tv U.S. Senate Sens. Dubrin Cornyn on Guns CSPAN March 15, 2018 9:19am-9:53am EDT
>> the senate comes in at 10:00 for work on human trafficking bill. yesterday a number of senators gave speeches on gun violence on the one-month anniversary of the shooting of a florida high school that left 17 dead. here are some of the debate. >> mr. president, most people cannot remember what happened in the first grade. but there are certain things that may have been, even at that young stage in your life, that will be remembered. my six-year-old granddaughter who attends first grade in brooklyn, new york a few weeks
ago was told by her teacher what to do if a shooter, if a guy man came into the first grade classroom. my little granddaughter was told, don't stand by the windows. you could get shot. if they entered the classroom with a gun, get down on the floor. is there any sane person in america who believes that is that the founding fathers had in mind when they wrote the second amendment to the bill of rights? the right to bear arms? that we would reach a point in america with the prospects of gun violence in the first grade classrooms all the way through school, through high school and college would become a reality in america? i can't imagine anyone in their wildest dreams would've imagined that possibility. today is march 14th. on february 14th to make a man went into a high school in parkland, florida and killed 17. 14 students in three members of the administration.
it's not the first by any means. 10 years before it, it gunmen killed four, injured many others. the list goes on and on and on. this guy man who went into parkland, florida wasn't carrying a handgun. he was carried in a r. 15, a semi automatic weapon, which he was able to embellish with a clip, high-capacity magazine clip that could kill 30 people at a time. why? why on earth would batman, 19 years of age, be allowed to buy a wet bid that was created to be used by the military, a military assaults weapon, a weapon that sometimes our police and they need, heard the other an individual american could want or need to buy for a legitimate
14, hunting purpose. but he did. 17 were dead after that rampage. there has been a lot of reaction to that. more than i expect it, i'll be honest with you because mass killings have become way too common in america. but something happened there. and then we saw acrossca america today. high school students in the high school came out and said enough. we are fed up with the laws of this land and the politicians refuse to change them. we are fed up with the fear that comes with just going to school in america. we are fed up with those who say the second amendment requires us to live in fear. and they've marched on on towns across america today. they have marched on washington. they've come to my office and visited with me and i believe
they've become a major force in the national debate. i commend them. i encourage them and i hope they continue. you know, politics is tov. there are forces like the national rifle association and gun lobbies go the wrong way. they came after me when i was a member of the house. they almost got me. as a tough election year. i managed to survive it, but they poured the money in and tried to beat me. i've never had their support and said that it's okay with me. for a lot of members of congress, they are just not willing to risk it, not willing to anger the national rifle association. remember when president trump at a meeting two years ago, called his duties, parents and others in the let the cameras roll and they continue their meetings so america could witness
it. they admonish the members of congress they are. don't be scared in the national rifle association. don't be petrified by the nra. you've got to do something. president trump came out for universal background checks. in a way it on a very brave and courageous position because 97% of the american people agree with it. even gun owners agree with the premise that we should do everything in our part to keep guns out of the hands of convict excel and the mentally unstable people. the president came out for about two weeks ago when he also said why in the world to relax from a 19 years of age by a military assault weapon? we don't get these weapons. i thought to myself, what is the break. a republican president finally standing up to the gun lobby is supporting positions that are overwhelmingly supported by the american people. my fellow senator who is now presiding overat the senate has
shown that in a bipartisan fashion week in the lord a universal background checks. he came together with senator manchin ofme west virginia on te measure is supported and one that i think we should revisit. i felt so encourage two weeks ago. what has happened since? a couple days later the national rifle association came in for lunch and the president reversed the decision. nothing new. i saw him do exactly theth same thing on daca and dreamers. he reversed his position and now instead of universal background checks, which will keep guns out of the hands of those who would misuse them, they are supporting a bill which is good, but not all that we need called six mix, which fill some of the information gaps in the background check for purchasing firearms.
