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tv   U.S. Senate Senate Democrats on Guns Part 7  CSPAN  September 18, 2019 9:46am-10:00am EDT

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gun show loophole, banning assault weapons, and banning large capacity magazines, and we don't listen to the popular will here because of the menace that the n.r.a. has become in our politics. the anti-democratic menace that the n.r.a. has become. i yield the floor. >> i rise tonight to join the chorus of democratic senators in this chamber demanding action to address the american gun violence epidemic. we stand here tonight on behalf of the tens of millions of americans from one end of the country to the other who are crying out for change. every few months it seems our nation is rocked by another horrifying mass shooting. el paso and dayton are only the latest entries in our national
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register of tragedy, a list that stretches from parkland to pittsburgh. charleston to columbine, aurora to orlando. san bernardino to sandy hook and to las vegas. because that ever growing list can sometime seem abstract. let's not forget the specific places where the awful shootings occurred. may have theaters and nightclubs. shooting malls and office parks, music if he feels and traffic stops. churches, synagogues, mosques, colleges, high school and an elementary school. our hearts remain with the families of the victims and the survivors of these mass shootings whose lives were turned upsidedown in an instant by madmen who never should have had access to a gun, the touching letter that senator murphy read from one of his
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constituents, whose child died at sandy hook is just one of many testaments that to turning upside down ruining your life forever on one of these horrible, awful incidents. at the same time that our hearts are with the tens of thousands more whose lives were ended or forever altered by everyday gun violence, that doesn't make the headlines, but we remember them, too. no less tragic. no less pain from the parents who lost children, the brothers and sisters, sons and daughters who lost mothers and fathers. whether it's in a masshoing or an individual shooting. people who shouldn't have guns are killing our fellow american citizens. and congress sits there on its hands, the senate does, anyway, and does nothing. now, let me mention a few
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stories of new yorkers whose lives were cut short by gun violence just this year. and the list goes on and on aassure you. from western new york, a youth football coach, he was shot in the chest and killed a few weeks ago while trying to break up a fight at a park on buffalo's east side. coach aldridge's team just finished playing the first game of their season. ryan williams cannon, 21-year-old from syracuse was shot and killed in march as he was leaving the corner store. he was the youngest of seven siblings. he had just earned his g.e.d. in october. ryan's family said he was like a father to his nephew, taking candy to him behind his mother's back. shaquille con was murdered by a mass gunman in april while he was closing up his restaurant,
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he, shaquille, was a se provider for his wife and three children, 14, 12, and 8. may god rest their souls. now, i could stand here for hours and tell 100 more stories, each one as heartbreaking as the next. each one senseless violence that might not have occurred had we had adequate laws on the books. each one living all the people around them, their family, their friends, their communities devastated by the recklessness, senselessness of this gun violence. it's our solemn duty of these victims, of these terrible tragedies. they can't speak for themselves, but their memories call down to us for justice to cure this terrible plague gun violence that claims tens of thousands of lives every single
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year, lives every single day. madam president, i've been fighting this fight for such a long time. back in 1993 i was in my sixth term representing brooklyn and queens in the house of representatives. i knew the terrible toll of gun violence firsthand because the streets of my community were testimony to it. east new york, cypress hill, were known as the killing grounds then because someone was murdered an average of once every 63 hours. so, i was more than eager to help write and introduce and pass the legislation establishing our background check system that later became known as the brady bill. as we take stock of that bill 25 years later there's no question that saved countless
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lives. there are literally thousands and thousands and thousands of people walking the streets of their communities who are alive today and would have been dead had the brady law not passed. we don't know who they are. they don't know who they are. but we know they're alive and we're thankful for it. ever since the national instant criminal background check system went on-line in 1998, there have been more than 1.5 million denials to disqualified buyers. the ability to keep guns out of the hands of convicted felons has helped lead to a steep drop in murder rates experienced by communities across the country. take my town of new york city, in the early 1990's before the brady bill was enacted, an average of 2500 people were murdered every year in the five
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boughs boroughs. what seemed like a minor compromise in 1993 allowing the sale of firearms without background checks at gun shows have become a massive loophole. at the time i wrote the brady bill, gun shows were shows for antiques. but gun shows are growing in popularity because people who don't want background checks can get guns there and people who want to sell guns to those who don't go through background checks sell their guns there and even of greater dimension, the internet exploded to facilitate private sales between strangers, no questions asked. and while some cities like new york have thankfully seen an overall decrease in gun deaths, there are still too many pockets in cities across the
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country where this epidemic persists. and at the same time, the frequency lethality of mass shootings have rapidly increased. the internet allows for copycats, people up to no good. to see someone else has killed many people and maybe they should do the same. and we've seen the frequency of these awful mass shootings continue on and on and on. so madam president, we finally have an opportunity to close that loophole, keep guns from falling into the wrong hands in the first place. we have the opportunity to simply update the brady law not change it, not expand it, just plug the wholes that were punctured in it as time moved
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forward. no gun will be taken away from someone who's a law asiding citizen by this law. no, only people who shouldn't have guns will not get them and who could disagree with that? certainly not the american people who are overwhelmingly on our side. we democrats are here tonight because the house of representatives has finally passed legislation closing the private sale loophole working the first time that either chamber of congress has passed an overhaul of the background check system since the brady law more than 25 years ago. what we're asking for is very simple and shouldn't cause us to come here at night. it should be an obvious thing to do, a simple up or down vote on legislation. an up or down vote on hr-8. let me say it again, leader
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mcconnell, put hr-8 up for a floor -- for a vote on the floor of the senate as soon as possible. let us do what our-- we were sent here to do by our constituents. what our constituents demand we do, fix the most pressing problems facing our nation. if we fail to do so, plain and simple and terrible, more innocent people will die. before i yield the floor, i want to thank the survivors and families of victims who have done so much to remind the american people of just what's at stake when it comes to gun violence. i keep on a desk in my office pictures of the children who were murdered in sandy hook given to me by their ailing and grieving parents and those
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parents and thousands and thousands of others like them, survivors, who amazingly choose to light a candle to prevent the darkness despite the darkness that has overcome their lives, that has surrounded their lives, are beautiful people and we thank them. a year and a half ago we watched in horror as tragedy struck the parkland community inflorida. once again, safety, sanctuary for the school, torn apart by the unthinkable. but this time felt difference, almost immediately the students started speaking out, turning their immeasurable pain into courageous advocacy, just two weeks later, i welcomed these parkland teens into my office. my god, what courage, what
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fortitude, what strength, and even in the darkest of nights, some choose not to curse the darkness, but to light a candle. a few weeks later, i joined those teens, and more across the country did the same and now a little more than a year later, the senate, this senate, has the opportunity to vote on hr-8, universal background checks among several other pieces of legislation passed by the house that would save lives from gun violence. times have changed. people forget that the brady bill was first introduced in 1987, six years after jim brady and president reagan were wounded and more than six years before it was enacted into law.
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now we're moving from tragedy to action in a year. the movement that jim and sara brady started in the '80s reached a new era, the american people are no longer willing to wait months or years for change. long gone are the days that senate republicans can just bury their heads in the sand and ignore that more nan 30,000 people, americans, are killed by a gun every year. politicians offering their thoughts and prayers just doesn't cut it anymore. it's put up or shut up. leader mcconnell, senate republicans, what will you do? i yield the floor. >> the senate is about to gavel in. coming up in about an hour a number of votes on executive nominations, including

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