tv Senate Budget Markup CSPAN March 17, 2013 6:30pm-8:00pm EDT
agreement bipartisan groups have had ratios of three-one, but as far as the speaker is concerned and the conservative bloc is concerned, they are done on revenue. to that extent, you really cannot discount the importance of that block. russelli przybyla, berman, thank you both. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] the executive director of the national immigration law center has the latest on the debate over immigration reform. grover norquist, president of americans for tax reform looked at the budget proposals offered by house republicans and senate democrats and edward why it discusses how the federal communications uses a $9 billion fund to insure telephone and broadband services are available everywhere in the u.s. atshington journal" live
7:00 eastern on c-span. on monday, the chair of the national republican committee, will talk about the future of the party. and then legislation assault weapons ban bill passed out of committee and moving to the senate floor. this was the third gun bill passed by the judiciary committee but the only legislation to make it to either chamber of commerce since the mass shooting at sandy hook elementary school. this is one hour, 25 minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i know senator feinstein has fought for this legislation and passionate about her belief in the need for legislation, and i
respect her conviction, although i strongly oppose the bill. gun violence is a tragic problem in the united states, and it is our responsibility to address the problem on behalf of the american people. we could do that right now with broad, bipartisan support if we are willing to address the serious deficiencies in the mental health system, improve the background that -- background check database and do a better job of enforcing existing wall. i am encouraged, that senator gramm and others on the committee that support legislation to patch the holes in the background system. i am hopeful legislation senators to merck introduced and was voted out of committee -- senator schumer introduced and was voted out of committee. we simply need to pass the holes
in the background check system that allows the mentally ill to buy guns. that is the type of legislation that would have the greatest positive impact on gun violence in america. instead we are considering a piece of legislation that jeopardize as the self-defense rights of law-abiding citizens while doing nothing to address the real problems. in other words, the real concern should be efforts to enact huckabee, this in a federal gun ban more distracting congress solutions to stop this year's women's we deranged from buying guns, so i cannot support it. seriously the deranged from buying guns. the bill focuses on cosmetic features of certain firearms, rather than the perilous in a section of handle onus and guns.
the bill does nothing to deal with the lack of effective enforcement of current gun laws. we talked about the fact that people lie on background checks. there is almost a zeroth chance of getting prosecuted by this department of justice. and i believe the bill would infringe upon the ability of law abiding citizens to protect themselves and their families. so -- >> do you have an amendment? >> i do, and i will get to it shortly. this legislation would effectively ban handguns by prohibiting the use of ammunition clips they are designed to use. we should think long and hard before going down this road. last week's markup also be cleared in a wing and intentional -- intentional legislation would prevent military veterans for choosing how to best prevent -- protect
their communities and families. in order to demonstrate what i believe to be the weaknesses and absurdities and this legislation i offered an amendment that would have as some did -- exempted the military veterans and was rejected by this committee. but nine of our members on the other side chose to block the amendment, and i think that was a mistake. this will be revisited on the floor. what i would like to do, mr. metrman, call of my men 11317 to ask for immediate consideration. 1137 andp amendment ask for immediate consideration. >> microphone please. >> that's correct.
if i may -- >> [inaudible] [inaudible] the chairman knows the reason i did not vote for that version of the violence against women act because it contained an on -- and a constitutional provision regarding courts. i was proud to support many elements of that bill, i could not support an unconstitutional provision. this amendment would allow victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking against the violence against women act.
i would ask unanimous consent to enter into the record a letter of support i received for this amendment from the congressional but them's rights caucus. o go without objection -- >> without objection. did you wish to speak on the amendment? by thes also supported eagle forum among others. as we all know the comes are often the target of repeat offenders and devastating cycle of violence. several weeks ago gayle trotter explain to the committee that guns are a great equalizer for women trying to protect themselves from aggressors. she noted that ar 15's are the weapon of choice for many women do to their accuracy, easily handled -- easy handling and light weight. it is also important to note this would effectively ban millions of handguns.
this is by far the most common and most acceptably used weapon by women in united states. this would have a tragic impact on cream -- female crime victims. i would urge the consideration and passage. >> thank you. i oppose thisy, amendment. i hope we will vote no on it. we have not found any. we have asked individuals. no one has presented me with any evidence that a first step -- person bears -- fares better with an assault weapon or a large capacity magazine than with a standard handgun. if the senator has any evidence, i hope he would present it. assaultence where an weapon has been used for self- defense by people who weapon
victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence or stocking. the law enforcement witnesses all testified that no one needs an assault weapon or a large capacity magazine for self- defense. the notion that innocent, law- abiding citizen will use a high- capacity magazine to protect themselves is generally disproved." the mayor of philadelphia testified that "the idea is that these weapons are used for self- defense is based on our experience, completely absurd. from coloradoney testified, attend round magazine is sufficient to subdue a criminal or potential assailant. there has been a lot of research done that discounts the idea that these weapons are affected
self-defense weapons, so i urge a no vote. to go if i may respond briefly? briefly?i may respond , i respect the gentlewoman from colorado, but i referred to the whotimony of gayle trotter testified these are a great equalizer. this is testimony before the committee that should be considered. the president apparently also believes a handgun is insufficient for self defense because he has advocated use of the shotgun at -- on at least one occasion. i would also ask mr. chairman to make part of the record a listing of nine separate incidents of people defending themselves that would be prohibited by this legislation. to go no further discussion.
