushing our country back into that kind of contentious debate, i think is the wrong direction. host: adam green, the opinion page they can editorial views of the "u.s.a. today" says on this back and forth between the two candidates that it's not realistic. bernie sanders' plan is not realistic and that it could cost the government $14 trillion over a decade and more -- or more than 10 times the price of obama care. guest: that's a very long clip and i am going to have a few thoughts about it. host: go ahead. -- : our goal for the dem democratic party is there are what is that the corporate democrats of the world largely have been sidelined and as long as we can leave this with some consensus, that's good. to give hillary clinton some
10:09 am
credit first. the critique on bernie sanders on the gun issue. it was fair game and it was a contrast from the progressive perspective, holding corpses more accountable. and i'm very happy that he has now said he will get rid of that immunity and we have peace in the land. we have a united democratic party. on this conflicts surprised by this line of contrast with sanders. and in the dem accuratic primary, those numbers are be higher. i thought that was a weird line of attack. practically, i didn't hear bernie sanders saying he would do this in his first year.
10:10 am
it's ironic that they were pressuring him of the plan. that was symbolic that he was not priority rising this issue. many progressive, some version of medicare for all is the north star that we are going towards. do we want some version of that? yes. but sure. we just had a big fight and for now, there will be improvements on the way. hopefully, going into iowa, there's intellectual honesty and more contrast from the progressive viewpoint and not demeaning medicare for all. host: let's get the calm george in louisville, kentucky, democrat. hi, george. caller: hi, greta. hi, adam. good morning. while this is something i thought about for a long time, we always talk about free market, free world, free choice, it's a free country. our minds are so polluted with the word free that we can't see the conditions around us. if you have a major investor who
10:11 am
is seeking to make an investment in a change somewhere be it a restaurant or a department store or whatnot, we would never -- a company would never unnerve or upset the customer. we would never tell a customer of retail outlet or restaurant chain or whatnot, well, if you don't like it here, you can go elsewhere. but the person who works every day out there in the retailer environment who has the least amount of autonomy, who had to petition their job, loves free market, free choice, if you don't like it, you could go elsewhere and they had to apply for that job and hope their petition gets picked. but of the consumer, the investor or the worker, the consumer didn't have to apply for it to be a consumer. the investor didn't have to apply. but they have the most autonomy. the worker has the least amount
10:12 am
of autonomy. and we realize the working conditions for people have eroded over the few decades in the supply side. employers have too much of leverage over employees so much we need something like workers lives matter. there's too much employer abuse in employees. taos too many underpaid people. and this is what we need. host: ok, george. all right, adam green? guest: workers lives matter. you might just made a claim there. hashtag it. there was a rising populous tide in america on the republican side and democratic side. what separates 2016 and 2008 that we're living in this populous moment? and there should be a pro worker agenda. whether it's expanding social security benefits for workers after they retire or liberate people to take the job that they want and not be shackled with debt. whether it's wall street reform to ensure the corporations are not ripping people off or
10:13 am
whether it's just basic union rights collective bargaining, these are things that our next president needs to address. fundamentally, you're right. hopefully, people wake up on election day both in the primary and the general think about these things. and if democrats elevate this, the general will win this handily. host: ed, independent from washington. caller: yeah. we need a national sales tax, you know. people come on over more. and they don't get benefits and then they contribute to the sales tax, that would help a lot. in europe, you can get health care. you get education. aren't those good things? i mean, should we tax bad things? and reward and give good things?
10:14 am
host: mr. green? guest: i want to say something really controversial here. we should reward good things. that's what we should do. so your fundamental point of, you know, aligning a --? the marketplace makes sense. the sale tax is regressive. that has a lot more meaning to a poor person than a rich person. if beer going to do tax reform the preference of most americans is if we ask the rich and corporations to pay their fair share. let's solve that before we apply a new sales tax to everyday goods in the supermarket. there are many lobbyist in this town to save their plans tens of billons of dollars. let's solve that first. your core point is right. we need this money to invest in a debt-free college and public
10:15 am
tools, roads, bridges, highways, and stuff like that. host: there is 12 days to go before the iowa caucus. so we're talking with progressive change campaign committee co-founder adam green about the presidential race, the democratic party and getting your questions and thoughts bout that. i want to share this with our viewers as well, the "wall street journal" this morning. their editorial, "taking sanders seriously is what they say." and they point to hypothetical general election matchup between bernie sanders and donald trump and when polled, americans say, according to this "wall street journal" nbc poll, 54% would pick bernie sanders in that matchup. guest: people pay less attention to labels and how authentically
10:16 am
they stand for those ideas. people are hurting this country. and we want the issues addressed. bernie sanders is putting those at the forefront. that would be a very interesting matchup to say the least. one thing that concerns me about donald trump, particularly if he's running against hillary clinton is we could have the 2016 election devolve into distraction issues as opposed to having a paddle of ideas. the fact that he would drive the question about whether he she took a restroom break. he is petty but we don't gain anything in the long term by winning that way. we do win if we have a contrast of visions. if someone like ted cruz is also very dangerous but we might have an ideological battle.
10:17 am
host: perhaps a more conventional republican would get in or perhaps elizabeth warren or joe biden. what do you think? guest: i don't think elizabeth warren. i don't think joe biden. i don't think michael bloomberg, but that would be interesting. elizabeth warren has played a really important role in this racism she's not driving headlines every day but her influence has been looming over the entire 2016 election. and has been the north star that candidates have been walking towards on every issue and it's notable to me that pretty much on every issue she's called on presidential candidates, they've addressed quickly. for example at the convention last surges she addressed a bill that would explode the revolving door and the government regulate themselves. thin two weeks, the bill was
10:18 am
endorsed. so elizabeth warren is content playing this influential role. host: do you know when she'll endorse? guest: i don't know but if something is working, keep going. and the fact that she has all candidates addressing her issues , it's a good scenario for her and her agenda. host: tim in alexander, ohio, democrat. you're next. caller: hi. can i say this is why i love hillary, ok? the affordable care act is still new. it takes years for us to perfect them, right? and as a young person, i'm 28 years old. obama was the first person i was able to vote for. and by golly, i did and i believe in what he does and i believe in what he stands for
10:19 am
and i believe that hillary will continue that. and she will make things better. and as for trump, that's a joke. host: ok. so kim, echoing something that hillary clinton says. i will -- she is saying i will defend president obama's administration and what he has done. guest: yeah. i don't think that's the contrast in this racism i think both candidates will both defend the affordable care act and many of the things in the progressive direction that the president has one. she's battle scarred. she knows how to engage in battles and could both fight and cut deals with congress and move things forward. that's her core governing vision and there's experience mixed into that.
10:20 am
bernie sanders has different governing vision. he says we needs a revolution. unlike president obama and some of the things that people -- ght would happen to him, bernie sanders seems to be saying even if i'm all alone in this town, i will galvanize my supporters and we're going to have a revolution and force congress to act. it's up to the people. which one meets the moment? but there's no doubt that at the time one would defend the affordable care act or the things that president obama has done. how will they govern? what is their approach on these ssues? host: to florida. george arc republican. caller: good morning. before i ask you why you keep calling yourself progressives and socialism has failed over the last hundred years so miserably and you should be alling yourself progressers.
