tv U.S. Senate U.S. Senate CSPAN June 23, 2022 1:59pm-6:00pm EDT
to adequately continue the ground-i can bring research we have -- the groundbreaking research we have supported for next-generation vaccines. fueled by our waning immunity and insufficient vaccination efforts abroad, new variants are going to emerge. those are going to pose new threats to us here at home. the desperate measures taken by the administration, which they had to, in the absence of congressional action, they do nothing to support a global vaccination effort that's running on fumes. the u.s. agency for international development that manages our global response to the covid pandemic has already obligated more than 95% of the funds they have available -- 95%
soon they'll have no choice but to start shutting down the vaccination vaccine delivery operations. that means more mutations, more variants, more infections, more deaths abroad and at home. keep in mind what we're doing with a.i.d. is trying to stop this pandemic outside our borders. it's because we realize that every single one of these variants is one airplane trip away from crossing our borders. even as we have to do things to stop it within our borders. finally, i want to make clear that we don't have time to say what we can -- to say well, we can act later on. this is not a problem that can be solved by flipping a switch.
nor does it produce the tens of millions of doses of vaccines and therapeutics necessary to prepare for a fall surge. the government and biotech companies need to begin purchasing supplies now. they can't say, oh, we have an pandemic? golly, go out and buy some supplies. but we have to make them first. come back to us in a few months. that doesn't do anything for the people who are getting hit with covid. and the longer we wait, the further we fall in line as other countries will place their orders ahead of us. i tell my friends on the other side of the aisle who are blocking this money, we can't wait and see what happens. that's why we were wholly unprepared for the pandemic in the first place. you recall in the last administration we'll wait and see what happens.
we refused to invest in preparing for the worst. let's prepare for the worst. we can hope for the best, but hope is not a vaccine. preparation can create vaccines. so i'm frustrated we're once again leaving town without addressing this looming crisis. since march i've called on us to act. as chairman of the senate appropriations committee, i will continue to make these calls. i'll fight for these understandingently needed -- for these urgently needed resources. but we have to wake up to the fact we have to do it now. you don't do it after the pandemic hits. you don't do the research after. you try to do the research before and hope you can stop the pandemic from happening. mr. president, i yield the floor.
a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from colorado is recognized. mr. bennet: thank you, mr. president. i have five requests for committees to meet during today's session of the senate. they have the approval of the majority and minority leaders. the presiding officer: duly noted. mr. bennet: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, this morning the supreme court weakened gun safety laws in america for the first time in over a decade. it gutted a century-old law to make sure that people carrying concealed weapons actually needed them, and the the court is taking us backward at a time when the american people are demanding that we do more, not less, to protect our
communities. the shooting at columbine high school happened the year before my oldest daughter was born. she's now 22 years old, and we've raised three daughters. and their entire generation has grown up in the shadow of gun violence. since col columbine, my state has endured one tragedy after another. in 2012, a gunman killed 12 people at a movie theater in aurora. in 2019, a shooter injured eight students at stem high school in highland's ranch. last march, a shooter killed ten people at the king supers grocery store in boulder. that was almost a year to the day, really, to the shootings in buffalo that took another ten lives of people who had just
gone to shop for their families. two months after that grocery store shooting in colorado a gunman killed six people at a birthday party in colorado springs. you know, mr. president, i remember back -- it's hard, over time you lose track of things, but i remember back in 2017, after a gunman in las vegas killed 58 americans, shooting across the street from a hotel room. i came to work the following monday, mr. president, and i realized about three-quarters of the way through the day that nobody had talked to me about the shooting. and i don't know whether it was the shooting before that or two or three or four before that when we became so desensitized
that 58 people could be killed in las vegas and it wasn't even mentioned the following monday. we cannot allow this to become normal in this country. the people of colorado refuse for this to become normal in this country, and it's not just mass shootings. it's the daily shootings that stalks our communities like the west side of chicago, where i've spent time with my friend arne duncan, who after being the secretary of education has gone back to his hometown to try to keep young men from killing one another. they can't afford for us to continue to just move on and forget that it ever happened.
communities, once they've been salve amged by something -- savaged by something like the aurora movie theater shooting or the columbine shooting, they never move on. and i can tell you, the pages here are a little bit younger than my daughters are, but i can tell you that there is a whole generation of americans that's grown up in this country savaged by gun violence and the prospect that it could happen to them when they go to school the next day, or the next week. you can see it. you can see kids sitting on the couch, cringing when they're watching the television reports, wondering whether that's going to be me or that's going to be -- whether that's going to be them or their classmates. they have carried a burden that no generation of americans has
ever had to carry. no generation of humans living in the industrialized world has had to carry this particular burden. today our kids are growing up with a reasonable fear that they could get shot in their school, or in their temple, or in their church. i didn't grow up in a country with more gun-related deaths than virtually any country in the industrialized world. that wasn't the country i grew up in. i grew up in a country where the second amendment -- with the second amendment, but not a country with more shootings than anyplace else in in the industrialized world. our attitude about this has changed. it's different from what our parents and grandparents believed. no matter what party they were in. i heard somebody after a shooting on the radio, some
well-known talk show host, say that this was just the price of freedom. that being victimized in a mass shooting or being worried that your family member could be killed in a mass shooting was just the price of freedom. that's not what freedom meant to america when i was growing up. partly what freedom means is being free from fear that you're going to get gunned down. that's a freedom, and we've denied that freedom to the next generation of americans. and what a shame that somebody would say something like that after a mass shooting. what a limited view of what freedom is.
what a surrender that represents to our children. and to the victims of these crimes. mr. president, in 2020 the leading cause of death for kids in america was guns. guns. not car accidents, not drugs, but guns. there was a study that looked at how many kids age 4 or younger had been killed by guns across 29 industrialized countries. this is kids 4 or younger. in 29 industrialized countries. the united states accounted for 97% of deaths.
this country accounted for 97% of deaths of kids that were 4 years and under. what a disgrace! what an indictment! entire rest of the world, industrialized world, accounted for 3%. we accounted for 97%. we have nearly 200 times the rate of violent gun deaths as japan or south korea, and nearly 100 times what they experience in the ukraine -- in the united kingdom. i can tell you, speaking as a father, it's not because we love our children any less. or because we're uniquely violent or that somehow we've got a mental health problem that other countries don't have, that
we're mentally more unwell, which i hear some people say. it's because we have a united states senate that year after year after year has been paralyzed by the national rifle association. by the n.r.a. a senate that's allowed our kids to get shot in schools, movie theaters, grocery stores and concerts, and offered nothing but thoughts and prayers. a neat that until now has -- a senate that until now has failed to respond to the overwhelming demand of the american people to protect our communities. that's what i hear when i go home. i live in a western state. as you'll hear, we've been able to fact meaningful gun reforms in my state. we can make progress in the western state like colorado, where people are demanding it,
democrats, independents, and republicans, and most important of all our children, are demanding it, we can do it here. i've said it over and over and over again on this floor, after we've had mass shooting after mass shooting across our country. and finally, for the first time in a decade, we have the chance to make progress. and i want to thank my colleagues. i really do. i don't mean that in the usual way that people come out here and say, you know, i thank this person. i want to thank my colleagues. chris murphy and john cornyn, for leading this really important bipartisan effort. and i strongly support what they've put forward, which would strengthen backgrounds ground checks for young people buying firearms, so we're checking their mental health and juvenile records. helping states strengthen red
flag laws, which would help keep guns out of the hands of people who are a threat to themselves or others. we've passed a bill like that already in colorado. make a historic investment in mental health and school security. i said a minute ago that sometimes you just hear people talk about how we have mental health, and i pointed out that we probably have about the same mental health as other countries in the world have. but that doesn't mean it's not an issue, and it is an issue. we're having an pandemic of mental health on the -- an epidemic of mental health on the back end of this pandemic, especially among adolescents, in this country and in the state of colorado. there's $15 billion in this bill for mental health, and i'm proud that that is in there. that is a historic investment, and it's both sides making it. we're going to close the boyfriend loophole, which allows abuse becausive partners to buy a gun, and we're going to crack
down on straw purchases where people illegally buy guns on behalf of someone else. that's a big problem that we're going to address in this bill. frankly, i don't know how anybody on this floor could object to any of those ideas. i don't know how anyone could go home and say they opposed investing in mental health or making sure they're not letting a troubled 18-year-old have access to an ar-15 or some other weapon. but on that point, this can't be the end of our work, mr. president. there's more for us to do. we should raise the age for buying a semiautomatic weapon from 18 to 21. we should pass universal background checks. in colorado, after columbine, we passed universal background checks. i said it over and over again on this floor. and every year somewhere around 3% of the people that try to buy
a gun can't buy a gun in colorado. and you know why they can't buy a gun? because they're a convicted felon, because they're murderers, because they're domestic abusers. in the ten years that i've been, 12 years that i've been coming down here talking about this, i've challenged people. i've said come tell me why colorado is not safer with that law in place, and there's nobody that ever comes here and says here's why you're not safer because obviously we are safer and the country would be safer and colorado would be safer if we passed background checks at the national level. we should close the gun show loophole. we should limit the size of magazines, which we also have done in my western state of colorado. we should ban bump stocks. people in colorado and across the country overwhelmingly support these steps. but in the meantime, mr. president, let's pass this bipartisan proposal.