no further discussion. >> i would also like to include in the record a chicago tribune story where police officer shot to death a 58-year-old man who refuse to drop an automatic assault weapon. certainly not a weapon police often carry but now face from criminals on the street with regularity. >> in concluding i would say the underlying bill exempts retired police officers, and the rationale for that, which i support, is they can use weapons, trained in the weapons and can use them for self- defense. why we would deny other american citizens the right to legitimate use -- legitimately use these weapons for self-defense escapes me. >> i think there is a larger issue here we ought to think about.
what the senator is trying to do is protect the constitutional rights. i think everyone is trying to put the burden on the senator to do that. the burden should be on those kind to limit constitutional rights. >> clerk call the roll. proxy.y >> no by proxy. no by proxy. grassley? >> aye. >> aye. >> mr. lee? >> aye by proxy. chairman? >> no9. . >> 8 yays, 10 nays. >> senator schumer recorded no
in person. amendment call up 11316 to ask for immediate consideration. >> without objection, it is before the committee. >> this would allow persons who have obtained a protection order, which is a broader definition then just merely a , this wouldrder allow people who love it obtained a protection order to obtain and possess the personal self-defense weapons prohibited by the legislation. the national coalition against domestic violence estimates 1.3 million per year women are traumatized by domestic violence, and one in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. when the sexual assault statistics are added, the
numbers are staggering. the most vulnerable, this is a symbol of struck bridget struggle and the certification of real threat of danger they and their families must live with every day. we should ensure that at the very least they are able to own and possess the very tools necessary to protect themselves from becoming a tragic statistic. i would ask my colleagues to support this which would allow those who have obtained a personal protection order to obtain and possess these weapons provided by the legislation. .> i would urge a no vote again, in my view, there is no evidence these weapons are used for self-defense, nor do i believe unique clips, drums, or ammunition seating devices of more than 10 bullets for self defense, which senator biden said if you really want a
weapon used at 12 gauge shotgun. it is not an assault weapon. i think we demonstrated where these assault weapons can have different slides put in them, which essentially make them act like fully automatic weapons. these weapons are generally able to be sprayed fired. what is happening here, and i think we will see more of these amendments, an effort to nip and tuck and create exception after exception. i really resist this effort. roll.rk will call the >> no by proxy. >> no by proxy. >> mr. blumenthal? >> [inaudible] >> mr. grassley? >> aye. >> aye by proxy.
>> mr. lee? >> aye by proxy. >> mr. chairman? >> no. nays.ays, 10 of thes thinking of some discussions what kind of firepower people need in their homes. one of the discussion sounded almost like someone had been to one of these movies of the zombie takeovers when they need all kinds of fire power. i have always been perfectly home.ied with my 45 at we had people escaping from prison, announcing they were going to kill me. i felt pretty comfortable with
that. i did not feel it necessary to shoot up my neighborhood with a semi-automatic assault weapon, but i guess -- it depends on how good a shot they are. go ahead, please. >> mr. chairman, we certainly will not ask you to inventory your arsenal maintained in your home. bywe would lose the coram the time it would take. >> before the senator speaks, in response to what you said, it seems to me you are raising the question about the fire power that a person ought to have to protect their home is not -- should the role be you have the firepower commensurate with possible aggressors, what they might have? a different thing. go ahead. ask before going to my next amendment, the senator the california, what is
reason? take code generally they maintain their weapons. generally they maintain their weapons. this is a problem for them. in the crafting of the bill, we obviously made certain compromises. we made certain changes. that is one that we made. >> i call what my amendment o13118. >> 13118. without objection, that is before the committee. >> this amendment would allow to obtainof counties and possessed them prohibited by the legislation. as we know, across our border
to the south transnational criminal organizations are equipped with fully automatic [inaudible] organizations have expanded their footprint to the united states through drug trafficking and human trafficking. these cartels are dangerous, as the cartels that supports organizations. we know they're operating along the southwestern border. i cannot in good conscience tell my constituents the federal government will deny them the freedom to defend their families from these organizations. i would ask my colleagues to support the amendment. respond,, again, this is another way to create a nip and tuck.