17 lives in florida are worth more than this week responds by president trump and by some in congress. we must do better. let me tell you the issue here is born than just high schools. a few weeks ago, the day before shooting in parkland, florida, and amazing member of the chicago police department named paul bauer, commander paul bauer was downtown for a training session and heard on his radio and alert that there was a fugitive escaping. being a man of duty, he responded to join in the pursuit and was cornered in the stairwell by a man who pulled out a gun with a high-capacity magazine, shot him six times and killed him right in the stairwell. this was an amazing police
officer with a great wife and daughter from bridgeport of the city of chicago in their whole city was in grief over that loss they tried to figure out where the gun came from. where did the criminal get that kind? it was purchased legally outside of madison, wisconsin. it was then sold without a background check to another person who in turn sold it on the internet, sold on the internet with no background check to a person with a record, a fellow with convictions. completely beside the system and made the argument against badly of a universal background checks not just federalli licensed dealers, but also at gun shows and on the internet are absolutely essential. the bill does not solve that problem. we must solve that problem.
in secondly, today at the senate judiciaryac committee, we talked about the impact of an assault weapon. senator bill golson of florida who has followed this terrible incidentd in parkland and has spoken up so eloquently reminded us that firing a bullet in a handgun may mean that passes through your body and injures, firing a long gun, rifle, semi automatic weapon by dar 15 mr. magically more damage. may enter your body in a small way, but it comes out on the other side with the wound the size of an orange. in the process, tumbles through your body, ripping through tissue, ripping through arteries, ripping r through orgs creating a situation that is difficult and sometimes impossible toim repair.
why would anyone need a weapon likeyo that? you sure don't need it to go hunting. if you need aa train to to go shoot a deer coming back to stick to fishing. you obviously don't have the skill necessary. to own it just to own it, some do. they are collectors i imagine. but opening a sales to 18, 19, 20-year-olds makes no sense whatsoever and f that is what students from parkland and around the country are saying today. high-capacity magazines, why do you need 30 rounds? why do you need 60 rounds? what is that all about being used in weapons designed to kill other human beings, not just a few, but many. bump stocks. i never heard of a bone stock until a few months ago. the las vegas mass shooting, killing innocent people in a
country at a western concert. we've been banning for decades. david to the fiber manufacturers. they found a way to create a mechanism that takes semi automatic weapon, meaning you have to pull the trigger reach times and turn it into an automatic weapon where you can hold the trigger and it sprays the bullets until you empty the magazine was something called a bump stop. i can't imagine why we haven't just flat-out passed a bill to ban bump stocks after what happened in las vegas. but this congress, defendant is gun lobby. all across america today, young people are stepping up. i asked a teacher who testified before this committee, the senate judiciary committee today, what is it about the students in your school? why have they become such national leaders? outspoken on this issue, inspirational on this issue to
me. and she said that's the way we trained them, to be part of an america where they can participate and be a leader and they are. i encourage them to continue. continue to put the pressure on all of us, starting with president trump, who may switch his position again. he went from all for gun safety to the gun lobby and position in a matter of days. maybe he'll come back again to some more reasonable position. and put the pressure on congress, too. we've run out of excuses, haven't we? more and more innocent americans have been killed in the best we can come up with is over 200 years ago when some men sat down to rider bill of rights, that second amendment case the authority to individuals to buy any and everything they want to buy in the name of the right to bear b arms. i don't think that is what they had in mind at all. we cannot continue to let the
nra and the gun lobby has veto power over gun policy in america. we are facing an epidemic of violence with hundreds of americans shot every day from commander bauer in chicago to the kids in parkland, florida, to las vegas, the list goes on and on and on. we've got to put the safety among kids ahead of the agenda just to sell more guns. i was glad to have the courage has assented to bring a bill to the floor into open in two amendments. we don't do that in the united states senate. there was a time when the senate was a great deliberative body and now the senate is not. the t silence of the senate when it comes to this gun safety issue is deafening. americans know it well and the question now is whether we will do everything within our power to reduce the number of shootings, to keep our
>> mr. president. >> senator from texas. >> mr. president, listen to the remarks of the distinguished colleague from illinois who is the democratic web and i agree with a number of things he says and would disagree with some others. but i do think we need to keep this inappropriate contacts. we are in fact talking about a provision of the bill of rights, the second amendment to the united states constitution. and i hope we would never treat any of those essential guarantees of american right that precede the creation of our government casually. it is important that we protect all of our rights. the right to worship according to the dictates of our
conscience. the righted to petition our government for the redress of just grievances. the freedom of association, freedom of the press. those are also part of the bill of rights, just like the second amendment to the united states constitution. but there are a number of things we can't agree on and i've been talking about one of them for some time now, the so-called fix nix bill. it is to make sure that convicted felons cannot people just honorably discharged from them military, people who have been adjudicated mentally ill, people have committed acts of domestic violence in a number of other categories make sure that they cannot legallyir purchase
firearms. why? current law prohibits it. we party passed those laws. bute as we saw in southerland springs, texas, 26 people lost their lives one sunday morning not long ago in 20 more had their lives forever changed when they were shot by a gun man who lied when he was disqualified under the law from purchasing them. now, the fbi maintains the background check system and it wasn't their fault because the background check system is only as good as the information that is uploaded into the background check system. that is where you get a hit. that is when somebody goes into a store and tries to purchase a firearm and lies. the background check is done catches them and denies the purchase. that is how it is supposed to
work. recently, the attitude seems to be among some here in washington that this bill doesn't somehow go far enough. well, there are other ideas that i am more than willing to debate and vote on it, which i actually agree with. but none have the sort of bipartisan consensus support that this particular fix ncs bill has. i am told we are up to 70 bipartisan cosponsors. in other words, 70 out of 100 senators on a bipartisan basis support this fixed or broken background check system because they know if it had been working the way congress had intended, 26 people would still be alive in southerland springs, texas and 20 more who were shot and wounded would not have had to suffer those grievous injuries in the painful recovery.