10:21 am
a man called to me and he said bring me in all these refugees. they're going to all of a sudden ome into our political system. and you know so,-to-ask him that, everybody who comes here gets into our political system. so you really showed something that you gave your hand away, but sir, you are definitely certainly a -- communist, there's no question about it. everything is marxism. now, what -- host: george, let's get a response to that. he says that everything you've said today is that you're a communist and marxism. guest: first, thank you. pretty much time every time i've gone on c-span, there's one
10:22 am
person with that comment and you've checked that block and i appreciate it. when it comes to these issues, there's overwhelming consensus in america. not just democrats, it's republicans as well the idea at g.e. should not pay taxes is common sense. it's tough in d.c. to take on corps interests. they're paying finance bills and lobbyist. the idea of allowing students to graduate without debt, possibly doing some work study, but also having aid from the state, pell grants, these are very popular position. and that means that anybody's children out there won't have to take some big corporate job means that the next google co-founder is free to form google without taking some off jobs somewhere else and it means people can start a family, buy a home, buy a car and not be shackled in our life.
10:23 am
that's a common sense and the american dream. i would reject that. i call myself a bold progressive. there's about a million of us across the country who are part of this organization. and it really is. because we want to fight for the little guy. and if you ask even republicans or invoters, that's a consensus position. host: henderson, nevada, david, democrat there. caller: yeah. you said -- host: we're listening, david. all right. let me move on to allen in texas, independent. hi, allen. caller: hi, good morning. what i want to know is number one, we were told years ago that president roosevelt's fund could not run in the united states because he was born in canada. now, if mr. cruz was born in canada of an american mother that supposedly makes him an
10:24 am
american citizen. well, then let's talk about the mexican lady that comes across the border and has a child. her child, then, is not an american citizen. her child is a mexican citizen. now, can we have it both ways? answer this for me. i'm 81 years old and somebody wants it both ways. what's the real way? i'll hang up and listen. host: all right, adam green, the progressive group is weighing in over whether or not ted cruz can run for president. guest: we have not weighed in on that particular question. didn't quite hear the contrast in that question. it sounds like you're saying someone is born in america to mexican parent and they wouldn't be -- well their constitution says if you're born in america, you become an american citizen. you can dispute, you know, immigration policies but i don't think that's actually in question. host: and what is your group's
10:25 am
stance on immigration? guest: we need comprehensive immigration reform. this whole secure the border thing first is a way to delay progress. and, you know, the network station was in arizona and there was a border tour type of thing that i went on there, seeing some of these immigration detention center up close and hearing from the families of those who were in there and what became pattern was there's two systems of law. there's an actual system of law and an arcane system of law. someone could be at their job and whisked away and have no due process. and their families both aren't having that income and are missing their father or mother or both. it's really horrible. and that's partly why we need immigration reform to really kind of apply the set of rules that makes sense and they're not taking away from families from each other. if one were to enter this conversation in a good faith way
10:26 am
and try to establish principles up front that we all should live by, i think one should be don't destroy families, right? people may have differing opinions on how to approach the question, but if somebody's advocating for taking a mother away from their kids or taking a child away from the rest of their family, a child who really has never lived in a different country but sending them back to a country because they happen to live there the first 12 days of their life, that seems arcane and crazy to me. so i think there's a larger justice argument in play here. host: speaking of ted cruz, "politico" with this headline. many of you know sarah palin endorsing donald trump in iowa yesterday. the governor of iowa also asking voters to not vote for senator ted cruz. cruz hit back against governor terry branston. this is no surprise. he says that establishment this full panic mode. he told reporters we said that
10:27 am
the washington cartel that the governor of iowa is concerned with that. you're going to see the cartel firing every shot that they can because i l the democrat of maryland on the left is a ranking democrat. in comes the attorney general. live coverage here on c-span.
10:28 am
10:29 am
10:30 am
>> this hearing will come to order. madam attorney general, we thank you for joining us today to discuss the president's recent executive action. as chairman of this subcommittee, i believe it is my duty to the american people to properly oversee the department of justice and ensure any funding is used as congress intended and within the bounds of the constitution. it is clear to me the american people are fearful president obama is eager to strip them of their second amendment rights. the second amendment is not a suggestion. it is an individual right for tested in the bill of rights, recognized by the supreme court. i am veryin mind, concerned with the recent executive actions by the president for two main reasons. first, president obama, i believe, is far to will and -- to use executive
10:31 am
action p believes one, was does not act the way he wants us to, he must act alone. our constitution will not allow for this kind of unilateral action and the american people will not stand for it. whether through executive amnesty to thousands of illegal immigrants or increased gun control measures, the prescient -- the president has acted alone. however, what the president fails to remember is we have a system of checks and balances. ensure powerted to was not concentrated in a single branch of the federal government. president has ignored the system and accelerated the use executive -- to an alarming, new level. none of the executive actions president obama has proposed would have prevented the recent tragic events in our nation,
10:32 am
whether a terrorist attack or a single gun crime. i believe those responsible should be held accountable and that we must work to prevent it from happening again. again,ave seen time and the president has used tragic events to push his political agenda. i believe he is more interested in grandstanding than engaging -- than actually doing the work necessary to protect this country. wake of terrorist attacks and gino, the president did not address our law enforcement's's failures which allowed the terrorists to live among us. he also did not look at making changes to our immigration system after he clearly failed us by allowing an individual who should have been known to be a violent extremist to enter our country. instead, the president's's immediate response was to propose an additional gun-control measure your criminals and terrorists, let's be clear, are not buying their shows, gun stores,
10:33 am
or collectors. criminals, by definition, do not follow the law very we live in a dangerous world. the american people are looking for us to do everything in our power to keep them safe. attackt time a terrorist occurs in this nation, innocent and laws i bills and must have the ability, i believe, to protect themselves and their loved ones from harm if they so choose. it is our responsibility to preserve their right and not limit them. thisieve most of us know president has made no secret of his desire to restrict the second amendment right of law-abiding citizens. the american people deserve and ask that more from the president. they also expect more from their members of congress and i intend to live up to their expectations the department is on notice. this subcommittee will have no part in undermining the cost is in the right that it detects.
10:34 am
>> thank you very much and i congratulate you in holding a , taking up the andc of the issue of guns their excessive availability in our society. this hearing tackle the very pressing issue of guns and gun violence area when an average of 300 americans are shot every ,ay, many of them will die almost one third here and we need to change our nation's culture of violence and we need to stop guns getting into the wrong hands, of criminals, mental honest, without infringing on the rights of law-abiding citizens to purchase firearms. i support the president's is measure on guns here it he is within his cost to small authorities to act in many of
10:35 am
these activities, like adding more and agents, have been strongly supported by this committee. last year's omnibus under your chairmanship really showed our commitment to enforcing existing laws and staff in order to do it. i look forward to hearing loretta lynch's testimony today on the president's's recent announcement on guns and the impact it will have on the american people and will it make us safe? no mincing, no talking points. will it help the american people . are we within our constitutional boundaries? we respect the constitution and also its impact on the justice department's authority to deal with this. we will also listen to the testimony of outside witnesses on the second panel. these people are well
10:36 am
, and also a father who will talk about the grid and things that happened at sandy white. immune from gun violence, whether a congresswoman trying to meet with york vigilance, gabby gifford. whether you are children going to elementary school in wonderful, suburban community called sandy hook. whether you are simply going to movies or going to a community college. we're sitting in a charleston church of the iconic civil rights struggle to study the lord's word and welcome in a stranger to end such a terrible tragedy. our president has been at that funeral as he has been at so many. he says we have to do something. to it therward president's's proposals will be in the new year. the budgetary recommendations he put behind, we look forward to
10:37 am
the president's recommendation. i am particularly interested in strengthening the instance of criminal background checks, there are back laws and technological glitches, people who want to go by the law are frustrated. we have to enhance the fbi's capacity to run background checks while at to do a lot of other background checks. are the new ways to do this and train local law enforcement? i just left a hearing where we are holding a hearing on mental illness. for so many people who are victims of gun violence, the volatile combination of mental illness and act as two guns are look forward not to me talking and listening to myself, but listening to the thisney general and wonderful panel you have invited to participate today.
