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tv   U.S. Senate Sen. Durbin on Gun Violence  CSPAN  June 7, 2022 3:41am-3:58am EDT

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consensus legislation takes time. so i hope senator schumer will let his members work. there's no use in rushing a vote on a doomed partisan bill like the house is expected to vote on this week. my goal is to achieve a result, and the only way we can do that that, the only way we can get a bill that will pass both chambers and earn the president's signature is by taking the time and reaching that consensus. right now there's not a bill out there that stands a chance of succeeding in the coming days, but my hope sthal change by -- is that will change by allowing the senate to do the work we know how to do, come up with a bipartisan bill that commands the support of 60-plus members of the senate and something we can send to the be placed in a separate part of the record. the presiding officer: without
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objection. mr. durbin: madam president, 23 years ago after the massacre at columbine high school left 129 students and a teacher dead, the gun lobby and its allies insisted that, quote, now is not the at the same time to talk about gun laws. in shooting after shooting since, as america has been stunned and grieving and burying its children, the gun lobby has demanded that we not politicize the issue of gun violence. they say we should wait until passions have cooled before taking any action to reduce gun violence in america. madam president, the grim reality is this: it is no longer possible to wait months or weeks or even days after a mass shooting for passions to school. the shootings just keep happening. so far this year we have seen 246 mass shootings in 157 days, more than one mass shooting
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every day. just this past weekend, a string of 11 mass shootings left at least 15 people dead and more than 60 others wounded in tennessee, pennsylvania, south carolina, arizona, texas, georgia, new york, and michigan. madam president, no other developed nation on earth hags even a fraction -- has even a fraction of the mass shootings we have in the united states. president lincoln once said famously, we cannot escape history. this senate cannot escape its responsibility to do something. we cannot allow ourselves to go number -- numb and resign to the mass murder. negotiations are under way to help reduce mass violence in earthquake in. i want to thank senators chris murphy of connecticut, john cornyn of texas and the others,
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democrats and republican, who are trying to find a way to reduce gun violence. but it takes 60 senators to make that happen. i hope in good faith we can at least take a step forward from this awful situation. the house of representatives already acted last year to close gaps in the gun background check system. this week the house will vote on bills to support extreme risk protection orders or red flag laws, and other important measures. tomorrow the senate judiciary committee, which i chair you will hold a hearing on mass shooting that took place in buffalo on may 14, just a few weeks ago. and the domestic terrorism threat it exposes. one of our witnesses is garnell whitfield, jr., his mother, ruths was murdered at the grocery store in buffalo. gun violence is now a leading
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cause of death among america's children and teenagers. it replaced automobile accidents. next week the senate judiciary committee will hold a hearing from experts about the lasting trauma that gun violence leaves on children, and next month the judiciary committee will hold a hearing on the growing nature of gun violence growing -- to police who increasingly found themselves outgunned on the street. there was a retired police officer in that grocery store in buffalo. last name was slaughter. and he had served the community and the police force, and he was there to bring security to that grocery store. when the shooter came in with his military-style weapon, this policeman did his duty. he pulled his handgun. he was outgunned by this killer and lost his life. let's consider a few basics truths. number one, this comprise is not
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simply about -- this crisis is not simply about school safety. it is much bigger than schools alone. last friday i went to a grade school in chicago. i won't name the name. but i have a granddaughter who is in the fourth grade there. there were 100 skids in the fourth grade in this school. they all came to it the assembly hall where i gave them a little talk. i couldn't help but think as i stood there talking about my job and what's the hardest part and what's the best part, i looked at those wonderful kids and thought to myself, they're exactly the same age as the kids who died in uvalde, texas. i couldn't imagine for a second the horror that the families must have felt when they heard the news that there was a shooter on the premises in their school. i can't imagine that this nation is so cold and cal loss that it
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would -- callous that it could ignore the tragedy, what if meant to these families and still means to them to this day. but it isn't just schools. some people have said, well, if we just make a fortress out of the school, we'll only have one door and we'll have metal detectors and if all the workers are carrying guns, they can we can keep our kids safe. think about that for a moment. is that the answer in the united states of america to gun violence? we're going to outgun any madman who comes on the premises carrying an assault weapon? is that as good as it gets in the united states? i think we can do better. and let's not kid ourselves. as heartbreaking as it is to hear of any violence in a school, schools are not the only places where this happens. grocery stores, walmarts, waffle
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houses, bars and nightclubs, hospitals, doctors' offices, sikhs, subways, movie theaters, street corners, baby showers, graduation parties, weddings and funerals, in big towns and small towns, gun violence can be found in every corner of america. it can happen anywhere to anyone at any time. point number two -- as horrific as they are, mass shootings are only a small part of america's gun violence crisis. in 2020 the most recent year for which c.d.c. has is it the stats, 45,000 americans died by gun violence. 45,222. the total number of gun deaths was 14% higher than the year before, 25% higher than five years before, and 43% higher
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than ten years. the 20 deaths were 34% greater than one year earlier. 49% over five years earlier. 75% greater than decade earlier. how can we look at those numbers and do nothing? in 2020, 79% of you murders were carried out with guns. how about canada? what percent of their murders in 2020 were the result of guns? 37. australia? 13%. the united kingdom? 4% s79% in the united states of america s it's horrible. and it's getting worse. point number three -- the changes the senate is likely to
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consider pose no threat to the lifestyle of any law-abiding gun owners. our goal is to save lives through responsible gun ownership. there's a website and i am not going to mention its name. but it's sometimes viewed as the most prolific place to buy a gun on the internet. if you buy a gun on that site from a licensed firearms dealer, you have to pass a background check. but there are also what they call private sales on this site. one person selling to another person. private gun sales on this website at gun shows and other places require no background check. the two parties meet. the buyer hands over money, leaves with a gun. a recent investigation by gun safety organization every town found that in 23018 there were 1.2 million ads 0en this website to sell guns without a background check.