well, some have said, for example, if weon only pass fix ncs, we will be right here after the next shooting in the same place. he said we will not have done our job. well, as i said, there are other things that enjoy broad bipartisan consensus. let's get it done. the attitude is we won't even vote on what we agree on because we want to do more, we'll never get anything done around here. why not agree with what -- agree on what we've agreed upon. people are supporting. and then we can work on other ideas in addition. as i said, at least 36 senate democrats have very cosponsored the fix nics bill. that is 75% of thehe democratic
caucus and the numbers have been steadily rising and i hope they will go even higher. and grateful to the democratic leader from new york. he himself is a cosponsor of the bill m as is the senate majority leader, senator mcconnell. i've never seen a piece of legislation involving a controversial subject like gun rights get such raw bipartisan support. it is truly unique and we ought to be grateful that we found a place where we have such broad bipartisan agreement in a provision that will save lives in the future. if the shooter in southerland's brains had got into the gun show or to purchase a gun and he lied, but the background check system had worked as is supposed to come supposed to come he wouldn't have been able to legally purchase a gun because it will reveal the fact he was
disqualified from doing so. each of these tragedies involves different circumstances. the shooters are always different. they obtain firearms in different ways and use them to perpetrate their crimes according to different plants in different settings. but i've heard it talked about thee shooters in southerland springs who was convicted of a felony after choking and kicking his wife and cracking his stepson's school. he was discharged from the military other than honorably. he was detained in the mental health facility because he was mentally ill. yet, he was able to lie his way into possession of these firearms forever changing the world of innumerable families in southerland brings, texas. under federal law, he should have been prevented from purchasing that f firearm.
were it not for the breakdown in our background check system, he would not have even obtained it. he would've been caught lying and possibly prosecuted and 26 people would still be livingr their lives and the people who were worshiping that sunday morning at the first baptist church in southerland springs would still be doing so in that same location. but it has now been turned into a memorial to those who lost their life that day. this is preventable loss of life. that is more than enough reason to pass fix nics. i disagree with those that say it doesn't do much. if it saves lives, it does plenty. if our system had worked properly and ensuring it does in the future is what my bill aims to do. annabel paul lawrie, the
daughter -- the 14-year-old daughter of the pastor of first baptist would still be here. ryland ward, a 6-year-old boy who survived would not have been shot fiveim times. so it is simply incorrect to characterize this bill is a pittance and it's inaccurate to suggest it really wouldn't do anything, that it somehow just window dressing or maybe it political fig leaf. that is demonstrably false. tell the families that lost loved ones that day. they wish our background check system had stuck the gun man. each of them suffered terrible trauma because they didn't. but you know, it is also not true to say washington has been feckless or absent and weight not only in southerland springs, but las vegas, parkland florida
and the rest. just to mention the issue of dump stocks, i agree with the democratic whip, senator from illinois. these attachments to a semi automatic rifle turn it into an automatic rifle. i have never heard of bump stocks before, but it's automatic weapons are already illegal, why in the world would we want to allow an appliance attachedea to a gun turned semi automatic weapon into a not a magic weapon? i'm glad the president has said those should be regulated by the bureau of alcohol, tobacco and firearms and be unavailable. we know that a lot of people lost their lives in las vegas. 58 concertgoers in las vegas lost their lives because of a man up in a hotel room shooting down into a countryo concert. 851 were injured.