10:38 am
let's solve the problem and not get involved in constitutional arguments. american people be safe and secure, in their homes, neighborhoods, school, and house of worship. >> welcome to the committee again. your written testimony we made part of the hearing record. receipt as you wish. -- proceed as you wish. loretta lynch: thank you. i greatly appreciate the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss the steps the department of justice is taking to reduce gun violence and ensure smart and effective enforcement of our nation's gun laws. well knows,mmittee our nation faces an epidemic of gun violence that has taken a devastating toll on communities throughout the country. every year, tens of thousands of americans are injured or killed
10:39 am
in armed robberies, domestic disputes, tragically, suicide, accidents, shootouts, and heinous acts of mass violence. law enforcement officers shot down by defending their communities to children killed in tragic accident spirit our friends and family members, our neighbors and fellow citizens, are being taken from us day after day. as the list of tragedies involving firearms has grown, the american people believe we must do more to stem the tide of gun violence. the executive actions the president announced two weeks ago, including the measures i recommend it to him, are essential components of the effort. are important steps within the executive's power to clarify existing legal provisions, to focus enforcement effort, and stir innovation. i have confidence the common are -- common sense steps
10:40 am
lawful, consistent with the constitution as interpreted by the supreme court and the laws passed by congress. the gun control act lists people not allowed to have firearms. congress has require that background checks be conducted as part of sales made by federally licensed firearm dealers to make sure that guns they out of the wrong. the actions announced by the president, which focus on background checks and keeping guns out of the wrong hands, are fully consistent with laws passed by congressman. executive actions will bring progress on a number of fronts. by clarifying what it means to ofengaged in the business dealing firearms, we raised awareness of and enhance compliance with laws that are already on the books. by issuing new regulations, we ensure that licensed dealers will report them if they are lost and stolen in transit.
10:41 am
those trying to acquire some of the most dangerous weapons through trust or corporations undergo background checks. by enhancing our national system's background check, we will be better prepared to keep guns out of the wrong hands in the first place. by increasing access to mental aalth care treatment with proposed 500 million dollar investment to the department of health and human services, also referred to as hhs, we will not only be helping those in need but also curbing gun debt. the majority of which, tragically result from suicide. by supporting research on gun safety technology, we will be laying the groundwork for a safer future, and drawing on our strength at the most technologically advanced nation on earth. the steps i have outlined in the actions president obama has ascribed are all well reasoned measures well within existing legal authorities, and build on work already underway. they clarify laws that are already on the books.
10:42 am
clear notice will help ensure those laws are followed. they direct important resources to our law enforcement agents. these men and women deserve to have the support they need to do their difficult jobs effectively. for lay the groundwork government to more legally provide information to background check information. in addition to helping people get the treatment they need, we must make sure we keep guns out of the hands of those who are prohibited by law from having them. and they invest in research and promising technology that will make weapons safer. problem-solving through innovation has been one of our country's biggest strengths. these actions will help make our people safer, our communities more secure, and our law enforcement more effective.
10:43 am
i also have no illusions that these measures i themselves would and gun violence in america. at a time when there is so much work to be done and so much capacity for progress, there are many areas where only congress could act. we will welcome the opportunity to work with you to further these goals. it is why i'm so grateful to have the opportunity to speak with you today about how we could work together to reduce gun violence in this country. i look forward to continuing the conversation in the days ahead as we discuss how to keep a promise to protect and defend every american's right to say she can -- safety, security, and life and liberty. i look forward to answering your questions. >> as i said earlier, the constitution is not a suggestion . you would agree with that? i agree it is the
10:44 am
law of the land and the law we are one to uphold. >> the rights of the people of this nation are not >> i agree with you on that as well as your previous opposition. >> the second amendment is part of the constitution and the bill of rights. loretta lynch: it is an important part of the first set of amendments. that the rights granted by the second amendment are equally as important as those granted by the first and fourth and fifth amendments, seventh amendment, and so forth? you say it is all an integral part of the constitution? loretta lynch: i believe the bill of rights and the subsequent amendment are an integral part of the constitution, as well as case lost that seek to interpret them. >> you said you worked closely with the president to craft these executive actions. to go as far as the president could legally go without
10:45 am
overstepping. about about disagree whether or not the president has overstepped, and i am sure we would, i am concerned that the president is slowly shifting away at our second amendment rights. can you guarantee us that there is legal authority from the president to take the actions that he has taken and can you provide specific laws or court cases that support that position? loretta lynch: with respect to the recommendations are made to the president, as indicated in my earlier remarks, i believe they are consistent both with the constitution and existing case law that interprets the constitution. specifically the heller case handed down by the supreme court that defined the second amendment and clarified the individual's right to bear arms, as well as the agency's right to promulgate guidance as well. with respect to actions taken, i
10:46 am
am confident they are consistent with the law of the land come under the president's authority, because they seek to enforce existing laws and strengthen the provisions congress has directed that we undertake to keep asrican people safe, such the background system. they seek to enhance protections for those with mental illness, providing greater treatment for them. another goal i know the subcommittee supports. >> each time there is a mass shooting, the issue of expanded background checks reenters the public debate. theink we must look at facts. the facts are that most of those actions are carried out to individuals who would not have been prevented by -- from obtaining a firearm. ace -- the sandy hook crimes were committed by an man who shot his mother and stole her guns. now, with a background check cap prevented that horrible tragedy?