a few weekends ago i was actually -- it was actually over the memorial day weekend, i had high school kids not in the same place and not just one, literally coming up to me in tears out of desperation that we were not responding to what had happened in texas and we hadn't done anything in this country about guns. i think we need to show them and the young people that are here today, the young people that are living all over america that we aren't so broken that we can't respond to one more massacre of kids at a school. we need to show them, mr. president, when we have this opportunity to demonstrate that we're not going to fail
again. and that we can succeed in passing this bipartisan bill and that after all these years we can meet the american people's reasonable expectation to begin to protect our communities against gun violence that happens in the united states of america and only in the united states of america. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from california is recognized. mrs. feinstein: i ask to speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. feinstein: mr. president, our country is still mourning the tragic shootings in buffalo and uvalde in which a total of 31 innocent people were gunned down by teenagers using weapons of war. while these terrible events get
our attention and have in this case galvanized the senate to act, they are only two of the 279 shootings that have taken place this year. so it is good that the senate is now considering legislation to address the epidemic of gun violence. the bipartisan safer communities act which we're now considering is a good, albeit modest, bill. i'm particularly pleased to see two issues i prioritized are addressed in this bill. the first is grants to state red flag laws, like the law in my home state of california, which has proven effective at removing guns from people who have been found by a court to possess a threat and a provision closing the boyfriend loophole which has let too many domestic abusers continue to possess firearms.
however, while this bill is a step in the right direction, it's far from the bold action that we need to address mass shootings that occur on a daily basis. it remains too easy for the private citizens to obtain weapons of war in this country. and sadly, this bill does very little to address that tragic reality. almost 30 years ago, in 1993, i stood on this floor and offered the amendment to ban the sale and possession of assault weapons. that goal was simple. limit access to weapons of war that have no place on our streets. and guess what? it worked. in the ten years the assault weapons ban was law, gun massacres dropped 37%.
after the ban lapsed in 2004, gun massacres rose by 183%. that's a big difference. back then a different shooting was on the mind of americans. the one-on-one california shooting in my hometown of san francisco where a disturbed man entered a law firm and killed eight people. for many, this tragedy was a wake-up call that required action, and we did act. now, 30 years later, teenagers are able to purchase ar-15's, multiple high-quality magazines, and shoot up a grocery store or elementary school. and we've left mourning the
deaths of innocent people and asking what is the solution. i applaud the sponsors of the legislation now before the senate, but i have to ask what will it take for us to hear the wake-up call and pass stronger gun legislation. our nation, our children are under constant attack. nowhere is safe. there are mass shootings at schools, at churches, at synagogues, newspaper offices, stores, movie theaters, on and on. it's simply too easy to get a weapon designed to kill as many people as possible. today's legislation will help, but there's so much more we could and should be doing. our gun laws are lax, and they make it too simple for anyone,
even though those we know are prone to violence, to obtain a weapon. this is especially true of teenagers. even though they can't buy a beer or a pack of cigarettes, they can buy an ar-15 assault rifle, and thousands of rounds of ammunition once they turn 18 years old. and the results are heartbreaking. in uvalde, 18 children and 2 teachers were massacred last month because an 18-year-old was able to buy an assault weapon. just ten days earlier in buffalo, ten people were shot to death in a grocery store because an 18-year-old was able to buy an assault weapon. the common denominator in so
many mass shootings today are assault weapons. i understand the senators who negotiated the bill couldn't reach agreement on this issue. consequently the bill fails to prevent teenagers, teenagers from buying assault weapons. under current law, a federal firearms licensee may not sell or deliver a handgun to a buyer younger than 21. however, this commonsense protection does not apply to purchases of assault weapons. this disparity actually cost lives. it's simple logic. if you can't buy a beer, you shouldn't be able to buy an assault weapon. if you can't buy a handgun, you shouldn't be able to buy an ar-15. that's why i introduced, along with 13 of my colleagues, the
age 21 act. i have also filed it as an amendment on the bill before us. the bill would raise the minimum wage age to purchase assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition from 18 to 21. so before you have a powerful weapon, before you buy big bullets, you have to at least be 21 years old. i don't think that's too much to ask. this commonsense reform has public support among both democrats and republicans. a recent "politico" poll showed that 88% of democrats and 68% of republicans support requiring people to be 21 or older to purchase a firearm. i believe that failing now to act and address the ease with
which teenagers can buy assault weapons is really a grave mistake. and make no mistake about it, it will cost lives. so now is the time to act. i urge my colleagues to support the age 21 act and pass it before the next massacre. i hope these words are heard. i hope people understand. and i hope there are no more killing of young people this way. so i thank the presiding officer, and i yield the floor. i note the absence of a quorum, mr. chairman. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
>> mr. president, as we approach the conclusion of a truly consequential work period, the senate this morning will take the next major step towards accomplishing something that hasn't been done in decades, passing a strong gun safety bill. the bill can be described simply in three adjectives, commonsense, bipartisan, life-saving. and if republicans work with us we could very well finish the job in its entirety before the day is done. later this morning the senate will vote to invoke, will vote to invoke cloture on a bipartisan safe communities act, and expect that vote of robust
bipartisan support. just as we saw earlier this week. we are not going to leave until we passed this bill. after this morning's vote it's my intention to work with the republican colleagues to reach an agreement to secure a vote on final passage before the day is out. as the author of the brady bill nearly 30 years ago, the last legislative effort to fight gun violence, i am so pleased that we are at least -- at last on the precipice of taking action once again. it's been a long time but this breakthrough is welcome. so i urge my republican colleagues, let's get this bill passed and pass it today. let's pass it so we can send it to the house, they can send it to the white house, and the president can sign it. americans have waited long enough. let us finish our job today. as we take the final steps in this process you could've anticipated we reach this point
just a few weeks ago. the morning after the tragedy in uvalde, the united states senate faced a choice. we could surrender to gridlock, or -- sorry. the morning after the tragedy in uvalde the united states senate faced a choice. we could surrender to gridlock and we could swiftly vote on a bill with provisions many of us would have wanted, but because of rigid opposition from the other side had no hope of passing the chamber. it would have failed. or we could choose to try and forge a bipartisan path forward to pass a real bill, as difficult as it may have seemed too many. over the past four years we chose to try -- over the past four weeks, rather, we chose to try and get something done. immediately after uvalde i spoke with senator murphy who asked me to give negotiators time and
space to do their work. with his deep experience in this area he believed that given the opportunity maybe, maybe maybe these talks could succeed. although of course there was no guarantee. i was happy to agree. because i knew that even if there was a chance to get something positive and tangible done on gun safety it was worth the effort. so i told senator murphy i would give him the space needed. that quickly became the consensus of our caucus, and the consensus of many of our gun safety advocates who pressed as to secure real progress. senator murphy and i called them the day after uvalde and they agreed, get something done even if it wouldn't be everything we would all want. we were all on the same page. instead of voting on a bill that would fail, we would try and get something real passed in the senate. in the end it was the right decision does it for long we had a bipartisan governance framework.
a week later we had legislative text. a few days ago that bill came before the senate with strong bipartisan votes. and today, today we can take the final steps to passing the first major gun safety bill in nearly 30 years. as i said, this is not a cure-all for all the ways gun violence affects our nation but it is a long-overdue step in the right direction. it's significant. it's going to save lives, and it's my intention to get it done as soon as we can. i want to thank all of my democratic and republican colleagues for working together to reach this point. and i want to thank the leaders of the effort, murphy, tellis, korman as well as all of our colleagues on the bipartisan working group, all of our chairs
and members who contributed their expertise and leadership in shaping the bill. i also want to thank every single survivor of gun violence, every family that has spoken of, every advocate that is organized and every voter and concerned citizen who has pushed his body to take action for so many years. even with the holes in their hearts, the lost loved ones through needless, cruel gun violence, so many advocates persisted and persisted and persisted, and without them keeping that candle burning even in the darkest of moments we wouldn't have gotten this done. i salute them. i thank them. america thinks them. and i say to all of them, all the advocates who worked so hard and so long on this, very soon your efforts will bear real fruit. we are going to keep going until we finish the job. so i urge my colleagues to reach an agreement with us to do precisely that.