the bill contains nearly 100 pages of make and model that are exempted. there are plenty of weapons out there. whole point of the bill is to reduce the supply, possession, transfer and sale of military-style weapons. anyone who had concern need only to look at the bill and see most likely your weapon is exempted by name, make, and model. from everything from handguns to rifles and on and on. i would like to make that point. i would urge a no vote. >> can i speak, please? i think this brings up a bigger issue. i support the amendment, but we
should remind everyone when it comes to the citizens of any place in the united states, either local government will support them or protect them or the federal government. in the case of immigration, it is quite clear that is the responsibility of the federal government to protect our borders, protect our sovereignty. in the southwest of the united states we have people being murdered by the very example -- the reason for his amendment. the federal government is not doing their job or these folks would not get across the border. so arizona steps in some legislation saying the government is not protecting our people, under the 10th amendment the states' rights -- or state responsibility of protecting the safety and welfare of their citizens step in to do it, and you know what? the federal government starts
suing the state of arizona. if the federal government was doing its job, arizona would not have to step in and spend all this money. so the senator comes up with his amendment. if the federal government is not going to do it, will we allow the individual citizens to do it? if the government will not do it, the second amendment is the right of self protection. we ought to respect that right and give people the power to do it if they want to protect themselves when the state government is not doing it, and the state government would not have to do it if the federal government was doing its job. instead of suing the state of arizona, the president of the united states should step in there and say we will work with you to protect your citizens. to >> mr. chairman? >> senator flynn boyle. -- blumenthal. thef i may respond with
soap and argument, and i respect the senators' desire to defense or means of self-defense to victims of domestic violence and assault, and i think we all do. the question is, what kinds of weapons are necessary or best suited for the defense? obviously the second amendment guarantees every individual, regardless of whether he or she is a victim of any crime of sexual assault or otherwise to self-defense. i think the question really is, what kind of weapon provides the means of defense? i think the testimony before the committee was very clear to the use of these assault weapons is primarily for criminal purposes. it is an offensive weapon. it is a military-style weapon that was designed and made for
our military to kill people, and it may be used to kill people for self-defense, but the experience is that self defense is best done by other types of weapons, which are commonly used at close range. as one of the witnesses said, the majority of shootings in self-defense occur at close range, a 10-round magazine is sufficient to subdue a criminal or potential assailants. said mucheign -- flinn the same thing, that these are commonly used by criminals, often against police, not by people in self-defense. so i think it is the nature of the weapon that is at issue here. the assault weapons, because so extraordinarily damaging because multiple --
because multiple wounds, often with police officers as their victims are simply appropriate to be the end with the very well-defined and explicit approach that this proposal takes, so i think these amendments, while they may be well-intentioned, and i agree with their purpose in providing means of self-defense to victims of these horrendous crimes can be done better by other types of weapons. my friend respond to and say why would we want to make another wise, law-abiding citizen into a criminal but they want to use these weapons to defend themselves and their families? i see that as the effect of this legislation. criminalsieve if the you allude to, and as a former
attorney general you know this area as well as anybody, if the criminal element is going to be using weapons like this, why would you deny for defensive purposes law abiding citizens to be able to use an equivalent fire power to defend themselves? it is not much satisfaction to say criminals are going to have access to the whole range of weapons they will have access to, because they do not care about the walls that are passed, and we will give the american citizen of peashooter to defend themselves with. i think it is an adequate, in your criminalizing otherwise law-abiding citizens inappropriately in my view. >> mr. chairman? toi might pose a question the senator from california, in your response to the senator you mentioned there are 100 pages of the bill that specify particular firearms that this bill were passed, congress would have
deemed prohibited. it seems to me that all of us should begin as the conditional document with the constitution. and the second amendment in the bill of rights provides the right of people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. the term, "the right of the thele" they used it in first amendment, the rights of the people to peaceably assemble is also found in the fourth amendment, the right of the people to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, and the question that i would pose to the senior senator from california, which he deemed it consistent with the bill of rights for congress to engage in the same endeavor that we are contemplating doing with the second amendment in the context of the first or fourth amendment, namely, would she consider a constitutional for congress to specify the first amendment shall apply only to
the following books and shall not apply to the books congress has deemed outside the protection of the bill of rights, likewise, which you think the fourth amendment protection against search and seizure could properly applied only to the following specified individuals and not to the individuals that congress has been outside the protection of the bill of rights? >> senator, did you have a question? >> let me make a couple points. one, i am not a sixth grader. i have been on this committee for 20 years. i was the mayor for nine years. i walked in and saw people shot. i have looked at bodies that have been shot with these weapons. i have seen the bullets that implode. in sandy hook, and youngsters were dismembered. there are other weapons. i am not a lawyer, but after 20 years i have been up close and personal to the constitution. i have great respect for it.
this does not mean weapons of war, and the decision clearly point out three exceptions, two of which are pertinent here. it is fine if you want to election meet on -- lecture me on the constitution, but no i have been here for a long time, i have studied the constitution myself, i of reasonably well- educated, and i thank you for a lecture -- i am reasonably well- educated, and i thank you for the lecture. it exempts 2271 weapons. for the heatough people of the united states? do they need a bazooka? do they need other high-powered weapons that military people used to kill in close combat? i do not think so. i come from a different place than you do. i respect your views. i ask you to respect my views.
>> senator durbin is out of time. >> i cannot add anything to that. ake a mr. chairman, -- i didn't think think anyone doubts her sincerity or compassion, but at the same time, i would note that she chose not to answer the question that i asked. in our judgment, would it be consistent with the constitution or congress to specify which books are permitted and which ones are not? >> the answer is obvious -- no. >> can we keep on the -- i appreciate that we have a discussion on books. let's stick to guns.
