tv U.S. Senate Sen. John Cornyn on Gun Violence CSPAN May 21, 2018 7:31pm-7:45pm EDT
species. >> voices from the state. part of c-span's 50s capitals were in their stop in carson city, nevada. >> earlier today the senators john cornyn and bill nelson came to the senate floor to talk about the deadly school shootings in santa fe, texas and what can be done to prevent similar events from happening in the future. >> madam president, to my shock and surprise ten people were friday in a little town outside of houston known as santa fe and at santa fe high school 3 miles of galveston, texas. a male student walked into an art class the stolen shotgun that he got from his parents perhaps without their knowledge and after stashing makeshift explosives elsewhere he then
engaged in a kingsbury and the dead included eight students and two teachers, a brave face officer was among the 13 wounded. when i heard of the shooting i made plans immediately, to go to santa fe where i met with governor abbott and lieutenant governor patrick and senator cruz and others who spoke to the texas to permit a public safety, the bureau about go of tobacco and firearms and the school officials to find out what happened. families there of course, remain in shock, that something so terrible could happen to a small talk to a community, one that was recently shaken by hurricane harvey last fall and previously seen it far removed from the violence that has touched other parts of the country. as i said last friday we have seen this before.
just last falll we saw a similar story unfold in sutherland springs outside of san antonio when a man opened fire at a sunday church service. then we saw in florida in florida in stoneman douglas high school in parkland and unfortunately in recent years there have been plenty of examples, too many examples, actually into the lives lost in far too few solutions for families reeling from the aftermath. two things that strike me are clear though that first we need to better protect her students and schools and keep weapons out of the hands of those were a danger to themselves and others. the second thing isy. to acknowledge that we have not yet been able to do this effectively and something is wrong because the school shootings keep happening. it is no confidence that these shootings mostly happen at public schools or soft targets and the shooters are usually
male teenagers attended the schools. these are people, i e should ad, surrounded by a culture that condemns violence on one hand excoriating public officials for not doing more to prevent it and the celebrating violence the next on television and in movies and video games that at least have a potential to desensitize especially vulnerable young people. many proposals on how f to addrs this pervasive problem focus on the gun themselves, not on the individuals that actually use them. they focus on restricting access to guns or banning specific firearm components for even citizens. any proposed fixes must also consider the root nature of the problem and that is the deranged minds and the trusted rational and the tragic decisions of
those who commit these acts of violence. the shooters are honestly incapable of self-regulating their own behavior and how could we possibly address that? that is part of what we need to think about, a gun can kill someone only if a person, very sick or very bad person pulls the trigger. what have we done here in congress to respond? there are incompletely as i note we have and last year we sponsored or be introduced a bill called the h mental health and safety amenities act which was signed by president obama in 2016. it is part of the answer and provides more resources for communities and schools and mental health providers to deal with people before they become a danger to themselves or others. but there is more we can do in that space. texas tech universityld health
science center has expanded the use of technology can help us better utilize telemedicine to reach out to those in mental health crises and offer them an alternative course of treatment when they don't have access. we should consider that in other ideas in the days ahead. the parents that lost their sons and daughters at santa fe high school are obviously still grieving today. we should be grieving as well. not only for those who lost their lives but for the state of our nation and one that continues to watch it young peoplees self-destruct engagingn violence that takes the lives of brothers sisters sons, daughters, friends and classmates. we haven't pulled in recent days that grief and prayers are not enough and i agree it is not enough to send our condolences to communities like a santa fe.