>> the american people do not have to choose between safer schools and the constitution. and neither does the united states senate. the american people want their constitutional rights protected, and their kids to be safe in school. they want both of those things at once. and that is just what the bill before the senate will help accomplish. thanks to the leadership and dedication of senator cornyn, senator tillis and several other counterparts across the aisle, we are considering a bipartisan bill that will make our country safer without making it any less free. this is the sweet spot, madam president hout objection. afternoon afternoon mr. president, i rise today to acknowledge the years of bipartisan hard work on one of the most challenging subjects we
have here, which is gun violence, mental illness and all of these things that basically contribute to these horrible treablgdz. something has to be -- tragedies. something has to be done and something has been done. some say this legislation is not enough. i can understand that. there are going to be other people saying it's too much, the camel's nose under the tent. they want to take my guns away. i understand people are scared, but it's a constitutional amendment. it's not going to happen. myself, coming from a small town in farmington, west virginia, my father was not a gun person, but he wanted to make sure i had access to people who knew how and lived in a culture where people taught me properly. growing up they had the farmington sportsman club.
these were a lot of the men who worked in the mines who took us under his wing. they taught us gun safety. they called it gun sense. we're going to teach you gun sense, joe. i understood it. gun sense. it's the sensible thing you do with a gun and law abiding gun owners do. it is safety how to load a gun and before you -- before you go to hunt. whatever you're going to do, they teach us about that. they teach everything they possibly can and explain to us why they're teaching us. they said the most important thing is when you acquire a weapon, and it is a weapon, it is basically to feed your family, to defend your family and basically the sporting of skeet shooting or target shooting. i said, i got it. i understand it. they said, do you understand this? and i said what. never sell your gun to a stranger.
never. if you don't know the person, never sell your gun to them until you know what their intent may be. that is part of the gun culture. he said you never loan your gun even to a family member who is not responsible. if you deam them to be not a responsible person and you have not trust them by giving them their car or do anything with them with any valuables you had, why would you loan them a gun? they won't basically take care of it and honor it and understand the gun culture you do. these are things i learned very young. i will fast forward to sandy hook. never in my mind, never in my imagination, never in the united states of america could i believe that 20 babies would get slaughtered. that we have become so mentally disturbed that someone would feel that is something they needed to do or something drove them to it.
i couldn't comprehend that. what was harder is once i got to know all the families, knowing that most of the children was hard to identify, or had to use d.n.a. to identify told me everything. i was on the floor in 2018 and somebody said we have to do something, when there is a horrific tragedy, we all talk about doing something. when which was here, a person said we have to ban this and ban that and take this off the streets. i heard all those things. and i -- i confronted one of our senators at that time about the types of guns they -- they didn't come from a gun culture. we're all raised a little differently. they didn't have an opportunity to learn as i did. i think you're taking a position right now by me being a law-abiding gun owner, that i will do something with them.
i'm not. you have to give me that certain amount of concern that -- that i am a law abiding gun owner, the same as you, same as you might buy a car, whatever you might do that might do danger to yourself or others in public, you have that right because it's a law-abiding citizen and it is a product being sold. cy understand all of that. they said, joe, if you know so much, why don't you write a bill? i said the thing i see where the loopholes are, as a law-abiding gun owner, you can't infringe on me and i can't give it to my child or grandson or my brother or cousin in my immediate family. you have to give me that ability to make those decisions as a law-abiding gun owner with common gun sense. but i said what you do is you have a problem at a gun show. you can go to a gun show anywhere. they're all over the country and
there will be somebody in that gun show selling guns that doesn't do a background check because they're not a licensed dealer. it's the way the system is setup. i said, that is it not right. that person is not a law-abiding gun owner or doesn't understand guns well enough to know how to train. that's something that should be stopped. then we talked about, how about on the internet now? we have all these transactions on the internet. so with the transactions happening on the internet, the way the law is setup today, if i buy from you in maryland or you buy from me, then i have to send my gun to a licensed firearm dealer in maryland -- mr. president, you can pick it up and they'll do a background check on you. but if i sell my gun to somebody in my state of west virginia, whether you're in bluefield, west virginia, or wheeling, west virginia, i can do that without going through a background
check. that should be stopped. basically we did a bill and i got senator pat toomey from pennsylvania. and it has probably been vetted longer than anything else as far as guns and i would have dearly loved to have a bill that didn't infringe on gun owners and protected their second amendment. we weren't able to get that in. i understand. i'm okay. i would have loved to. we got some other things in. what i'm trying to point out, those who didn't think you got what we wanted, trust me, we need to start somewhere. this is a start. thinking about that the only thing i had advice to the committee, we worked in a bipartisan group, whatever we do, we've got to make sure we're able to say what we're doing today would have prevented this horrible uvalde tragedy.
and, again, we had young kids, babies, if you will, innocent that their lives were taken away from them and their families. something has to be done. it's not open season on children. if we do anything it has to be towards the safety of children and the school system. if you can't, as a parent or grandparent, see your child to school knowing full well they're going to return home safe or if you have that doubt in your mind or that child has that doubt and scared to go to school, something's wrong with our system in america. and we're asking basically just for good, decent people to step up. this is a piece of legislation that will do an awful lot of good and it's something we can build off of. and i think that's our purpose. support a state crisis intervention orders. we're putting $750 million that will be available for states to create and administer laws that
help keep guns out of the hands of those -- they're talking about what kind of flag it is, what kind of law. forget about that. what we're saying when we identify -- let me tell you something, people who can do us more good are students who are befriended and all of a sudden the student goes dark. something happens, had they take you off their social media page, they don't want to interact with you anymore, something's wrong. if you have a mental health hygiene professional that you could go to as a student and say, i have a friend that i'm concerned about, then it's in the proper hands. we haven't had that. this gives us chance to do that. protection of victims of domestic violence. we know far too many times and to tell you how rampant this is
and the culture that we have, there's domestic violence shelters almost in every corner of the country. wherever you live in america, can you can find domestic violence shelter, we're that committed to protecting people that are going through abuse. this basically closes the boyfriend loophole which is something that's needed to be done for quite a while. and i think that it's going to save lives. i really do. enhance background check for people under 21. myself, i was very open. i think it should have gone to 21. it makes all the sense in the world. i use this rationale. if you're less than 21 years of age and over the age of 18, you cannot go to a gun store legally and buy a handgun. it's the law. not once have we had a strong position, where you have to have 18-year-oldings trying to buy -- 18-year-olds trying to buy handguns, but for some reason we
haven't on the long guns. rite of passage, my first long gun, one single shot, bold action, 22. my next gun was a .410 shotgun. and then i jumped from 16 gauge to 12 gauge. so that's the reason, at 18 you know you're out there and they said, wait a minute, 18-year-olds can go into the military. and they're going to be taught all these weapons. they're going to be properly trained and are not going to leave base with them. they're properly trained and those weapons that you're talking about are used only for the military and defense of our country and does not leave base without them unless they're on duty. there's a difference in what you want to do. so we open it up and this new product comes on the market. this product comes on to the market with a vengeance.