> mr. chairman, i appreciate that you acknowledge that texas allows books. >> it is obvious that there are different tests for different mendments. there are certain kinds of pornographic materials that would not be covered by the first amendment. >> it is the view that congress should be in the business of specifying particular books or with respect to the fourth amendment, particular individuals who are not covered by the bill of rights? >> congress is in the business of making law. the supreme court interprets the law. they strike down the law. ith respect to unusual weapons and other things, i do not think -- they cover exemptions for assault weapons.
>> the senator from illinois. >> that is the point. the senator knows having attended law school and professes to have some experience with the constitution, not these rights are absolute. none of them. the heller decision goes to the question of this amendment and tells us when they were asked on the heller decision, a panel republican appointed judges rejected the second amendment challenge because he sees assault weapons bans and magazine limits. a second amendment challenge. they do not effectively disarm individuals are as essential to affect their ability to defend themselves. i could go on, but i think the of californiacase. >> clerk, all the role. >> no. >> no. >> no by proxy.
from texas who has told as well in advance which amendments he will ask and has not taken an undue amount of time. that means a lot to me. please go ahead. >> the law assumes that certain types of weapons will only be used for offense of purposes. that is wrong. if it were true, the bill itself would not exempt retired law-enforcement officers from the criminalization of the possession of these weapons. to further point out that fundamental flaw in the legislation, i call it my amendment 13181. i asked for its immediate consideration. >> the amendment is before the committee.
>> mr. chairman, not all of america is urban. there are large sections of rural america where government, including law enforcement officers, are not present. this memo would prevent a bill from threatening the safety of law-abiding citizens living in rural areas and communities of our country by exempting them from possession of the elf-defense weapons. the violence against women act itself recognizes that citizens in rural areas and communities deserve special protections under our laws. in my home state of texas and around the nation, rural americans often live far away and the protection of law enforcement officials. this committee should recognize the vast differences between different regions of our country before enacting bans on personal self-defense weapons from washington, d.c. we must ensure that rural americans are able to protect
their families before the police arrive too late at the scene of a violent crime. my amendment exempting law-abiding citizens living in rural areas from the criminalization attempted by this legislation by exempting them from prohibitions for self-defense purposes. i ask my colleagues to support this. >> thank you. >> i urge a no vote. >> she asserts a no vote. this is for a dirt town that has no police force. >> with the guns you have, they do not need the police force. >> clerk, call role. >> no. >> no.
>> no by proxy. >> no. > no by proxy. >> aye. >> aye by rpoxy. >> aye by proxy. >> aye by proxy. > aye. >> no. 8 yea, 10 no. >> i would note that i have ther amendments. i do not want to burn any bridges unnecessarily. [laughter] at least not right now so close to st. patrick's day. i withhold further amendments from the floor. thank you. >> thank you.
he knows my disappointment of not being elected pope. i appreciate his courtesy there. i appreciate the courtesy of all the senators. e have had four cardinals. i appreciate the courtesy of all he senators of both parties in moving through major uses of legislation. call the role. i have some concerns about aspects of it. this is a matter of such importance. it should be voted on by the whole senate and not just by this committee. will vote to support her bill as it is before us. clerk, call role. >> aye.
>> mr. chairman? >> other members wanted to speak on this. i want to to make a few omments. i think every member of this committee needs to ask themselves a few questions. i want to thank members that have stood with me. it is very much appreciated. the road is uphill. i fully understand it. a lot of my passion comes from what i have seen on the streets of cities in this country. i really think that every member of this committee needs to ask themselves a few following questions. are we going to stand with that thousands of police and law enforcement officers who do support this bill? are we going to stand with the victims of gun violence? are we going to stand with the overwhelming number of eople?
they want this bill passed. how is this country going to be a weaker country because we do not produce millions of assault weapons to end up in the hands of gangs? let me say something about a young man at sandy hook. this is a young man who was disturbed. he was maladjusted. his mother was a gun collector and gave him this weapon. took him to the range and taught him how to fire the weapon. the first person he's killed was his mother. then he went to sandy hook and killed brave adults and those children. when we hear the testimony from the emergency position about what those bullets did inside the body of those children, it
is a sobering picture. i cannot get out of my mind trying to find -- i cannot get ut on my mind walking into a crime and seeing the brain matter all over, the carnage. seeing these mass attacks continue to happen, i thought it would end with the texas bell tower, but it has not. universities, schools, movie theaters, law offices, places of employment -- and these weapons become the weapons of choice. hy allow them? this bill does not take a weapon from anyone. it simply talks about the future. it's as if you possess one, you have to keep it safely. if you sell it to anyone but a
family member, they have to have a background check. it effects clips and ammunition feeding devices so people that want to go into a theater and kill 100 people, they cannot do t. i do not see that as being bad. i did not see that as harming america. we have so many guns. no nation has more guns in their civilian society then we do. you can compare murder rates. you can compare it with the u.k. and australia. you'll see a few double digits and then you'll see thousands in america. how is this a bad thing to do? i have been in this political career in a tumultuous city, a
diverse city. i have seen bright, young police fficers. everyone thought they had a rilliant future. they were walking down 3rd street when a gang member with an ak-47 and shot them. how many times does this have to happen? it happens all over. that is why you can exempt -- they have been trained. they know how to use these. it is different from a grievance killer. very different from columbine and virginia tech. very different. the size of the clips, who needs it? would anyone respect someone with 30 rounds of clips going out and shooting deer? i do not think so.