10:47 am
the virginia tech shooter actually passed a background check to get his guns, much like those who committed similar crimes at fort hood, aurora, chattanooga, and the list would go on and on. the terrorist responsible for the attacks in san bernardino obtained their guns through a spur -- a straw purchase. a background check would not have helped them either. and yet we keep coming back to this issue. could you walk through these examples and tell us, how having more federal licensees would have altered the outcome? as i indicated, i do not believe we are able to look back and find a specific measure and prevent specific crimes. but that does not mean we must not seek to prevent future tragedies. with respect to strengthening the background system, sadly, the system is overwhelmed at this point in time. as we saw with the tragic
10:48 am
shooting in charleston, that individual information was submitted. because of glitches through experience and well-meaning examiners, the information needed was not discovered in .ime to prevent that the license firearm dealers who submit the information deserve the best and most efficient systems we could provide them. individuals who submit their information and wait for that also deserve the most efficient system that we could provide them. certainly, the measures we are discussing today, for example increasing the number of examiners for the system, a matter directly related to appropriations, seek to serve that important. -- important end. as i look through the laws, which gives us a way to protect people and vindicate the rights of those who have been victims of crimes, and yet have not been found a way to erase the human
10:49 am
conviction that leads to crime, we are committed to doing everything we can moving forward to making sure our gun laws are effectively enforced and the american people are kept as safe as possible. on some ofok back the tragedies, and they are real tragedies, which of these individuals bought their gun from a gun show. which of these criminals purchased their gun illegally online? i do not believe they did. toetta lynch: i am not able give that information now but what i can indicate is with respect to the clarifications on who is required to seek a license, as a federally licensed firearms dealer, this is in response to inquiries the bureau of alcohol, tobacco, firearms, and explosives received on a regular basis as they operate within gun shows to provide information and guidance. they also receive telephonic inquiries as well from individual seeking to comply
10:50 am
with the law who want to know what are the standards and what are the things that determine whether or not they need to in fact apply for a license. click the area of new standards, a recent new york times article states the president possibly on gun control would require officials from the bureau of alcohol, tobacco, firearms and explosives, to begin contact with gun sellers to let them know to clarify who would be considered a regulated dealer. the article goes on to suggest the changes are particularly meant for online gun merchants. checksonducting ground spite of having online gun sales through certain websites. the law requires that anyone selling guns for profit, which i believe would be high-volume gun sales, to have a federal firearms license, you are
10:51 am
quoting in the article, in the new york times, right now, your words, is really an internet loophole. is this really a loophole in the law or a failure of enforcement? loretta lynch: i typically do not comment on news articles and would prefer to provide you my own response to a particular issue. internet sales are increasing. not only do we see an increase in sales at the typical commercial level at which the average consumer may it -- appropriately by a number of commodities, including firearms, but we also see firearms sales growing on the darknet, the particular target -- part of the internet that is not accessible to the average consumer of where it was it transactions are merrily held. transactions were an average law-abiding things -- law-abiding citizen are seeking to acquire a law -- firearm lawfully, these are internet sales were criminals are seeking to buy firearms through which
10:52 am
they can harm american citizens. it is not a loophole, but it area of enforcement that the atf has been focused on. to the individuals who operate at gun shows, flea markets, and the like, there will be an educational component to the guidance. the information will be for -- provided to them, they will be allowed to ask questions or we believe this will lessen confusion among those individuals speaking -- seeking to comply with the law. where individuals operate on the darknet, primarily on a list of transactions, it also puts them on notice so if enforcement actions need to be taken, there could be no discussion that they were simply not aware of this particular provision. shouldlieve what we really be talking about across america is how to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and violent offenders. is an uphill battle if the
10:53 am
president continues to focus on e-voting second amendment rights . while we will debate the mandatory minimum sentences, the president's actions with these convicted of illegally possessing a firearm, it is disturbing. individualsw these and why the president feels they need shorter sentences. this sends at message to criminals that if you commit a crime with a gun, this administration will not be hard on you and perhaps go easy on you. that is the wrong message. aren't the president's actions sending a mixed message to americans? one day he issues new executive actions to change gun regulations. then pardons criminals and gun related convictions the next day? , whom youe president
10:54 am
represent in this administration, say he is committed to using every tool at the administration passes disposal to reduce gun violence when his own administrator is not following through with criminals with gun related convictions? does that trouble you? i do not know those specific cases the lie can ,ell you is with respect individuals who apply for those are carefully reviewed and vetted and only after the consideration of a number of factors, and to take her, recent discussion about nonviolent drug offenders and whether or not those individuals have i can do -- convictions, i would need to know the specific case to which you are referring but with project,o the clemency for example, it is a focus on looking at individuals who today
10:55 am
would not have necessarily received the lengthy narcotics offenses they received and who also otherwise qualified as nonviolent and with a particular type of record. i am certainly happy to provide information to the extent it is helpful on specific cases, if you could alert me to them. with respect to the issues we are discussing today, however, again providing clarification of existing case law, gathering the existing case law, so individuals seeking to comply have an easy to read, comprehensive reference to , andthe existing law says qualifies as engaging in the business of dealing with firearms, so that they know whether they have to apply for a license or not or so their questions can be informed if in fact are helping the american people in clarifying the issue, of who needs to report a firearm when it is lost or stolen in
10:56 am
transit allows atf to begin investigations of stolen firearms much more quickly than we are able to now. now, we recover on average, 1300 guns per year from crime scenes that turn out to be either lost or stolen. we do not know that information until they become -- until they are recovered in the course of a criminal investigation. learning the information earlier would help us start the investigation earlier and hopefully find the shipments before they fall into the hands of criminals, which is the goal of all of us here. >> i will not go through the record here because i have been handed by staff here a number of people who were convicted of , ofession of firearms committing a criminal act or using their firearm during a criminal act of men let out of prison early and put us back on
10:57 am
the people, which is dangerous. thank you for your indulgence -- senator. >> it is good to see you again. to the cityou back are we thank the justice department for all of their help during recent challenges in baltimore. the uprising we had over one young man passes death, freddie gray, which is now going to be judicial system. we are examining the need for criminal justice reform within our police department. 50 -- over 350 baltimore is were killed last year. 350, dead. some of whom were little children killed as innocent bystanders, or there is a question of whether it was a revenge kill.
10:58 am
this was criminal work. drugs,wing nexus of crime, guns, violence, murder. my question to you, when i look deaths, what can we do, in plain english, to keep the guns out of the hands of the criminal? i know we are talking about second amendment rights. hunters.numbers of the gun tradition in baltimore , how can we, in either the orsident's's new proposals in current law, really have an aggressive effort with the issue of guns and criminals? the mostyou p one of important things we can do is
10:59 am
make sure the bureau of alcohol, tobacco, and firearms is fully resourced. our request for 200 additional investigators for fiscal year 2017 is something that will come before the subcommittee. the 2017 budget, we intend to send of information about the beginning of the process even this fiscal year. the law enforcement priorities at this point, consistent with are to focus on a violent crime issue you just described, to focus on individuals who terrorize children.ods and harm through the unlawful possession of firearm, create a danger to american seeking to live their cities. our vibrant we are targeting not just gun traffickers, but the trigger pullers, gang violence, places
11:00 am
where we have seen an increase in violent crime. we are looking at ways to target sen. mikulski: do you feel this rising gun violence -- not to interrupt -- is related to the growing heroin epidemic? what is happening in my city, which is just awful with these over 350 dead, not only the this is in every major city that this is going on . it's not just a baltimore bubble. this seems to me like an epidemic that has hit our big urban areas. indeed.h: i believe the phrase epidemic accurately catcher -- actually captures the problem in heroin and opioid abuse we are currently seeing.
11:01 am
many of ouroblem in urban areas but it has sadly spread across this country. there are many counties with various densities, even rural areas that are in the grip of epidemics.and heroin they are forced on pairing atf agents with dea agents to target criminal organizations bringing narcotics in and are protecting the drug trade with their firearms. sen. mikulski: thank you very much, madam attorney general. my time is up. i was just put on a panel for mental illness and it was an excellent panel with excellent pro-witnesses and i know we are going to talk about this issue of mental illness.