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last week it listed an ad -- listen to this -- last week it listed an ad for a private sale in buffalo, new york, of an ar-15, the same weapon that that madman took into the grocery store. and the same weapon that was used against the children, the schoolchildren in uvalde, texas. on that website, you could buy an ar-15 last week, no background check required. how long do these background checks take? in most cases less than five minutes, and no law-abiding citizen needs to worry about passing this test. we should close the deadly private sale loophole to help keep guns out of the hands of people who are legally prohibited from carrying firearms. i support red flag laws that allow law enforcement to temporarily remove arms from a person determined by the court to be at risk of hurting himself or others. 19 states, including illinois, have these laws, and they are
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an important tool for preventing violence, even florida's republican-controlled legislature enacted a state red flag law after the parkland massacre. we should support similar efforts. i'll close with a story from my state. three years ago a convicted felon was fired from a job at a small manufacturing plant near chicago. he came back a few hours later with a handgun. he shot and killed five of his former coworkers and wounded five police officers before killing himself. i attended the memorials service of several of those victims. those murders happened in a town called aurora, illinois. seven years before that, a gunman in another aurora -- this time in colorado -- opened fire in a movie theater killing 12 people and wounding 70 more. killing 12, wounding 70 more. when the police chief of
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aurora, colorado, heard about the illinois rampage, he said to a reporter, months from now as people talk about the mass shootings in aurora, some will ask which aurora mass shooting are you talking about? think about that. in nearly any other nation on earth, the name of a town in which a mass shooting had taken place would be remembered and mourned for years or even decades. in america, gun deaths and even mass murders now happen with such sickening regularity that some people have a hard time keeping the tragedies apart or even remembering them. and i might say to the presiding officer at this point, i know the terrible shooting in your state over the weekend where one of your state judges was gunned down. it's happening everywhere. i'm so sorry that it touched your state this last weekend. this past week i met with people across illinois to discuss gun violence. i met with police officers, youth in chicago who had been
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affected by gun violence, doctors at children's hospitals. i spoke to so many people, and this was always the first topic they mentioned -- gun violence. they asked me a basic question. when is congress going to do something about this? the american are stierd -- sick and tired of gun violence and they are desperate for us to bring change. this senate has it within our power now to make changes that respect our constitution and the rights of law-abiding citizens and will literally save lives. the question is whether we have the conscience and the courage to take these modest steps forward together. lives depend on it. when i left my granddaughter's grade school last friday, i thought about it all day long, those beautiful kids, and the kids down in texas, and the
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kids at sandy hook, and the kids at columbine, and the kids at parkland. all of these kids are being butchered by gun violence. many people think that because the constitution and its second amendment gives a right to bear arms, that we can't touch this issue. they're wrong. even the supreme court in one of the seminal decisions judge scalia wrote still retain the power to regulate the guns that were sold and how they were going to be used. we've got to take that and seize that opportunity. we have been elected to the united states senate to respond to american crises. this is at the top of the list. after what we've been through in the last several weeks and what we're likely to go through for the weeks to come, how dare we say this is too big and too tough. how could anything be more important than the safety of our children and our families across america? i will join in the senate judiciary committee in any way
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that i can to support this bipartisan effort. i hope that it's meaningful. i hope when it's all said and done, we can point to it and say we achieved something in the names of those families of survivors and those who lost their lives, who have given so much to this madness that has become part of life in america. madam president,
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