the problem is, i understand the right of people who want to collect these, and nothing takes any weapon away from anyone. to prove it, we have exempted many weapons. i have a hard time understanding why our country isn't better off with respect to some cases, but no legislation has been struck down. my last bill went through the d.c. circuit. one have been struck down. no state bill and the last federal bill. i wanted to say that. thank you, everyone. senator, i apologize. you sort of got my dander up and that happens on occasion. >> first time ever. >> thank you. >> i ask for unanimous consent that my vote be voted as
present and not by proxy. >> glad to have you back. your vote will be recorded as in erson. i will have a statement as well. senator graham. >> thank you. i would like to make the same request. i think i missed the vote , but i would like to be on record as present. i completely understand your point of view. i will vote no because of a couple of reasons. number one, the capacity of the clip, one bullet in the hands of
a mentally disturbed person or a felon is one too many. there are thousands of these high-capacity clips in circulation today, but i can see a situation where an individual citizen would need more than six bullets or 10. most assaults, a third of the assaults occur by more than one perpetrator. i go back to the lady in atlanta a couple of months ago. a man broke into her home. she was at home with her twin daughters. he had gotten out of jail and he had a crowbar. she ran up to the second-floor the house and hid in a closet with her children. she was on the phone with her husband. she had a 38 revolver. only six shots. the guy broke into the into the loset. she emptied the gun. he was still able to get up. in that situation, it would not other me at all if she had 30 or 100 bullets.
it does bother me what happened in connecticut and other places where people go in and take innocent lives with any kind of weapon and any kind of magazine. how do you interrupt the shooter? if you limit the size of capacity when you have mass shootings, it will get a break in the action so someone can stop the shooter, that make sense to a certain extent. i think we can have a better system. there is $300 million spent on ecuring the capital. you can unlock anywhere in here without some form of guard. why? this is the center of democracy. a lot of people would like to do harm of the building for what it tands for. the best way to interrupt the shooter that has a mental health system that inters into a day that base of people who should ot be able to buy a gun.
in south carolina, a woman was able to purchase a gun lawfully and pled not guilty to trying to kill the president of the united states. the system did not put her way. many murders last year, mr. mitch was a rifle -- the instrument was a rifle and not n ar-15. this bill would create a false sense of safety. inown an ar-15. there are circumstances where you had a situation where lawlessness took over because of the natural disaster, you do not have to agree with me.
i served in afghanistan. people were buying ar-15. i have not even shot at yet. that is why i bought it. i would just ask just that this legislation has been tried before. it did not change things. after the heller case, i really do believe that there is a very good argument that traditional lawful purposes such as self-defense, i can make a logical argument wherein ar-15 is better in circumstances than n other weapons. and does not like i'm the only one in america with this. there are 4 million. it is the number one selling ifle last year, i think. it can't be unusual in the circumstances of what is going
on in american terms of people purchasing the rifle. having said that, i will vote no, but it is not about questioning senator feinstein's motives. we do see things differently. she has been doing this for a long time because she believes it will help. i believe it will not change things and is giving a false sense of safety and there are better things we can do in a bipartisan way to address gun violence. the crooks will get the guns. if you find yourself meeting these crooks, i want to make sure you can defend ourself. >> i will stay here as long as nyone wishes to speak. there is going to be a vote. we will have to recess and come back. senator schumer, you have been
patiently waiting. >> i want to make a point that has been referenced to the ialogue. even before heller, i go to upstate new york to gun clubs. people would say to me, why is it that people down in new york city one to interpret the first or the fourth amendment broadly and expensively and see the second amendment to the pinhole of militias and only if you are a member of the military you have a right to bear arms. they have a point. heller made that point in a constitutional sense. it said that there is a right to ear arms and a non-militia member has that right. i think that is a good thing that they said that. i have made speeches and
arguments that those of us on the more progressive side should accept that argument, but heller made a second point. that is that there are limits to the second amendment the way there are limits on every other amendment. with regard to my good friend from south carolina, under heller, the d.c. circuit explicitly upheld the d.c. assault weapons ban as a reasonable limitation. my point is larger than that. we have the inverse situation. some folks defend the second amendment. there are no limitations on the second amendment. many of those same people who much more nearly interpret the other amendments. would you limit books? would you name specific books? yeah.
it is constitutional within the first amendment to eliminate child pornography. we have lots of laws that are very explicit about that. they are constitutional and have been upheld by the constitution. similarly, you cannot scream "fire" in a theater. there are reasonable limits on ach amendment. i think for either side to interpret one amendment so expansively and another amendment so narrowly, it does ot add up. the interpretation should be consistent. his is true now.
to too many people, there are no imits. it makes no sense. you can still believe in the ight to bear arms, which i believe in, but say that there are certain arms that do not all in that. it seems to me that making sure that there is a background check, making it more effective is constitutional. some on the other side have said it is not. i wish we could all come a little bit more to the middle on this issue. i wish those of us on this side of the table believe there is a right to bear arms and it is no less a part of the constitution than other parts of the constitution.