11:02 am
people who are mentally ill getting drugs. this whole issue of privacy techs, the virginia actuation comes to mind and we could go through other cases, but in virginia tech, that young man had it in and out of institutions. when can we help? when can we intervene? we also had a shooting at a columbia mall. we all have shootings, that is what is so terrible. we all have shootings. i look forward to hearing your comments on the mental illness aspect. excellent other senators here and i want to get to their questions and hear your answers. senator lankford. senator langford: let me bounce a couple of questions off of you as well.
11:03 am
previously there was a committee where we went to the subpoena process to ask your predecessor for the documents on the fast and furious documents on guns. those were delayed and privileged was announced. the court told the attorney general office that that had to be turned over. will those documents he released to the oversight and government reform committee as part of the judges order question mark -- judges order? we did receive that yesterday and we are still reviewing the ruling. we want to determine what appropriate steps to take and the timeliness of them, but i can assure you we will be responding to the committee or court at the appropriate time. senator langford: so you are not saying whether those documents will be turned over in time? made that we have not decision.
11:04 am
if we had, i would let you know, but since we have not, i cannot give you the decision at this time. we will let you know within the time you have mentioned. : one of theford conversations i had was on process issues with the atf and fbi. combined to make sure we have clear processes across the nj. do you know any process that has been made with how they do investigations? need to know the context of the processes you were referring to. if you would provide that -- senator langford: there is a process moving on that. let me ask about some of the guidances you mentioned several times with the federal firearms licenses.
11:05 am
the guidance that has come out seems to be as before, if you are in the business of dealing firearms, then yes, you have to be licensed. that is nothing new. we are trying to get what is the new definition? it seemed to change during the clinton administration, to say people who are kitchen table dealers selling to their neighbors or selling a firearm out of their own collection, they are not a licensed dealer. we are trying to get a clarification on who is a licensed dealer. will it be a regulatory change or guidance document? ms. lynch: the guidance document that has been promulgated answers the question you have raised. it collects information from all the cases on this issue and provides a series of clear for when a definition someone is engaged in a business and when they are not. the definition has not changed
11:06 am
because the statute has not changed. we are simply gathering the case law, the legal definitions, gated by court in situations where people have been found to take place in the business and with the hobbyist and collector. those are also part of the law. hobbyists and collectors are not required to obtain a license to transfer firearms. at this information has been battered in a number of cases throughout the country. anticipates receiving inquiries seeking to comply with -- law, asking if it how manyford: is firearms you sell it over a lifetime or the number in your collection? is it based on the income you receive? ms. lynch: the courts have determined a number of factors
11:07 am
whether one engages in the business. it has specifically said there is not a specific number that makes one meet the test. it is a totality of circumstances. if one is repetitively selling firearms, if you do intend to make a profit, all of these things go into that calculation. not contain the order. will walkngford: i back through some of the details. one final question i find very important -- they gathering of information going into the background checks -- the interstate identification index, as that used for the background information as well or only what is going into national terminal background checks?
11:08 am
are both of them used? ms. lynch: i would have to get their fixation. this focuses on strengthening the knicks system. this has beenrd: an issue. i don't find anyone here who says we shouldn't do background checks and the database shouldn't be effective. have the pleasure of the chairman for him in, let me run through a couple of our states in the states that submit information into the system, federally, if there is a federal conviction for a felony, that's going into the system right away. if it is a state felony, alabama has zero felonies. has 4032. delaware has zero. maryland has 12. my fine state of oklahoma has
11:09 am
one, very law-abiding state. rhode island has zero and wisconsin has 106. that's not very many coming from our state into the system. the question i have is what is happening between the states that they are not submitting the information into the federal system or is the federal system states ofated that all stripes are not submitting that information? ms. lynch: i think you have raise a very important issue. after the virginia tech tragedy, the government did reach out to the state and requesting greater influx of information into the system. federal agencies are required to report into the system on a voluntary basis and in fact, in the year -- in the years since the virginia tech shooting, the amount of information coming from all of our states has increased by 70%.
11:10 am
i would not be able to break that out for you. what i did is sent a letter to the governors of every state asking them to essentially look at their systems and processes and make sure they were in fact setting up the most efficient systems to divide information to us. the department of justice does provide support for states to receive assistance in into the system and possibly making their own systems consistent and we will continue to do that. langford: i know i have indulged the chairman's time going long on this, but this is an area of common ground where we could actually work together and i look forward to that. kaine's --: senator
11:11 am
>> thank you for appearing before the appropriations committee. i was encouraged in your testimony earlier that you want to focus on the smart and effective enforcement of our existing gun laws. the elements of the executive order you have covered are strong attempt to do exactly that. yous proud to hear you as review the well-settled constitutionality of the actions or post in the executive order and in the budget. rather than debating that further, i am going to move forward to what you view as the most valuable part of the budget request, something where this committee will be taking action. a portion of the presidents announcement was new fbi and atf personnel.
11:12 am
i have seen tragically firsthand in my hometown what a dramatic fight in gun violence can do to disrupt a town and community, to wreak destruction and pain on families and neighborhoods. grateful for how the department of justice has ,rovided additional resources but i have also seen how access to better quality background checks and an increased federal law enforcement presence can make a significant difference. can you explain why these new atf and fbi agents are really necessary and how they can help reduce gun violence not just in my hometown but in rural areas all over the country? respect to our request for increased resources for atf, we have discussed requesting resources that would
11:13 am
allow us to hire 200 agents and investigators. some of those would work on the increased paperwork resulting in background checks, but the agencies will be focusing on the violent crime problems we find to be so troubling in so many of our cities, towns and neighborhoods. focusing on the hotspots of particular areas would allow us to increase the amount of enforcement we provide over the internet sales, as i mentioned, but to really focus on the violent crime problems plaguing so many our cities. the resources we are requesting and would begin using this year auld go toward strengthening law enforcement initiatives that traces guns found at crime scenes as well as casings,
11:14 am
essentially all firearms related evidence and shares that information on a nationwide basis from law enforcement entities and allows us to make connections and find connections between firearms, those using the firearms, and we are opening that inal center for november. this is a tool our law enforcement agencies depend on greatly. is ability to track firearms of grave importance. the ability to track stolen firearms can protect our communities. stolen firearms and even those that are lost do not end up in the hands of law-abiding americans. they end up in the hands of criminals and are covered during criminal investigations. sadly, they are recovered at the rate of 1300 year over the last five years once the crime has
11:15 am
already been committed. one of the things these regulations would do is allow us to begin those investigations interceptd hopefully those before they fall into the hands of criminals. sen. coonz: thank you for the good work your team has been doing in cooperation with the wilmington police department. i've gotten to see firsthand how better access to ballistics tools has improved our homicide case clearing rate from 10% two years ago to 50% this year. that makes a real difference and having access to world-class and timely analysis has significantly improve the investigatory and prosecutorial programs in my town. i am excited about this work and it is my hope we can invest tackle gun violence
11:16 am
around our country. shame that americans literally in their going to church to worship, going to see movies, going to college classrooms, going to elementary schools have been victims of gun violence and we must do more to tackle this problem facing our nation. >> thank you, attorney general, for being here with us today. very appreciative. i want to begin by echoing what we have heard across the board and that is the tragedy we all feel when gun tragedies occur. it hurts us all and our prayers and thoughts are with those most deeply affected. but i do think acknowledging there's a great deal of frustration by the unilateral actions the administrations --
11:17 am
the administration has chosen to take to curb this gun violence. -- seemthe actions sing ambiguous and provide confusion for gun owners and seem a little at more about political messaging. that is not to say we should not take actions. like to focus where our common ground is. much of the work we have talked about today is conducted in west virginia. the atf facility is in martinsburg, west virginia. they have each proven their worth helping to track weapons and perpetrators of gun violence when crimes are committed. i've visited these facilities and have seen the professionalism and deep commitment they have to getting it right.