we need to look to the families of the victims in the eyes and say here are the concrete steps we have taken and intend to take sure something like this never happens again. this i believe we did that earlier this year in a broad bipartisan basis passing legislation called the fix nick's act and passing the bill was important because last time i saw a major shooting in my state it was at sutherland springs where a man who had been discharged less than honorably from the air force for domestic violence convictions fell through the cracks of a background check system. he was able to lie and buy a firearm even though under existing law he was disqualified
and prohibited from doing so because of the broken background check system he was able to get away with it. our fix nick's bill will help fix that broken back ground check system. it was widely supported by republicans and democrats and we had 78 cosponsors in the senate alone devastating that solutions can enjoy broad bipartisan support if they make sense as opposed to an ideological battles. i'm glad commerce work together also to pass the stop school violence act earlier this year which is proud to cosponsor and this legislation will help provide the schools with the tools and resources to better equipment, planning and training and safety info structure and law enforcement presence on campus and this year's appropriation bill we were able to out $75 to get this initiative off the ground. people wonder can we possibly do this and can we succeed in making our schools a safe place for mothers andy fathers to sed their children and where they
are confident that y everything human possibly is being done to protect them. i'm not suggesting we turn them into an airport which you will recall, madame president, post- 911 we have hardened our airports and our nations air travel in such a way as to make it virtually impervious to terrorist attacks. i think, given the proper attention and creative thinking and proper resources we can come together and make our schools impervious to this sort of attack in the future. if we can do it in our nation's airports against terror attacks we can do it in our communities at our local high schools. finally, and thank goodness, we have seen the justice department prioritize firearm prosecutions with a number of defendants charged with unlawful possession increasing significantly over the past few years. this is l because attorney genel
jeff sessions has made this a priority and thank goodness for that. it is long been overdue. us attorneys are now focused on enforcing laws that criminalize done buyers who lie on their back and check. previously, someone could come in and lie on the back and check, get caught o and nothing would ever happen to them. now, thanksar to the attorney general and the us attorneys people are being prosecuted for lying and acting as a further deterrent on people who are felons or otherwise disqualified from legally purchasing firearms. vehicles like project safe neighborhoods which the senate passed unanimously last week with funded task forces that target serious firearm offenders and get them off the streets. all of this is a good start for the shooting in santa fe shows we have a long way to go because every one of these shootings seems to to be a little bit different. honestly in sutherland springs the failure seem to be the
background check system that allowed the shooter to buy a firearm and lie on the back and check system and not get caught. in places like las vegas the bump stop which allowed people to turn essentially a semi automatic rifle into virtually an automatic weapon which was otherwise illegal wet all learnd about bum stocks something i never heard about before. as an avid shooter myself in hunter ied had never heard about it and now the president is taking care of that problem. we've acted in the wake of parkland in florida to try to make sure we get the resources for schools so they can better protect their students and deal with other aspects of this challenge. we need to be more with article in figuring out the solutions and seeing what, if any,
solutions would have prevented the shooting and looking to see if the same proposals would of prevented others similar events. in the case of santa fe we know the shooter was somewhat withdrawn socially but he was also a high school athlete involved in his church and posted troubling pictures and statements on social media but his governor abbott said, he was not your typical troubled youth people guest when they might snapt . we also know that santa fe high school and had lockdown drills recently and that police officers were stationed on campus and both of these likely prevented the event from becoming much much worse. good for them. with the lockdown drills and having police officers on campus. we should be grateful for that and in the wake of so much violence it leaves us with so much unanswered questions. one of the two officers who rushed in to stop the shooter
was john barnes who was shot himself by the gunman and a former houston police officer now works with the santa fe independent school district. i've pulled his heart stopped twice while doctors and paramedics were trying to stem his bleeding but he is a fighter and held on. he is now in critical but stable condition in galveston. we, of course, pushing him and all other first responders and the other officers courageously confronted the shooter and saved other lives and we wish officer barnes and his entire family the best as he fully recovers from this injury. another hero who has emerged from the account of the shooting is christopher stone. he's a 17 -year-old junior who wants the shooting started block to the classroom door protecting his fellow students from the gunman. tragically when the government shot through the door christopher was hit and did not
survive. we will remember him and all the other lives that were lost this week as we pledge to do better and work harder and work together and to find new ways to protect ourhe schools and our children from harm. metaphysic, yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. >> madame president, i want to speak today in the wake of another tragic school shooting. this time it's in texas and ten innocent people eight students into teachers were gunned down friday with a gunman walked into high school in east texas and opened fire. tragedies such as this are becoming too common in our society and at some