i hope my colleagues on the other side would realize and recognize that there are reasonable limits on the second amendment, just as there are on all of the other ones. mr. chairman, thank you. >> i want to thank my colleagues from california and new york further statements. i would add that there are a couple of things i would like to note. today is march 14. it is three months since newtown connecticut on december 14. what happened in that classroom was a national tragedy. senator feinstein, thank you for bringing this back for our consideration. the ar-15 he used that day to kill the innocent children and six brave teachers and dministrators is a weapon that
really should be restructured in this country. not for those who currently own them, but future sales. these assault weapon bans are constitutional. we held and expressed hearing on this, which you attended. the argument that this legislation is unconstitutional is decidedly a losing argument. justice scalia made crystal clear in the heller decision that there is a historical tradition in our country are prohibiting of the carrying of unusual and dangerous weapons. assault weapons are a disproportionately dangerous when used in an assault. they represent a small fraction of weapons in circulation. his notion that such a small
percentage, the tragedy we have witnessed in the use of these assault weapons are reminders that we cannot stand idly y. as the senator from new york suggested argue some position that will not make us allow us to make schools and neighborhoods safer in america. thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i think all of us understand the passions that this topic elicits. in my view and on everything, this topic should be driven by facts and data and by the constitution and not by passion. i would like to make four points. one, machine guns are functionally illegal. this topic is discussed in a public forum. when they hear the phrase assault weapon, they believe what is being discussed is fully
automatic machine guns. the senior senator from california made reference to an ak-47. that is an automatic machine gun that is functionally illegal today. tragically, gang members do not follow gun laws. econd, this bill, the data demonstrates it would be ineffective in preventing violent crime. that is not surprising. as the hearings demonstrate, the weapons it would be prohibited by this bill are functionally identical for the semiautomatic deer rifles, millions of which are in circulation. this bill targets cosmetic features on guns. cosmetic features at the end of the day make the guns appear
scary but does not alter the basic mechanism. we, in fact, have seen what happens when a very similar bill is in effect. the prior assault weapons ban was in effect for a decade. there were studies on that bill and three times the studies were not able to find any stay activityically impact on violent crime as a result of the assault weapon's ban. that is three studies in a row that is difficult to get away rom. since assault weapons ban expired we're seeing murders by rifles half of what they were when the assault weapon's ban is in effect. this is not a law that has any
reasonable prospect of reducing violent crime, something that even on this committee would like to see violent crime reduced. as my third point, if the reobjective is reducing violent crime, we should devote our time to far more effective steps. we should devote our time to laws that target criminals. we should devote our time to laws that improve the next ackground check. 18 states have submitted 100 or fewer mental health records to the background check program. that's a serious problem. my home state of texas has submitted over 200,000 mental records to the system. i expect to support on the floor for legislation that is targeted at violent criminals and not law abiding citizens. if we want to go further and consider significant steps to stop violent crime i would
suggest we could consider legislation or a constitutional amendment to alter or repeal the excludeary appeal in hearings. that excludes evidence of guilty from violent criminals and has resulted violent criminals being freed over and over again. if the passion that is focused on this issue right now were targeted at preventing violent crime, i would suggest considering the impact of the exclusionary rule would be more fruitful to stopping violent crime. i think we need to be serious about protecting americans from violent crime with every tool at ur disposal. my fourth and final point is that the constitution, in my opinion, should be the cornerstone of everything we do. some suggest that the role of
congress is to pass laws and it is up to the court to accept constitutionality. every one of us takes an oath to defend constitution. that is a fundamental obligation of every member of this ody. there has been some suggestion that heller would allow this regulation. i would point out i'm not unfamiliar with the heller case. indeed, i represented 31 states before the supreme court in the heller case. i have a familiarity with that case having being an active part of litigating it and winning the case. the supreme court said there are restrictions that are per missible. - permissible.
uch as, in that case, handguns were were the principle issue that were being discussed. in the same argument why assault weapons can be banned on why handguns can be banned. the supreme court said no, if they are in common use for self-defense they cannot be banned consistent with the second amendment. we heard system there is four million weapons that would be covered by this bill. i would suggest on my measure four million weapons qualifies in common use so under the terms of heller they can't be prohibited. the final point i would make on the constitution. some have pointed to public opinion polls. in my view, the constitution is particularly important when the bill of rights is unparticular - unpopular. that is the point of the bill of ights.
the purpose of it is to stand for the rights of the minority when the majority is acting to strip their rights. the senator of new york asked about other rights. i think we should protect every ight in the constitution. just last week a number of us spent13 hours on the floor of the senate defending the fifth amendment, in particular, the right for americans not to be denied their right to due rocess of law. and it was -- the point would made that the u.s. citizen cannot be killed by a drone on u.s. soil. i would welcome support from my colleagues on that important protection for that amendment. >> i don't want to cut the senator off but he made the five of his four points. but we either vote in a few minutes and i would ask him --
if you want to make it longer i would appreciable the lecture of what we're supposed to be doing. i've been doing it for 38 years. i always need a reminder for someone who has been here not quite as long. i would like to let the other -- >> if i could have 60 more seconds to conclude? >> go ahead. >> likewise early this week, this committee voted to study the impact of film and video games on violent crimes. i voted no on that as well. i believe in the first amendment, i believe in the second amendment and i believe in the fifth amendment and i suggest everyone would have an obligation to the constitution and i would welcome support for anyone who wants to fight for constitution.