11:18 am
you did mention that they are overstressed and overloaded and hopefully, through the appropriations process, we are able to increase the budget to make sure we are able to employ more to make sure they can successfully complete in a timely fashion to background check. i wanted to get an understanding from you -- i understand in your statement -- i'm sorry you were at here, but you are going to 24 hour system -- is that your goal? is tonch: the goal increase the capacity of the current system so that it can be responsive on a 24 hour, 70 a week basis. currently, we are limited by staffing and we are able to operate 17 hours a day and i am not sure if it is seven days a week at this time. an electronic platform that allows dealers to
11:19 am
get information quickly and we hope to improve that platform greatly and are working with u.s. digital services and gathering information into how to make that is the more efficient so that can be up 24 hours a day. there are times when it must be down for maintenance or to get information uploaded to it. that will help with the backlog we are seeing and we anticipate that will continue. sen. capito: have you begun the hiring on that? we do hope to begin hiring with that using this fiscal year's appropriation and the 2017 request would allow us to maintain that because we need to move as quickly as possible. we will likely begin hiring on a contractor basis first. the goal is to have full-time employees on board. employees, there
11:20 am
is time required for background checks and like. so it will likely be several months before we have that full component on board. is a matter of great concern for us because it is becoming increasingly difficult to process the applications within the three day time frame. let me ask you this -- senator langford ronna been excellent point. and ability to trace perform an adequate background check is only as good as the information coming in. as we saw in the charleston, south carolina incident, it was unable to be traced to that individual. the localaining at level? is it the examiner? what happened there?
11:21 am
i think you know that the examiners are dedicated and do their jobs with great commitment. in the charleston case, my the arrest wass located in one particular jurisdiction but the query was made of another jurisdiction. and because there was not a conviction yet, it prevented it from being the courts system, so the examiner followed all the queries as per normal and the information was literally sitting in an adjoining counties docket and was not pulled in to that. it was wrinkly heartbreaking to all of us who work on this matter from the fbi and throughout the department of justice. even then reasons why we began looking at the ways to improve the system and the fbi director commissioned a report, being able to modernize the
11:22 am
electronic database will be helpful in making sure all the relevant jurisdictions are able to be wary. if that could happen on an electronic basis, that would ease the situation. it is impossible to say what prevented this glitch, but it is one thing we are looking to do. of the examiners, making sure they have the time to conduct these examinations and provide a response to the dealers who come in. most of the is still done over the phone. most responses are handled quickly. often the dealer will get an answer in the first phone call, but the ones where you do have to search and make sure this individual was not prohibited, those often do take time. still, it is a system of which we are incredibly proud.
11:23 am
over 200 people have been prevented from buying a handgun and we think that has been a benefit to the country and public safety. we are incredibly proud of the system but we want to make it the best system we can. to make surei want the fine folks doing this work have the best technology, have enough staff to help them. it is a very stressful position for many of them. we can with this additional hiring, eliminate some of these loopholes people are able to fall into and prevent those people who shouldn't from getting a firearm. feinstein: madam attorney general, you certainly not well and as if you were worn out by the job. i have not seen you since your confirmation, so it is very good
11:24 am
to see you again. i am glad you stressed that the president's executive order largely clarifies existing laws, which should make enforcement easier. enforcement is what people seem to want of existing law. however, you do have to have people to enforce existing laws. you have said twice in your remarks and once in your written remarks, the atf is requesting $35.6 million for an additional 200 special agents and industry operation investigations through atf. goingerstanding is atf is to have the retirement of 544 special agents this year that are eligible to retire. i can't say how many are going to retire but it appears to me
11:25 am
with atf being an enforcement agency, that you are going to lose people and that is going to have an unfortunate effect. do you have any comment on that? ms. lynch: yes, and thank you for raising that important issue. atf is facing a situation were so many talented agents are soon able to retire. we hope that they will not but we know we will lose some. it is important to know the request that would bring an additional 200 agents and investigators on board still would not increase the size of the agency. for not a request additional fte but the budget to hire existing slots that are vacant now and will soon be vacant. for ar feinstein: i speak state that is over 40 million people.
11:26 am
we want the enforcement of existing law. the atf issee staffed and able to do it. subcommittee that is responsible to see atf is funded sufficiently to enforce every day laws. i'm going to do everything i can on this committee to see that that amount is raised so you get a sufficient number. i would appreciate all the data that you can provide me with. our machinehing guns and other fully automatic weapons as well as weapons like short barreled shotguns. these are regulated under the national firearms act and it has been reported that individuals have been able to avoid by applying to acquire these dangerous guns
11:27 am
through trusts or corporations rather than as individuals. of applications for such transfers has increased from fewer than 900 applications in 2002 more than 90,000 applications in 2015. the trusts are obviously being used not to have register them or not to have a background check or not to have to buy them through a licensed firearm dealer. how has atf managed to keep up with this massive increase despite flat manpower levels? it isnch: the reality is difficult to keep up with those applications. weaponsonal firearms
11:28 am
like short barreled shotguns and machine guns, there's an application process similar to a background check which typically requires a law enforcement officers certification. one of the regulations promulgated after going through is requiringme individuals seeking to purchase these weapons to undergo a theyround check whether are using a trust or any other legal entity or a standalone person. right now, if an individual seeks to purchase a silencer or short barreled weapon, they have to undergo an application process. when they use a trust, they do not. current regulation being promulgated as a final rule closes that loophole and says individuals using a trust or
11:29 am
entity stand in the same position as individuals standing alone. the lawremoves enforcement officer certification requirement because that has been obviated by the background check. .hat was an additional delay with the information from the background check, individuals entity orust, a legal applying as individuals will have the same requirements and undergo the same level of scrutiny before buying a national firearms act weapon. that was one of the rules promulgated in this past week as well. senator feinstein: thank you very much. i'm glad you are on top of this. of the 25 attacks of more than four people killed in the last 10 years, california has six of them. watching machine guns and those things that can be used to attack others is really
11:30 am
important and i thank you very much and will do everything i can to be of help in seeing that you get more atf agents. : thank you for being here today. withe a number of concerns the way the president continually overreaches his authority. something that really concerns me is the executive actions this upcoming rule proposal by the social security administration to include folks who have judiciary into the next program. is not clarifying existing law. them from prohibit their second amendment right not based on due process, but only request at that they family member or friend to assist them with their finances. i am concerned with your department's final ruling with beingjudication of those
11:31 am
a mental defective to more broadly cover folks who seek treatment. i am concerned because these were not changed through congress and you cover that with the upcoming social security rule, what are we going to have? least tell me what your isartment's plans are, what the social security administration planning to do and who will be entered in based solely on social security records? thank you. the current gun control act is prohibited individuals who have been adjudicated in certain ways regarding mental health of possessing firearms. federal agencies are required to submit information about individuals who fall into those the social-- security administration is beginning a process of seeking comment through a rulemaking process in order to clarify who
11:32 am
within the social security administration the unification system should fall under that as well. are currently not providing the information, so the questions you raise are real and salient ones. the social security administration's process which is just beginning is designed to elicit comment and get input as to which types of adjudication should be provided and which should not. the issue of mental illness is not one that some checks every trying to obtain a firearm, so it is important we clarify which types of adjudication and which types of issues would require those records. if the social security administration's beginning that process and we look forward to providing whatever input and
11:33 am
guidance they suggest as well. one of the things that will be part of that is our the a already provides records. one of the things that we part of that process is making sure any individual who finds themselves in that situation receives notice that is a possibility. would be consistent with existing law and second amendment. also that there is a way for an individual to have their rights restored. anything that might be a collateral consequence. i cannot reject what types of adjudication the social security administration would decide to be provided to the system. sen. boozman: thank you because that is a real concern. i have heard from a number of
11:34 am
departments and arkansas who have had accounts removed due to justice's mismanagement of the budget. in a letter regarding asset forfeiture, the program has artie begun implementing cost-reduction measures. whenare the measures and do you envision the equitable sharing program to be reinstated? to you explain the benefits the american people? we are so concerned about violent crime, this is one of the tools we are using very effectively in order to fight that battle. thank you for the question because i share your concern and our regard for the strong working relationship the federal government has with our state and local counterpart. beneficiary oft their talent and expertise and
11:35 am
now as attorney general, i do all i can to keep those relationships will strong and vital. with respect to the equitable sharing issue that you raise, there had been budget issues there. i don't know the exact time, but that essentially limited our ability to provide funds of equitable sharing. toare looking forward providing those as soon as the asset forfeiture would allow. i know there is a great deal of discussion about asset forfeiture in general and we have been working with congress to make sure we retain this important aspect of it while addressing those concerns as well. senator baldwin: thank you, mr.