it is unbelievable the scope of the carnage. but we've also learned that mental health problems are one of the reasons why people do these sorts of things and with pass laws, most notably a year ago last december called 21st century chairs act providing new authorityir for families when their loved one is becoming a danger to themselves or others. they can apply to a court to get assisted outpatient treatment to make sure that they follow their doctor's orders and take their medication. and then we trained law enforcement how to save lives in the event of an active shooter in the event by training. we know that the problem in southerland springs was the federal government had uploaded the information into the background checks instead which
would've prevented the purchase of the firearm. but we know in the state the problem is present as well. in ohio would've learned their spirit is to uphold records from at least 90 municipal courts. one that would've allowed those fire from purchasing weapons in violation of the law. they have allowed them to buy them in violation of the law. since the shooting in texas, the department of defense has rich are actively uploaded 4000 additional records into the background check system of those dishonorably discharged from the military. people already prohibited undera current law from purchasing firearms but of course the military didn't upload them, no one would know and may be able to lie in purchase firearms. one news account stated that since 2015 the number of people barred from owning firearms because they were dishonorably dischargedro hovered at around
11,000 people because of fbi statistics. now it stands at over 15,000. it is clear evidence the background check isn't working the way it is supposed to. we need to make sure federal agencies are uploading records in real time as they are required to do. now we are taking action in other ways. i am also cosponsored a bipartisan bill called the denying -- sponsored by senator from pennsylvania and delaware that will alert state law enforcement about people who lied and tried to buy guns. that is people go when and why. the background check system catches them and they are turned away but under current practice that is never reported to the law enforcementtht agencies. but it would be if the legislation passed.
when people do this, their actions may be indicative of criminal behavior. the undecidability as federal authorities if it is determined in an attempt to buy a gun. meanwhile, the attorney general announced the u.s. attorneys of the date to more aggressively enforce laws that criminalize gun buyers lien on their checks.nd i think all of this will help be a deterrent. yes i do think it will contribute and the saving of lives that the justice department will complete law-enforcement officers in schools and be r the way of response to public takeoffs with regard to safety threats. we know the shooting in parkland, florida was a catastrophic failure at almost every level from the public education system to local law enforcement to the fbi, to mental health providers. it is looking back on the
shooter he was actually intervened with by local law enforcement about 40 times. this was a blinking red light. people should have paid attention. and done something about it. we are now trying to make sure that they have the resources and theve training necessary to intervene when people are obviously a danger to themselves and others. the way they will do that is the bill offered by the senior senator from utah, senator hatch, the stop school violence act which will have safety improvements including teacher training and training students on how to prevent violence and anonymous reporting systems for school violence. it would give schools the money for physical improvements such as metal detectors were bulletproof windows and doors. this is a great step and it's
not controversial and we have to get it done and get it done now. as the president has said, we cannot merely take m actions tht make us feel like we are making a difference. we must actually make a difference. one way we canha do that is by passing train three. just this afternoon a diverse communityic of the m.'s rights groups, law enforcement officers in gun violence prevention group sent a letter to the majority leader's asking them for a vote on a clean version of fix nics before the upcoming easterey recess. they said it would improve key elements of the background check system, particularly domestic violence criminal history and protect the order records. that is really an important point because so much of the gun violence we see in america is in the context of domestic violence. that is people violating
protective orders, people assaulting the person they are buried to or living with. and we need to focus on it to do something about it. this group i of the's rights advocates, law enforcement officers, gun violence prevention groups and prosecutors called the fix nics bill a bipartisan, bicameral commonsense noncontroversial bill. so why can we pass it? why can't we do it today? they made a point to note in their letter that it should be cleaned. in other words, not conditioned upon or attacked or other controversial t matters they cat pass. i think they are absolutely right and i would hope that all of us would listen to this good advice and get this done. we tried to get an agreement a couple of weeks ago to take the bill up and vote on it. if we did it today with pass this afternoon. but there was an objection to
doing so. see you there other things we need to do, too. perhaps that is true. but to conditioned what can pass, what does enjoy broad bipartisan support and what will save lives on things that won't pass in that aren't achievable means that we have a strategy of eitheryt everything or failure, which usually ends up with us going back home empty-handed, having nothing to show for our efforts. the people we representre desere better. this i institution should step p and listen to those who are calling upon us to do something. and doing something that will stabilize while respect and the rights of all americans under theit constitution. mr. president, i yield the floor.
>> thank you, mr. president. i want to address two issues today. one briefly the issue ofma guns. many were democratic colleagues have come down andut now i wanto speak about the financial services regulatory reform bill that we will be voting on regular today. firstop on the former topic, mr. president, a number of democratic colleagues have been down here and we heard a real passion and concern about that dozens of gun violence in our country. i certainly understand and respect their passion. i've spent a lot of time working to try to find sensible measures that will help address this in ways that do not infringe on the second amendment rights of law-abiding decisions. and itik does feel like we are t a somewhat different moment here and so i hope we can choose to get something done. something construct,