the only thing i have said and i've been very public about it, i don't own one, but i have friends and family members that do. and i trust they'll do the right thing. they enjoy them for whatever reason. so i haven't gone down that path but the bottom line is we've got to take a position that we are going to protect our children. this is what it's about. it's the child protection bill as far as i'm concerned. and if you can't pocket the children in america, if you can't protect the children in your neighborhood, in your school system, that go to school, the same school that your children and grandchildren and god help us all. and if that's not at the front of every discussion on a p.t.o. meeting today going on around the country and every school board going on around the country, something is wrong. how harden is your school? how well of your children protected? if i'm a parent or grandparent, that's what i'm asking. i have three young grandchildren in that age exactly in the school system very close to
where this happened. and you can imagine where my heart was when i heard of this horrible tragedy. so i can only imagine. my heart and prayers go out to these family members. it will never bring back the children. i'm still very close to the sandy hook parents and that movement that made people more aware. it's taken us a long time but we're going in the right direction. i see my good friend, senator cornyn, who has worked so hard on this. this is something that's long overdue, long overdue. so what we're going to do if you're 18 to 21, we want to make sure that we know what your juvenile record is. if there's a juvenile record, we're going to find it and we're going to see if you're worthy or not to have this type of gun. and that's going to be a three to ten-day process for us to get the records back from the different systems to make sure we've evaluated them properly
and review the juvenile and mental records which are so important because i can assure you a young person who maybe didn't have the family support they needed or the nurturing that was needed and they have been in the juvenile system for violence or behavior problems, there's going to be someone that more than likely is going to have a problem as they grow older unless they can get help. maybe now we can identify and get that person help so they don't harm themselves or anyone else in society. that's the purpose of what we're doing. and then you have the investment in mental health funding. $11 billion we're investing in mental health. that's serious. for the first time for us to put this type of money, of public money toward something that's a public tragedy that we're dealing with, i think the money is going in the right place. so when we said we want to be able to prevent, this bill
should be able to prevent someone that shouldn't have a gun and that age group and because there's extra eyes and time to look into it, we've done it. to say we basically are going to able to identify this person and maybe help that person save themselves and a whole lot of other innocent people, we've done it. we've started in the right direction. there's a lot more we can do. so for all of you that are out there saying you didn't do enough, it's just not good enough, don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. this is a good piece of legislation and it has bipartisan support and i'm so proud of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle. it's time to move forward. we will be voting very shortly on that sometime today. it will be a historic vote, a very historic vote. and i'm proud that the colleagues are standing tall on this. we have 50 democrats and 15 republicans and that's a major accomplishment in today's atmosphere, if i may.
so i'm proud to be a senator that's going to take part in a historic piece of legislation to maybe correct a lot of the fears that people have right now of sending their children or grandchildren to school, of maybe relieving the fears of children who are saying i'm afraid to go to school today. that is something i've never heard growing up. it's something i couldn't imagine in the united states of america. i don't want my children or grandchildren and their children having to live through this. it's time for us to stop it. this is a right start. it's a right piece of legislation. it's a good piece of legislation. and this is one time we've put our money where our mouth is and the mental illness that goes on around this country to make sure we're taking care of a problem that's been festering for a long time. so with that i want to thank my colleague senator cornyn from texas. i want to thank all of the group, if you will. we were 20-plus strong equally divided, democrats and
republicans working for the right cause and the purpose for us being here, making sure we do something good for america and protect our children. we've done that in this bill. with that i say thank you to all allmy friends and colleagues foa job well done. with that i see my friend here and i yield the floor. mr. cornyn: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cornyn: madam president, i came to the floor to talk about the bipartisan safer communities act, but first let me just express my gratitude to the senator from west virginia for his long-time commitment to come up with a bipartisan solution. this is not easy and there's a lot of examples of good-faith attempts to try to come up with an answer that can get the requisite number of votes. i know the senator from west virginia knows how hard that is. but it hasn't deterred him from contributing to our efforts, and
i think -- i think our product that we're voting on is better for that. so i want to say thank you mr. manchin: if i could say one thing if you'd give me a minute here. the leadership you've shown is admirable. it really is. you come from a gun culture. i come from a gun culture. we know the challenges in the gun culture. i say to a group of people, it's not enough. to other people, it's too much. anything is too much because it's the camel's nose under the tent they're afraid of. we've protected the second amendment and attacked a problem we've been identifying which is mental illness and you brought it to the forfront, took it. we put money where our mouth is. i think it's a great piece of legislation for us to start protecting the children of america and i thank you again for that. mr. cornyn: madam president, i thank my friend, our friend from west virginia for those generous remarks. well, as we all know, we've been -- a lot of people have been working on this issue for the
last few weeks, especially intensely. and this included, obviously, a lot of people beyond those that i have the time to name here. but we finally introduced our proposed legislation last tuesday, exactly four weeks after the last terrible shooting in uvalde, texas. i'm not a patient person by temperament or personality, so i was hoping we could get here faster but the truth is, since it requires consensus and persuasion, sometimes it takes a little longer than you hope for. and i appreciate the space that both the majority leader and the republican leader have given us to come up with something that will achieve a result. so often around here people do things and say things not with the intention of actually passing legislation but with the intention of making a political
statement or messaging, as it's sometimes called. that's not what we're doing here. we're not looking to posture or to try to embarrass anybody. we're trying to find a solution to a very real problem. and i think what we've come up with will in the end pass the test which i know so many of us believe is the standard. and that standard is will it save lives? will it save lives? and i believe the answer to that is yes. and that makes this worth doing. well, from the beginning i was optimistic that we could reach a bipartisan agreement, but i know that on both sides of the aisle, there were some places that we could not go. as the senator from west virginia said, a proud defender of the second amendment as am i, i was not going to go anywhere in this negotiation that
jeopardized the rights of law-abiding americans under the second amendment to the united states constitution. some people act as if the second amendment is somehow different than the rest of the bill of rights, the freedom of speech, the freedom of press, the freedom of association, the freedom of religion. well, it's right there all in the same ten first amendments to the united states constitution called the bill of rights. so it's entitled to no less respect than those other constitutional rights contained in the bill of rights. but i think we've come up with a way to make good public policy and also to maintain that commitment to the comu -- to the constitution. some people want to create a false choice. i don't think we need to go there because there is not a false choice, as i said, between the constitution and the second amendment, and making good public policy. they don't have to overlap or
interfere with each other. both can stand on their own merits. well, as i've said, law-abiding gun owners are not the problem. that was a red line for me. during the course of our negotiations, our democratic colleagues did push for a range of provisions that i believe stood no chance of becoming law, particularly in the 50-50 senate. we know if democrats want to do everything their way or republicans want to do everything our way, almost by definition in a 50-50 senate nothing will happen. and to me that was the -- one of the most important things we've -- we are doing here. one is demonstrating that our institutions, in this case the united states senate, can actually work at a time when a lot of people are questioning whether our institutions can work. and also questioning whether
it's possible to come up with some bipartisan piece of legislation rather than fail as we have so many times before, and each side sort of returning to their corner of the boxing ring and trying to message it to their base and not actually try to address -- actually get a result. so there were a lot of things that our -- that the president has asked for in this bill, for example, a ban on so-called assault weapons which are a semiautomatic long gun named i guess because of focus groups or polling, assault weapons but it's really a semiautomatic rifle. and there was also some discussion about high capacity magazines. neither of those are part of this legislation. now, i know there are members who perhaps would love to have that, but they understand that to press that point to its logical extreme would mean we
would not have anything at all. there's also no waiting -- mandatory waiting period. there's no potentially unconstitutional requirement that gun owners store their weapons in a particular way. unless a person is adjudicated mentally ill or is a violent criminal, no one's second amendment rights will be impacted by this legislation, period. we know already that the national instant criminal background checks system which is the gold standard, in my view, to make sure we draw the line in the right place between law-abiding gun owners and those who cannot under existing law purchase a firearm. for example, if you've been adjudicated in a mental institution, you can't buy a firearm. if you've been convicted of a felony, if you've been dishonorably discharged from the military, if you are addicted to drugs, all of those are current questions in the national
instant criminal background check system which if you answer yes to, then you cannot legally purchase or possession a firearm. someone would include more categories but we did not. we essentially are by doing what we've done here saying that we are going to make sure that existing law is enforced but not at additional requirements. well, some of our colleagues like to say to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous individuals, we need to limit the rights of law-abiding citizens. but as we know, the bad guys, the criminals aren't going to respect the law. they're going to get guns by any means they, including illegal. frequently they obtain firearms on the street or through straw purchasers. background checks don't deter them because they don't buy them from a federal firearms licensee which does a background check.