11:36 am
chairman and senator mikulski for holding this important and timely hearing. violence continues to plague our communities. in my home state of wisconsin, gun homicides reached their highest point in a decade last year in the city of the walkie. saw a notorious called the i once number one seller of crime guns in america start to clean up its act and be held liable for selling firearms used to injure other gun dealers have rushed in to take its place. i hope all my colleagues can agree that we can and must do more to address this critical issue and keep our communities safe. and i supporter
11:37 am
and respect the second amendment. at the same time, i'm very frustrated the senate has been unable to advance common sense and bipartisan measures to bolster the enforcement of our existing gun laws and to pass additional safety provisions. in the absence of leadership on this important issue in a congress of the united states, i applaud the president for taking small steps to strengthen the enforcement of existing federal gun laws. in our limited time, i want to call your attention to wisconsin matters. one i noted in my process which is milwaukee was home for years to a notorious rogue gun shop, badger guns, which in one two-year timeframe was the
11:38 am
shore of weapons used to -- used to shoot and wound six milwaukee police officers. 2005, it was a top seller of crime guns in the entire country according to sources i have seen. had been found in aslation by the atf as early 1989 and subsequent inspections uncovered additional violations. a 2006 recommendation by federal that itstors said license should be repealed and was unheeded. it was not until 2011 at the shop lost its ability to sell guns. role by thective atf and monitoring this facility , it was allowed to put guns into the hands of dangerous
11:39 am
criminals again and again. you made it clear the president's actions are not wholesale solutions and we understand that. i would like to hear how the steps we are discussing today might have helped stop a bad actor like badger guns and what more congress can do to prevent stores like this from contribute into gun violence? ms. lynch: thank you. separate and apart from the recommendations i made to the president, it is a crime to knowingly sell a gun to a person who is primitive. dealers, andre gun it is a small category in the category you discussed, atf does take enforcement actions there.
11:40 am
have learned from investigations that the shooting of law enforcement officers and civilians where the guns tend to come from, and that supports us. to create annt investigative trail and say what could or should have been done in that situation. enforcement of existing laws, the atf takes these situations very seriously. majority -- of the it's a very small minority of them, but where we find a hasation where a gunshot that type of record, it is something that would be subject to enforcement action. senator baldwin: i think the action seems like significant
11:41 am
concerns. obviously, we want to see more swift action in cases like this moving forward. but hopen out of time to submit for the record an additional question regarding an atf operation in milwaukee that raised significant concerns in the last couple of years. >> thank you with your chairman and thank you madam attorney general for your testimony this morning. one of the benefits of coming in to the getting to listen probing questions of my colleagues and one was senator feinstein's questions about the trusts and corporations that have had more active in acquiring weapons. just a few questions. presidental by the would require the individuals
11:42 am
who obtain these weapons to run a background check, correct? ms. lynch: that is correct. -- senator reed: they are applying just with handguns and what we would consider to be personalized weapons? ms. lynch: typically, we see trusts purchasing weapons that are not handguns, that typically that areo to a dealer under the national firearms act. they are usually short barreled shotguns, certain types of machine guns as well as silencers. it strikes me ironically because the second amendment is seen as the individual rights americans have and to create corporations and trusts. this era.alone in
11:43 am
having been the loan -- corporations and trusts are often created to evade something that can be directly done. i think this is a sensible step and reflects the thoughtful way seek to do president these sensible improvements to background checks. on other thing is the issue of being engaged in business. aom your answer, you rejected categorical arbitrary number of theons and reflected interpretation of the constitution. i'm sure that is the rationale, to ensure this is constitutionally correct. we have crafted the guidance to reflect what the
11:44 am
court says who is in the business of dealing firearms and the court has says there is no set number. there can be large numbers of firearms transferred but if someone has a collection and is simply selling that, that would not make them subject to the licensure requirement. repetitivelythem or hold themselves out of the dealer, that's a different scenario. it is not limited to where one operates, but what one does. we have collected the guidance based on information around the country and hopefully that will be understandable to people who have those questions. sen. reed: this is not an arbitrary decision, it's a reflection of the courts view on the second amendment rights of the individual americans. other general issue is the effect of these regulations overall clearly in a very gross
11:45 am
people who are exercising their right to self-defense, for recreation and people who are trying to obtain a weapon for illicit purposes, the effect of the president's regulations on noh groups, my hope is impediment to those who seek legitimate use of firearms or and thet to do so reasonable constraints and those people have illicit motives. senator murphy: thank you very you, mr. chairman and thank , attorney general, for being with us today. i want to get into a question or two about the guidance to continue on this line of questioning about resources.