in my view, that should be our principle responsibility and obligation. >> senator whitehouse. >> i will speak briefly. i think it is clear where this is going and where the political forces have arrayed hemselves. i would hope that as we go to the floor i can work with senator feinstein and others to make sure we get a separate vote on the high-capacity magazines question. it is clear that the assault weapons ban has become the -- the other party is locked in against that. i don't see us getting 60 votes. i do think it is possible to get 60 votes on the high-capacity weapons ban. it is hard to imagine it could be a violation of the first amendment for somebody to yell
fire in a crowded theater but it is not a violation of the second amendment to prevent someone from bringing a 100 round magazine into a crowded theater in aurora, colorado. we've heard specific testimony about lives that would be have been saved if there had not been high-capacity magazines. we heard from representative gifford's husband in the shooting, he mentioned the child of the 13th shot victim that would not have happened if he had to reload. we heard about the aurora case, the consequence of having the high-capacity magazine. we heard from the police chief that there is no testimony to the contrary,indeed the republican witnesses
have said that these high-capacity magazines, at least at some level are outside the heller decision. this was an admission of the pro gun witnesses. there is room to maneuver there. there is logic behind it. it does not interfere with the prescriptions of heller. i hope we can agree to get that passed. we can't unless we get a vote on t. i hope we can work together to get a vote on the high-capacity magazine restriction. >> i appreciate it. there's been a lot of talk a what congress can do. so far, this is the only committee that has held hearings on gun violence of either body and the only one that has actually taken up and passed out legislation. we've done it in two months time. senator? >> thank you, mr. chairman. i would like to congratulate senator feinstein on this
legislation. we've been debating this egislation three months. there are strongly held views on both sides, that is not just ok but it is good, obviously. i respect the opinions of every member. minnesota has rural areas. minnesotans feel different ways about this. as the bill moves to the full senate, some of the bill's o-sponsors, i guess it is me and dick durbin remaining. we would like to talk to some of the arguments made against the ill. one of the arguments we've heard repeatedly is, independent justice departments studies proved that the last assault weapons ban was ineffective.
i kind of wish the junior senator from texas was still here. during our first hearing one witness stated "independent studies, including the study if from the clinton justice department proves that the ban had no impact on lowering rime. uring our last committee hearing, it was the junior senator who said -- talking about that study, that was the janet reno department of justice under president clinton that said the ban was ineffective. during last week's executive meeting, one of my colleagues said "according to the department of justice's own study the ban was completely ineffective in reducing crime rates.
these are simply not accurate portrayal yulls of the studies. here's what they actually say, as long as we have the staff here i would like you to hear hat for your bosses. pages six and seven of the study, recommend further study of the impact measures examined in this investigation. the ban effects on the gun arket are still unfolding. page two of the 2004 study. it is premature to make definitive assetments of the impact on gun crime.
page 80, it is premature to make definitive assetments on the mpacts of the ban. studies, it e 2004 s still unfolding. page 98 of the 2004 report, the affects of the assault weapon ban and large capacity magazine ban have yet to be fully realized. therefore, we recommend continued studies of trends and availability of criminal use of assault weapons and large capacity magazines. i could go on. he bottom line is that i don't see how anyone could read the d.o.j.'s studies and say they
proved that the last ban was ineffective and, yet, that is what two members have tated. i respect their opinions, they have a right to their opinions. they don't have a right to their facts. if anything, the report suggests that the assault weapons ban would be effective over ime. the author's best estimate is that the ban contributed to a 6. decrease in gun murderers but the authors noted that the data was insufficient for them to make a conclusion. the 2004 included an analysis of gun-trading data, which suggested that gun crimes fell by 2/3 after the last ban went into effect.
a courtesy of my colleague from connecticut, i would like him to speak to a couple of the other arguments made that i think bear some rebuttal. >> senator blumenthal you've been recognized. please go ahead. >> thank you. >> i apologize. > no apologize needed. sarcasm. a since of >> we'll talk about this later. [laughter] >> i am hesitant to follow that exchange. thank you, chairman. i want to thank my colleagues -- >> i want to thank the senator, he brought up a point that should be emphasized over and ver again.
we all have opinions, we have to deal with facts. and the senator was dealing with facts and i appreciable that. senator? >> thank you chairman. i want to thank the senator for is factual rebuttal. and to senator feinstein for her relentless pursuit of this easure, which consists of both a ban on assault weapons, which are defined carefully in this bill and high-capacity magazines. both were used in the massacre in newtown, connecticut. for me and to her this issue was personal. i was there within hours of the ass killing.
i saw the grief and pain that resulted from a murder on a scale that could not have occurred without assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. lives were saved because the shooter had to change magazines. children escaped because he could not shoot more than the 30 rounds in the clip that he began with. he did change clips and continued shooting with a weapon that was designed to be among the most lethal in the arsenal hat military men and women carry with them in combat.