they buy it from a member of a street gang or someone else. so we have rejected those attempts to add restrictions, as i say, on law-abiding gun owners but we have added stiffer penalties for straw purchasers and gun traffickers. that i believe is the most effective way to deal with the problem of street sales of illegal guns through trafficking and straw purchasing. that's a way to improve public safety. i said i had wanted to look at reforms that might have prevented the uvalde tragedy from occurring. to me, that's the best way to approach these cases because it's hard sort of in the abstract to say what it is we could do that might save lives. frequently we can look at the fact pattern of what happened and say, here's where there was a failure, and here's another
place there was a failure. unfortunately, in uvalde there were multiple points of failure. one is a lack of our access to juvenile records. this young man showed up after he had his 18th birthday. right now, the criminal background check system doesn't look back before he was 18 to see -- before you were 18 to see whether you had a mental health adjudication or some other disqualifying criminal conviction. that's a problem because if somebody that we know, on retrospect, is sort of a ticking time bomb as a result of his past and there's no way under the current system to get access to that information. so one of the things we've done here is to say, let's see if we can work with the states to make sure that they supply to the national instant criminal background check system information that had it occurred as an adult, post-18, would
clearly disqualify somebody from purchasing a firearm. this is a little bit of a challenge because every state kind of does things differently and there's no way we can compel the state to provide the information. but i would think that governors and state legislatures would want to work with us to try to keep guns out of the hands of people who we know are a threat to themselves and a threat to public safety. our bill incentivizes the states to upload whatever juvenile records they have to the national instant criminal background check system to ensure that any disqualifying criminal convictions or mental health adjudications are available. this is, to be clear, not an expansion but a clarification of the types of conduct and records that would disqualify somebody that you were an adult that are not currently available because we don't look past the 18th birthday -- behind the 18th
birthday, to juvenile records. so what we're doing is ensuring that those records which would disqualify an adult, are available and can be considered as part of that background check. if the background check for a buyer under 21 returns a potentially disqualifying record, what we have provided in this enhanced background check is an opportunity for the f.b.i. to ask more questions. and under our legislation, we don't change this part of it. the nic system has three days to do a background check. but because it is computerized, 90% of them are done just in a matter of seconds. but on occasion the f.b.i. has other information they need to investigate. this is a real problem, for example, in charleston, where dillon roof, somebody we know had a disdemeanor drug addiction
and on further inquiry the f.b.i. would have found out he was addicted to narcotics, which is also a disqualify indication. but because there was no opportunity to spanned the background check, it wasn't part of the nic system. and unfortunately he bought a gun and killed a lot of innocent people at mother emanuel church there in charleston. so giving the f.b.i. for this cohort of 18-to-21-year-old an additional seven business days to look into it, i'll give you another example -- let's say they come up with a record that demonstrates there is an assault. well, there are different types of assaults is against someone. it may be a bar fight or purge -- or punc hing somebody in the
nose. the first is not a disqualifier under the law. but if the assault turns out to be domestic violence, it would be. that's the kind of information that we are giving the f.b.i. an opportunity to explore in this extension of the background check. but this is not a mandatory waiting period. and it doesn't apply to gun buyers of all ages. for example, if somebody is 19 years old and they do the background check and they do what we require here, which is inquire of the juvenile record repository and the repository for mental health adjudications and local law enforcement and they find nothing, then the transaction can occur in a matter of hours or a matter of days. there is no mandatory waiting period. and this really addresses only that cohort of 18, 19, and 20-year-olds which have become a
common profile for young shooters that have shot innocent people everywhere from uvalde to sandy hook in connecticut and other places. the profile, unfortunately, is very sad and very tragic, people who are a danger to themselves and others. that's the reason why we thought this enhanced process was important. we also included comprehensive due process requirements relating to firearms. i've talked about the fact that this is a constitutional right, and of course the constitution guarantees due process of law. and a lot of folks are frankly concerned about these red flag laws, these crisis intervention orders when somebody has demonstrated for a danger to themselves sand others. and the concern is that -- and
others. and the concern is that not all of these red flag laws contain robust due process requirements. what are retalking about? well, due process is generally understood to include notice, the opportunity to be heard, the opportunity to cross-examine witnesses, and to present evidence in front of an impartial judicial officer. so in order to make sure that none of the grant funds would be available to states that did not have robust due process requirements and had red flag laws, as 19 states and the district of columbia do, we have very strong due process conditions on the grants that are available. but many states don't have red flag laws. for example, texas does not. but we do have a lot of crisis intervention problems that are focused on the same sort of
problem. we have veterans courts, we have drug courts. we have something called assisted outpatient treatment for people who under court order can be an outpatient and be required to show up for their counseling or treatment but also to take the medications that their health care provider requires them to take. if they're going to manage their mental health challenges. that's done under a court order but as an outpatient. it is another way of addressing this problem of people having unmanaged mental health challenges and in some cases becoming a danger to themselves and others. we firmly rejected the idea that the federal government would impose a national red flag law, and we did not view it as appropriate for the federal government to make the grant funds that are available through the department of justice seen as an incentive to sort of nudge states or encourage states to pass their own extreme risk
protection orders. those are decisions that are made at the state level, not here. but, like i said, we provided robust due process requirements of any grants that go to those states and it may be, as one of my colleagues said this morning, in his state they have red flag laws and he thinks that money could be used to ensure that the rights of law-abiding gun owners are protected by a robust due process -- robust due process. and for states that don't have red flag laws, as i mentioned, there are other ways this money can go to help and address similar problems. so all states will have access to these funds through the department of justice byrne-j.a.g. law enforcement program. so while some have said that taxpayer dollars are being used to violate someone's second amendment rights without due
process, that's clearly a false accusation. unfortunately, we know that when there's so much money to be made and so many people to be recruited to one cause or another when it deals with this general subject matter, that a lot of reckless and irresponsible and false statements get made, which is the reason i'm here explaining what's in the bill and what's not in the bill. one of the things that were very important to our democratic colleagues is the definition of the boyfriend loophole. just by way of explanation, under current law, before we pass this bill, if you're married to someone, if you are co-habitating with someone, if you have a child with someone and are not married or co-habitating or if you're in a
relationship which is, for all practical purposes, similar to a marriage but not official, if you commit a domestic violence offense in your state and are convicted, you are forever barred from purchasing or possessing a firearm. one of the things we negotiated, because i think it makes a lot of sense, is that for this category of boyfriends, so called, roughly defined as recent or current serious relationship of a romantic or intimate nature, if you find our -- find yourself in one of those relationships and you commit an act of domestic violence, one of the things we negotiated is five years later, with a clean record, then you can have your second amendment rights restored. and i think that is an important
protection, again, of second amendment rights. well, we would not agree that someone who was convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence against a girlfriend 30 years ago would be forever barred from their second amendment rights, or someone who just had a casual dating relationship. but as i said, we did include a provision to restore the second amendment rights to certain individuals who have a clean record of not committing any additional criminal acts, including domestic violence, for a period of five years. we all know there are plenty of people that make mistakes but then turn their lives appeared, and this legislation opens up an -- turn their lives around, and this legislation opens up an
avenue for them to have their second amendment rights restored. we've worked with a lot of different people on the school safety portion to the mental health portion and we've worked with law enforcement and we've worked with a variety of groups, including some of the groups that represent gun owners. as well as those who are -- have advocated reform of our gun laws. i thought it was important for us to hear from everybody. and now it may be that in the end some of these outside groups do not love 100% of what we're doing here. we know that no piece of legislation is perfect. by definition, it is a compromise. and a consensus to try to find that common ground. and so some outside groups may say, well, we can't support that because it doesn't give us 100%
of what we want. but frankly there's never a bill that passes that gives one side or the other 100% of what they want. so just to conclude, madam president, just to repeat myself for emphasis, this bill does not infringe on law-abiding citizens' rights under the second amendment. it doesn't actually expand the background check system. it doesn't impose mandatory waiting periods or any other restrictions. there's a lot of misinformation, and believe me, i think that's what social media was created for -- for spreading misinformation or disinformation. so there's a lot of misunderstanding about what's in this legislation, which is the reason i wanted to come to the floor and set the record straight. this bill does, however, include important targeted reforms, complete with rebust due process protections -- robust due process protections that i believe in the end will keep our children and our communities safe while respecting
second-amendment rights. over the last couple of days, we've had a chance to have even further and more robust discussions among not only republicans, but democrats, and i appreciate those who perhaps may have been skeptical to what we were trying to do here. their willingness to keep an open mind, to ask us hard questions and to force us to come up with good answers that will address their concerns. that's how we pass legislation here in the senate, and my hope is that through those good-faith negotiations and debates and discussions we can continue to build additional support for this hoition -- for this legislation. madam president, i yield the floor, and i would note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: >> like many of my
constituents in new mexico i am a gun owner . i have severely held respect of long abiding gun ownership . many of my own most cherished memories involve the responsible use of a firearm. and to forge memories with my son and my closest friends. but those same sons growup doing active shooter drills in their classrooms . something that would have been absolutely unimaginable
when i was their age. and just this spring my son's high school was on lockdown when i arrived due to a nearby shooting that actually involved a student at the high school. that type of experience has become all too common in our country. the gun violence our communities are experiencing is appalling and is unacceptable. it's evident from the unthinkable mass shootings that we witnessed in buffalo and tulsa and ischemia hills. and it's evident in the mounting number of gun homicides and gun suicides. that have taken tens of thousands of lives each year. my home state of new mexico continues to struggle withone of the highest rates of gun deaths in the country . and in recent years far too many new mexicans have lost friends, family members to this epidemic of violence.