11:46 am
we talk a lot about atf resources but i want to explore resources within the next system itself. as we start to game out our budget for the 2016 appropriations year, what should we be looking at in terms of the appropriations necessary for the department of justice to be able to keepl of the things up with the increasing number of applications and make sure we have all the records uploaded on to that system? that question is a very timely one as we look to invest in a system that is one of our first lines of defense against keeping guns out of the hands of those who should not have them. nick'scal year 15, performed over 23 million background checks. that number is increasing. -- just thise
11:47 am
september alone, they received 3 million requests. that's a highest number of requests since after the sandy hook shooting. our estimates are we would need $121 million to run it. that would allow us to maintain the additional positions we hope to add this year. we may not be able to add all of them right away. it would help us improve the electronic platform and have an operational on a 24 hour basis by the end of this year that will require a great deal of information technology, investment, and support. that is our goal. those who are: focused on the laws, you would
11:48 am
that?hat to enforce to providein order for the accurate implementation that has been set forth by congress to process the application in a timely fashion and provide the information, that is the basis for this request. murphy: i hope we can enter into the record the actual subject ofat is the this hearing if there is no objection. those that have an opinion, especially those who have a strong opinion on this guidance would take the time to our second panel will include individuals who are going to call it an unwarranted assault on the second amendment and an effort to intentionally intimidate and harass law-abiding citizens.
11:49 am
there will be those who call it patently unconstitutional. i hope people will read through what this guidance actually says. in summary, it is five points -- one, that federal law requires a the atf. licensed by it's a simple recitation of existing law. second, you can be in gauged in the business regardless of the location in which the firearms transaction is conduct that. i'm not sure anyone would dispute that fact. third, determining whether you are engaged in the business requires you to look at specific act and circumstances of your activities. that seems patently clear. number four, as a general rule, you need a license if you buy and sell firearms with the principal motive of making a profit. -- aou don't need to be clear restatement of existing law. and fifth, a simple explanation
11:50 am
about what existing courts have already said to interpret the law. a lot of the objections may be over this fifth the point, let me ask you to state for the record, this fifth point on your page of key points is simply a recitation of existing court interpretations of underlying law. there is nothing in there that is a new statement of law that some -- it simply summarizes what existing courts have found relative to who is required to have a license. ms. lynch: that is correct, senator. senator murphy: there have been different interpretations by different courts as to the interpretation of that law. ms. lynch: that is also correct. trying murphy: for those to determine whether they fall under the law or not, the existing precedent may be confusing or hard to track down.
11:51 am
ms. lynch: it is hard to track down and it is a lot to ask to do a dyslexic search and determine what the courts have said about how they are operating. what often happens is individuals operating at gun shows or smaller sales will reach out to the atf and they have questions. they say this is what i'm doing and i don't know if it means i need to apply for a license or not. iny asked those questions person when they see investigators at gun shows, they call in and so our hope is this guidance along with the educational program the atf will be beginning providing the information to people will allow people to have clarity about this issue. is an't assume everyone lawyer or even wants to be, but
11:52 am
they do have this requirement if they are engaged in the dealing of firearms and we hope this will ease compliance for those individuals seeking to comply with the law. for those individuals who have no intention of complying with the law, this will put them on thate and remove the sense this is too confusing or i had no idea i was falling in this category. it also allows people who are hobbyists and collectors to gain collectionut their and they need not apply. we have reached the conclusion of our first panel. any subcommittee members have additional questions for the attorney general, they submit them for the official hearing record and we would request madam attorney general provide responses within 30 days. you generally do. appearanceor your
11:53 am
today and for your time. i must excuse myself from the second panel. i have several maryland constituents i scheduled to meet on the issue of hate crimes for which they are being targeted and i need to participate in that. i want to welcome the witnesses to the second panel. i have read their testimony, particularly their acknowledgment from esther barton and what he brings to the table as well as the practitioners of law. we look forward to moving forward on this agenda, to resource the agencies and to enforce the laws we have on the books and find common ground on the president's executive orders. ms. lynch: as the attorney general the parts, i invite our second panel of witnesses to join us at the table. senator murphy will sit in my stead at the meeting. would like to
11:54 am
make some brief introductions of the next witnesses. first, i welcome the attorney general for my state of alabama. attorney general strange is recognized as a national leader in advancing because as of federalism and a limited government by fighting the increasing unconstitutional overreach of the federal government and its assault on individuals. he serves on the republican attorney general's association and is the chairman of the southern region of the national association of attorneys general. next, we will be joined by the honorable can't kitchen l.a., former attorney general of virginia. he challenged many of the federal government's attempt to overreach its constitutional powers. with as a private attorney 20 years experience as a litigator, he serves as a founding partner and -- for the
11:55 am
self-defense law. after tragically losing his son daniel, mr. barton has dedicated himself to bringing himself -- bringing people together to find sensible solutions to spare other families in pain of losing a child to gun violence. joyce leee have dr. malcolm joining us from george mason university school of law where she works as the patrick henry professor of constitutional law and the second amendment. dr. malcolm is a constitutional scholar active in the area of constitutional history, focusing on individual rights in britain
11:56 am
and america. she has written numerous books and articles on gun control, the second amendment, and individual rights. atfessor malcolm taught princeton university, boston university, northeastern university and cambridge university. i want to thank all of you for joining us here today and we will start with attorney general strange. welcome to the committee. strange: thank you. i think vice-chairman mikulski for inviting me. i'm honored to accept your invitation to speak on an issue of importance to all americans -- reducing gun violence while ensuring the fundamental right of citizens to bear arms is not infringed. i was to commend your centrally becauseening this panel these goals are not mutually exclusive. my duty is to enforce the law and i am here today as the chief
11:57 am
law enforcement officer to the law enforcement officers on the streets perspective on this issue. for the last five years, i have witnessed the challenge of safeguarding the gun rights of law-abiding citizens also working to deny lawbreakers the ability to use firearms to commit crimes. i've learned an important lesson -- further limiting the ability of responsible citizens to buy guns will not keep criminals from getting one. in fact, i reached out to local police chiefs soliciting their advice on what is working and what is not working in stopping gun violence on the street. to carryto be able their message based on decades of experience on the front lines of this fight. these are the men and women who are the first line of defense,
11:58 am
the first on the scene of a terrorist attack or a violent event, an active shooter situation. again and again, heard the same thing -- enforce laws already on the books. number two, prosecute criminals for gun related crimes. number three, stop releasing violent criminals from jail before their sentences are completed. they see the federal government as failing to uphold criminals accountable for gun crimes and they have their doubts about the promises they hear coming out of washington. anyone of any political stripe whatsoever was sincerely concerned about gun violence, they would take a no holds barred approach to approaching the seemingly and with laws relating to guns that are already on the books. i don't think there is anyone in america whose heart does not break over the news of mass shootings that take innocent lives. opposesno one that
11:59 am
making our streets safer. we want to do everything we can to prevent gun violence. but we must make sure local actions taken place are grounded in fact. they must not undermine our constitutional rights. two weeks ago, the president announced a series of executive actions he asserted would reduce gun violence. best he may have had the of intentions of law enforcement officers in my state and i daresay around the country believe these actions will not have a meaningful impact. the centerpiece of the presidents order, expanding background checks to include the so-called gun show loophole is not only an assault on the second amendment but will be ineffective in reducing overall gun crime. it will be ineffective because less than 1% of illegal gun purchases are determined to come from done shows and fewer still
12:00 pm
are involved in violent crimes. separate only impact in my view will be to intimidate citizens so they will be afraid selling their guns. instead of new rules and regulations, a better approach would be to enforce the laws we have by increasing the the nexty and funding system. i think that is a similar shared by members on both sides. can more funding, the state ensure

6 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on