it because weapon designed for combat to be as lethal as ossible. that is essentially what defines the assault weapon that is banned in this legislation. it has a definition of characteristics such as a pistol grip, forward grip, threaded barrel, detachable magazine outside of the pistol grip. these are not there by accident. they are there because it makes this weapon many lethal and more dangerous. the argument for self-defense in the constitution is -- it has been proved by heller. we can't deny it. but constitutionally that does not mean machine guns or constitutionally protected or any of the other kinds of weapons that the military carries to kill enemies. we've had a lot of testimony about these military characteristics from law enforcement, the chief, for
example, who described the characteristics that make the weapons more lethal. the u.s. attorney who testified before our committee and from mayor nutter who said about them "they are offensive weapons. that is what you use them for ecause you're on offense. so there are specific definitions in the bill that comport with the due process clause as with the specificity f the ban. would just point out that the exemption for retired police officer based not only on their training, but on the role they
can play in continued law enforcement. just as off-duty police officers and retired police officer can play a role in deterring or pursuing criminals. but the basic point here is children and educators would be alive today but for those -- the assault weapon and the high-capacity magazine that was used in that horrific criminal act of three months ago. our law enforcement officers would not be out gunned if this ban was in effect. this is a law enforcement tool, it is supported by law enforcement officers and professionals. the other measures that are suggested here mental health, for example, has a role to play and so do some of the other initiatives that responsered and supported and passed from this committee. there's no single solution.
there is no single state that can do this alone. we need this protection. ial appreciate -- i appreciate that the chairman has allowed this to go the floor. i welcome that kind of split. not because i want to vote for one or the other. i will vote for both because i think both help us prevent newtown, which was a call to action and we're heeding it today. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. i thank the senator from connecticut. we've known each other for years in his capacity as the attorney general and more recently as a member of the senate. i appreciate what all of you brought to it. it has been a serious subject.
when he said about the facts and that is right. that is something that should be driven home over and over again. enator feinstein who has devoted time on this, i think from the first time we met. i appreciate her devotion to t. it is not an abstract pie in the sky. i think if anyone reads the history of it and how she became the mayor of san francisco would nderstand. senator blumenthal i remember your emotion in your voice when you were about to go meet the families of the victims. we devoted our first hearing back in january.
for years, we've asked this committee and we've asked democrats and republicans to come together as part of an a collective effort to find solutions to ensure that no families no community be made to endure the tragedies of the past two years whether it is in an elementary school in connecticut, a movie theater in colorado, in a place of worship in wisconsin or in front of a hopping mall in arizona. americans are looking to us for solutions and action. after three hearings, four markup sessions we've completed ur work. i will now work with the majority leaders to see how he intended to proceed. we have worked to try to provide law enforcement with stronger
tools against illegal gun trafficking and to close that loophole. we've proposed closing loopholes in our background check system for firearm purchases. others have proposed restrictions on military-sized -- military-style weapons and he size of ammunition clips. i know gun store owners in vermont. they follow the law, they conduct background checks to keep guns out of the hands of those who should not have them. they wonder why everyone doesn't have to do the same thing. i agree with them. if we can all agree criminals and mentally ill should not be buying firearms why shouldn't we plug the loopholes. why shouldn't they be subject to the same check when i buy a
firearm or anybody else in this room? why should tnt the law apply to everyone the same? t is common sense. to improve the background check system are bipartisan and i hope we can make improvements in a bipartisan way. i've ordered that the second amendment is secure and will remain secure and protected. i yield to no member of this committee. my devotion to protecting our constitution every part of our constitution. in two recent cases, the supreme court has confirmed to thing second amendment like other aspects of our bill of rights protects the individual right. americans have the right to self-defend and have guns in their homes to protect their families.
no one is going to take their gun was. second amendment rights in the second amendment are not at risk. let's not put a issue out here that is not out here. but lives are at risk when responsible people are not following laws that would keep guns out of the hands of those who would commit mass murder. ours is a free and open society. let's come together to be a safer and more secure society. we need consensus around common sense solutions. we do not need false charges about gun confiscation to scare people when no such thing is being proposed or will be proposed. these matters are too serious for that. so as we begin our efforts, i challenge other senators to come
forward, to work together to indicate what measures they will support. i thank the ranking member for making that effort. i will continue to work with him and others to see if we can find more things that we agree and more solutions that we can move forward together to make america safer. on a personal note, i appreciate so much the honor of being chair of this committee. it is a committee that i wanted to be on since the day i came to the united states senate. i've had the privilege of being the longest-serving member of this body. i've seen times when republicans and democrats come together on serious issues. for the sake of our country, of our children, our grandchildren, let us come together and find
>> the wincers have been selected in this year's c-span competition on the theme your message to the president. the grand prize winner is josh from connecticut. his video was on unemployment in america. high schooler of midland, pennsylvania won first prize on his video. and a group from knoxville, won first prize with their documentary on public transportation. watch the winning videos each day next month and see them on c-span.org with the student cam. "q&a" ht on c-span followed by british prime minister david