i personally refuse to accept the idea that we are so divided in this country that we can't do something to make this situation better. that is why i joined my good friends senator murphy from connecticut and a number of my colleagues from both sides of the aisle to try and charge a meaningful path forward. over these past weeks we've engaged in challenging but productive conversations. we found areas of agreement on real solutions that we can and we will pass here in the united states senate. our bipartisan negotiations and the legislation that they have produced proved that we can work together in this body. and they show that when we set aside the vicious politics that have held us back for too long on this particular issue we can actually create policies that
save lives. the bipartisan saver communities act includes federal resources to help states and tribes implement crisis intervention programs . new mexico passed a law that would establish one of these programs this past year. the goal was to ensure deadly weapons were kept out of the hands of those that the court determines to be a significant danger to themselves or others . but as of last month new mexico had only used our law nine times. primarily due to a lack of funding and resources and training. last month on mother's day new mexico tragically lost 2 teenagers shot and killed by a man who very likely could have had his firearm removed using new mexico's crisis
intervention law. the alleged suspect had been issued a temporary restraining order at the request of his former girlfriend and the mother of one of the victims. the restraining order showed he was in possession of two firearms. unfortunately the local sheriff's office to recognize the threat he posed. and didn't use our state law to remove the firearms that we use to take the lives of 2 young new mexicans. if we can provide our law enforcement officers and courts the funding and training they need to make crisis intervention laws effective we can protect our communities and ensure that future lives are not lost. the bipartisan favored committees that will help us do just that. our legislation also enhances the review process of firearms buyers under 21 years of age. this new process will require an investigative period to
review criminal and health records including checks with state faith-based and local enforcement. over the last four years six of the nine deadliest mass shootings were by people who were 21 or younger. the bipartisan saver communities act ensures we respond to this deadly trend in a meaningful way . our legislation also makes clear the federal firearms licensing requirements apply to leading to more firearms sales that require background checks. we're finally making sure that convicted domestic violence abusers and individuals subject to domestic violence restraining orders are included in the federal background check database. whether or not the abuser is married to the victim. that has long been a major failure in federal law and it has allowed dangerous abusers
who are evading but not married to their partners but who we know toes of violent threats to require deadly weapons. this provision alone will save an enormous number of lives. our legislation will also make historic investments in community behavioral health and school-based mental health services and increase access to behavioralhealth services through telehealth . the bill will help support school violence prevention efforts and provide training to school personnel and students so that they can recognize the fine that so often precedes some of these violent shooting events. over the course of our negotiations i worked especially hard on a few key provisions with my colleague from maine senator susan collins. our revisions were will crackdown on trafficking of firearms.
these provisions will directly reduce gun violence in our home states and internationally and let me take a moment to explain how. under current law is minor paperwork offense to buy a gun or someone else. and even then that's only applies if you buy the gun from a federal firearms licensee. under the bipartisan saver communities act we're making it a serious crime to buy a gun for someone else when you know that person will use the gun to commit a felony or that they are not allowed to buy a gun themselves. that applies whether you buy the gun for a federal firearms licensee or not. and the consequences of this simple change will be real. it will give deadly weapons out of the hands of people who would use them to hurt others and level serious consequences for those that break the law.just last year the new mexico state
police officer was tragically killed during a traffic stop in new mexico. officer darrin jerry was shot and killed a convicted felon whose wife had allegedly purchased the gun for him. she is now prosecuted under the paperwork offense that is currently on the books. but the bipartisan saver communities act, under it he would be facing more severe consequences for her role in the death of a state police officer. this legislation will also stop the type of organized straw purchasing and trafficking we seem too often in new mexico and elsewhere . right now law enforcement has to watch as an organized chain of straw purchases happen one after another intended to protect the person most at fault, the mastermind of the operation
keeping them far removed from the purchase that happens at a federal firearms licensee. our law enforcement watches this happened but they can only go after the person walks into the fs l. that's usually the person least involved in this case. but that's about to change. soon his ringleaders won't be able to distance themselves from the law anymore. with our new straw purchase provision law enforcement will be able to go after every link in the illegal chain of purchases to take down the entire ring not just the vulnerable individuals these rings sometimes rely on to make the initial purchase. and there's more. while trafficking firearms into the us is a major federal crime under existing
law trafficking firearms out of the us has not been. and for years this has met that firearms traffic out of the us are the primary supply of guns used to commit violent crimes in mexico and el salvador and honduras and in guatemala. it is also invited dangerous firearms trafficking into communities on both sides of our nations southern and northern borders. we saw this in my home state about a decade ago when a major firearms trafficking ring was uncovered in columbus new mexico. this trafficking operation involves the chief of police, mayor, a village trustee and an estimated hundred 90 firearms including large numbers of handguns and assault rifles and the crime they were charged with o, lying on their paperwork.
make our schools, churches, or streets safer? is is that really a vision for this country? i don't think so. madam president, according to an academic study by the council on foreign relations, the united states, with less than 5% of the world's population, has 46% of the world's civilian-owned guns. and it has the highest homicide by firearm rate of the world's most developed countries. indeed, americans kill each other with guns at a rate 25 times higher than other high-income countries. in addition, americans use firearms to harm themselves in alarming numbers. according to the c.d.c., in 2020 there were more than 45,000 firearm-related deaths in the united states, and roughly half
of those deaths were suicides. that's the academic data. what grips me and so many other rhode islanders are the mass killings of americans, particularly children, over the last quarter century. columbine, sandy hook, parkland, and now uvalde. hospitals, concert venues, houses of worship and military installations have been targeted. people have been targeted based on race, sexual orientation, and religious beliefs. innocent lives have been taken again and again, and many more lives have been shattered. a common element is the firearm. while correlation isn't necessarily causation, these mass killings have been more and more common as more and more guns have been marketed and sold. roughly two-thirds of americans do not own a gun, and the
majority of americans agree on a commonsense solution like expanding background checks. but groups like the n.r.a. have lined up to block these efforts even in the face of devastating loss. the bipartisan safer communities act before us today represents progress. it represents a momentary break in the n.r.a. stranglehold on reform. this bill will establish a ten-day waiting period for firearm purchases for individuals under 21 years of age. it will close the boyfriend loophole that allows abusers to access guns. it will strengthen requirements for -- to obtain a federal firearms license, and it will invest in violence intervention programs and mental health communities across the country.
those are worthy of support on their own. i'm also encouraged the bill includes incentives for states to adopt extreme risk protection orders or a red flag system similar to the legislation i have introduced. state red flag laws have proven effective in keeping guns away from individuals who have demonstrated clear warning signs of danger to themselves and others, and we should be encouraging every state to adopt a red flag system. i'd also like to talk about the mental health aspects of the bill. first, it needs to be repeated that a person with a mental health condition is more likely to be a victim of violent crime, not the perpetrator. the most reliable predictor of future violence is actually a history of violent behavior, not a diagnosis of mental illness. that being said, we do have a mental health crisis in this
country that demands attention. in rhode island families and providers have been asking for more resources for treatment and more training for mental health workers, particularly resources dedicated to children with mental health needs. and i am pleased that the negotiations over the gun control package so far includes new resources for mental health care, including a national expansion of the certified community behavioral health clinic model which would provide sustainable funding to expand mental health and substance abuse treatment and services at the community level. and i have worked with my colleagues senator stabenow hand senator blunt for over a decade to move this provision forward. i am also pleased that this agreement invests new funding in the national suicide prevention lifeline. next month the lifeline will be making the switch to an easy-to-remember three-digit number, 988. we need to make sure call centers have the staff and
capacity to handle call volume and make sure people who reach out for help get appropriate follow-up care. as i mentioned earlier, half of all gun deaths each year are suicides, and firearms are the most lethal method of suicide. in addition to keeping guns out of the hands of people in crisis, we need to make sure that we have well-funded and organized systems in place for people who reach out for help in these times of crisis, like the lifeline. again, i would hope every american, particularly those who face these mental health challenges, recall 988. it could be a life saver. i hope we're able to consider bipartisan efforts for our mental health system over the coming weeks and months. for example, we should pass the national suicide prevention lifeline improvement act, which i introduced with senator moran this year. the help committee-reported the
bill out of the committee unanimously nearly a year ago, but this bipartisan bill has still not yet come before the senate. the bill also includes critical resources for schools not only to implement measures to address physical safety, but also to ensure that schools have the resources to address the social, emotional, and mental health needs of students and staff. our educators have not just been on the front lines of the pandemic -- and too often, much too often they're on the front lines of the gun violence epidemic -- and they are also on the front lines of our mental health crisis. finally, because of this legislation, some help is on the way. the gun violence bill we are debating will hopefully prevent some tragedies going forward, though we cannot help but celebrate any progress on gun veals we should not lose fact of
the -- we need more on this bill. there is no single law or regulation that we can pass that would have stopped every single one of these tragedies we've seen over the past few decades, but in my view congress should do more, including reinstating the assault weapons ban, cracking down on illicit ghost guns, and most importantly, eliminating the near total immunity of the gun industry which has an unparalleled level of liability and protection. the gunman in buffalo bought a semiautomatic weapon, but he was able to, quote, illegally transform it into a fully automatic weapon. if you go to your cell phone and get youtube, put in something like transform ar-15 to fully automatic, you'll have a host of videos. one of them is, lasts 1 minute
and 38 seconds. why is this happening? well, when you have no liability for the consequences of building a weapon that can be easily translated from semi to fully automatic and you can wink, wink to your potential market and say, yeah, this is semiautomatic, this legislation is critical to get that immunity dismissed. i'm proud that in the days following the tragedy, my home state of rhode island took decisive action by banning magazines that hold more than ten rounds, raising the minimum age for buying shotguns and rifles from 18 to 21 and prohibiting loaded rifles and shotguns from being carried in public. congress should do the same by passing the bill before us and then pressing on with additional reforms. i will vote to support this bipartisan bill. it's a significant step but it
cannot be the last step. and with that, madam president, i would like to switch to another topic. madam president, i rise to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the enactment of the pell grant which was named in honor of its author and my predecessor, senator claiborne pell. i might add a mentor, a friend, and a remarkable example for me. senator pell believed in the power of education to transform individuals, communities, and our nation. he worked to put the power of education in the hands of the people. when senator pell introduced the legislation to create what would become the pell grant, he said, there is no greater investment this country can make than the education of its youth. our young people, who are simultaneously our
responsibility, our legacy, and our key to problem solving in the future must be enabled to pass easily into the realm of postsecondary education and our institutions of higher education must be equipped to accommodate and train them. his words were prophetic and profound. the pell grant became the corner he stone for broadening access to postsecondary education. because of the pell grant, over 80 million students and counting have been able to attend college. in 19272, before the pell grant, less than half of high school graduates immediately enrolled in college. today two-thirds make that transition. since the establishment of the pell grant, the percentage of people ages 25 to 30 with a bachelor's degree has doubled. today the pell grant supports nearly seven million students across the nation, including nearly 24,000 in rhode island. it remains one of the most effective federal programs in assisting low-income families
with most recipients coming from families with annual incomes of $40,000 or less. it is one of our greatest tools to promote equity and opportunity in the united states. yet despite the success, today we find ourselves at a crossroads when it comes to fulfilling the promise of the pell grant. we have seen declining enrollment over the past five years. even more alarming is that the institutions that that throl the lie -- enroll the lion's share of first generation college students, our community colleges and public four-year colleges have seen some of the most significant declines. we have seen explosion of student debt, loan debt now standing at more than $1.7 trillion. debt that threatens to foreclose on educational opportunity for this generation of americans. and we need to correct course. we have made a start with a bipartisan $400 increase in the maximum pell grant in the fiscal
year 2022 appropriations act, but we need to do much more. the pell grant used to cover over three-quarters of the course of a public four-year college. today it covers less than a third. when i was growing up and after the passage of the pell grant, it was relatively -- i won't say easy, but less challenging to go ahead and work your way through college with a summer job and a pell grant. graduating with very little debt and moving on in this community and this society and this economy. today it's much, much more difficult. so it's time to double the pell grant. we also need states and institutions to step up. affordability is a shared responsibility. 50 years ago senator pell led the effort to ensure that costs would not keep talented and committed students from pursuing a college education. in his farewell speech in the
senate, he called on us to continue his commitment to educational opportunity. he said, in education, i want us to be known as a nation that continually expanded educational opportunity. the nation that brought every child into the education mainstream, and the nation that brought the dream of a college education within the reach of every student who has the drive, talent, and desire. we should always remember that public support for education is the best possible investment we can make in our nation's future. it should be accorded the highest priority. so as we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the pell grant, it's time to renew our commitment to college access and affordability. let's work together to double the pell grant, rein in college costs and reduce the burden of student loan debt. let's do our part to realize senator pell's vision for a country that continually expands opportunity. one final point -- getting to
know senator pell, it always impressed me that i think one of the formative periods in his life was the beginning of world war ii. senator pell came from an old family. pelham, new york, is named after his family. he informed me his family once bought ticonderoga but donated it to the state of new york. he could have gotten a promotion , and served comfortably in some office. he chose not to. he enlisted in the coast guard as a cook and sailed across the atlantic on multiple convoys in dangerous waters. i think there he learned the potential of the american people, from those other cooks that would never be able to go to an ideal college because they didn't have the money.
but they had talent, and in some cases more talent perhaps than the senator himself. and i think that image, that impression drove him in many respects to make the pell grant a reality. and of course it's quite a tribute to a gentleman that could have avoided the difficulties and dangers of war and chose with his other americans to go into the fight. and we have to have that same spirit as we address the doubling of the pell grant. with that, madam president, i would yield the floor.
court we can go safety laws in america or the first time in a decade. it dotted a century-old law to make sure people carrying concealed weapons actually needed and the court is taking us backwards at the time when the american people are demanding that we do more, not less to protect our communities. the shooting at columbine
high school happened the year before my oldest daughter was born, she's 22 years old and we were at least three dollars and their entire generation has grown up in the shadow of gun violence. since columbine my state has endured one tragedy after another . in 2012 a gunman killed 12 people at a movie theater in aura . in 2019 shooter engineer injured students at stan high school and last march shooter killed 10 people at the king supers grocery store in boulder. that was almost a year to the day from the shootings in buffalo that took another 10 lives ofpeople that had gone to shop for their families .
two months after that grocery store shooting in colorado a gunman killed six people at a birthday party in colorado springs. now mister president i remember, it's hard over time you lose track but i remember back in 2017 after a gunman in las vegas killed 58 americans, shooting across the street from the hotel room. i came to work the following monday mister president and i realized about three quarters of the way through the day that nobody had talked to me about the shooting. and i don't know whether the shooting before that were two or three or four before that when we came so desensitized
that 58 people could be killed in las vegas. and it wasn't even mentioned the following monday. we cannot allow this to become normal in this country . the people of colorado reviews for this to become normal in this country and it's not just mass shootings . it's the daily shootings. that stocks are communities like the west side of chicago where i spent time with my friend arty duncan going back to his hometown to try to keep young men from killing one another. they can't afford for us to continue to just move on and forget that it ever happened. communities, what they've
been savaged by something like the aurora theater shooting or columbine shooting. they never moved. and i can tell you the pages here are a little younger than my daughter-in-law but i can tell you there's a whole generation of americans that have grown up in this country savaged by gun violence and the prospect that it could happen to them when they goto school the next day or the next week . you can see kids sitting on the couch cringing when they're watching the television reports wondering whether that's going to be me or that's going to be them or their classmates. they have carried a burden that no generation of americans has ever had to carry. no generation of humans
living in the industrialized world has had to carry this particular burden. today our kids are pulling up with a reasonable fear that they could be shot in their school. or in their temple or in their church. i didn't grow up in a country with more gun related deaths in virtually any country in the industrialized world. that wasn't the country i grew up in. i grew up in a country with a second amendment but not a country with more shootings than anyplace elsein the industrialized world .our attitude about this must change to be different from what our parents and grandparents believe. no matter what party they are in. i heard somebody after a shooting on the radio, a well-known talkshow host say
this was just the price of freedom. that being victimized in a mass shooting or beingworried that your family member could be killed in a mass shooting was just the price of freedom. that's not what freedom meant to america when i was growing up . partly what freedom means is being free from fear that you're going to get gunned down . that's a freedom. and we've denied that freedom to the next generation of americans. and what a shame that somebody would say something like that. after a mass shooting. what's a limited view of what freedom is. what a surrender that represents to our children.
and the victims of these crimes. mister president, in 2020 the leading cause of death for kids in america is guns. guns. not car accidents. not drugs. but guns. there was a study that looked at how many kids age four or younger had been killed by guns across 29 industrialized countries . this is kids four or younger in 29 industrialized countries. the united states accounted for 97 percent ofthis . this country accounted for 97 percent of deaths of kids
that were four years and under. what a disgrace. once an indictment. the entire rest of the world industrialized world accounted for three percent. we accounted for 97 percent. we have nearly 200 times the rate of violent gun deaths as japan or south korea and nearly 100 times what they experienced in the united kingdom. i can tell you as a father is not because welove our children any less . or because we are uniquely violent or that somehow we've got a mental health problem that other countriesdon't have . that we are mentally more unwell. i hear some people say.
it's because we have united states senate that year after year after year has been paralyzed by the national rifle association. by the nra. a senate that's allowed our kids to get shot in schools, movie theaters, grocery stores and concerts and offered nothing but thoughts and prayers. the senate that until now has failed to respond to the overwhelmingdemand of the american people to protect our communities . that's what i hear when i go home. i live in a western state. as you'll hear we've been able to enact meaningful gun reforms in my state. we can make progress in the westernstate like colorado where people are demanding it . democrats, independents and
republicans and most important of all our children are demanding it . we can do it here. i've said it over and over and over again on this floor after we've had mass shooting after mass shooting across our country. and finally, for the first time in a decade we have the chance to makeprogress . and i want to thank my colleagues. i really do. i don't mean that in the usual way people come outhere and say i think this person. i want to thank my colleagues . chris murphy and john cornyn for leading this really important bipartisan effort and i strongly support what they've put forward which would strengthen background checks for young people buying firearms. helping states strengthen red flag laws which would help keep guns out of the hands of people who are a threat to
themselves or others. we passed a bill like that already in colorado. make a historic investment in mental health and school security. i said a minute ago that sometimes you just hear people talking about how we have mental health and i pointed out that we probably got the same mental health as other countries in the world but itdoesn't mean it's not an issue and it is an issue . where having an epidemic of mental health on the backend and behavioral health. on the backend of this pandemic especially among adolescents in this country and the state of colorado there's $15billion in this bill for mental health and i'm proud that's in there . that is a historic investment andit's both sides that are making it . we're going to close the boyfriend loophole with all which allows abusive partners to buy a gun and crackdown on straw purchases people
illegally by guns on behalf of someone else. that's a big problem that we're going to address in this bill. but frankly i don't know how anybody on this floor could object to any of those. i don't know how anyone could go home and say they oppose investing in mental health or making sure they'renot letting a troubled 18-year-old have access to an ar 15 . or some other weapon. but on that point this can't be the end of our work. mister president, there's more for us to do. we should raise the age for buying a semi automatic weapon from 18 to 21. we should pass universal background checks and in colorado after columbine we pass universal background checks. i've said it over and over on this floor. and every year somewhere around three percent of the people that tried to buy a
gun had bought a gun in colorado . and you know why they can't buy a gun as denmark because they are convicted felons. becausetheir murderers. because their domestic abusers. in the 10 years, 12 years i've been coming down here talking about this , i challenged people come tell me why colorado is not safer with that law in place. people in colorado and across the country overwhelmingly support these steps. in the meantime mr. president, let's pass this bipartisan proposal.
a few weekends ago over the memorial day weekend i had high school kids not in the same place and not just one literally coming up to me in tears out of desperation we were not responding to what happened in texas and we hadn't done anything in this country about guns. i think we need to show that and the young people here today, the young people living all over america that we aren't so broken we can't respond to one more massacre of kids that school. we need to show them when we have this opportunity to demonstrate we are not going to fail again and we can succeed
passing this bipartisan bill and after all these years we can meet the american people's reasonable expectation to begin to protect our communities against gun violence that happens in the united states of america and only in the united states of america. with that, i yield the floor. >> the senator from california is recognized. [inaudible] >> mr. president, our country is still mourning the tragic shootings in buffalo and uvalde in which a total of 31 innocent people were gunned down by teens using weapons of war. while these terrible events get our attention and have in this case galvanized the senate to
act, they are only two of the 279 shootings that have taken place this year so it's good the senate is now considering legislation to address the epidemic of gun violence. bipartisan safer communities act which we are now considering is a good albeit modest bill. i am particularly pleased to see two issues i prioritized are addressed in this bill. the first is the state red flag laws like the law in my home state of california which is proven effective at removing guns from people found by a court to possess a threat and a provision for closing the boyfriend loophole which has led to many domestic abusers continue to possess firearms. however, while this bill is a
step in the right direction, it is far from the bold action we need to address mass shootings that occur on a daily basis. it remains too easy for private citizens to obtain weapons of war in this country and sadly this bill does very little to address that tragic reality. almost 30 years ago in 1993 i stood on the floor and offered the amendment to ban the sale and possession of assault weapons. that goal was simple. limit access to weapons of war that have no place on our streets. guess what -- it worked. in the ten years it was law, gun massacres dropped 37%.
after 2004, gun massacres rose by 183%. that is a big difference. back then, a different shooting was on the mind of americans. the 101 california shooting in my hometown of san francisco were a disturbed man entered a law firm and killed eight people. for many, this was a wake-up call that required action and did act. thirty years later, teens are able to purchase ar-15's. multiple high quality magazines and shoot up a grocery store or elementary school. we are left mourning the deaths of innocent people and asking,
what is the solution? i applaud the sponsors of the legislation before the senate but i have to ask, what will it take to hear the wake-up call and pass stronger gun legislation? our nation, our children are under constant attack. there are mass shootings at schools, churches, synagogues, newspaper offices, movie theaters, on and on. simply too easy to get a weapon designed to kill as many people as possible. today's legislation will help but there's so much more we could and should be doing. our gun laws are lax and they make it too simple for anyone even though those we know are
prone to violence to obtain a weapon, is especially true of teens even though they can't buy a beer or pack of cigarettes, they can buy an ar-15 assault rifle and thousands of rounds of ammunition once they turn 18 years old. the results are heartbreaking. in uvalde, 18 children and two teachers were massacred last month because an 18-year-old was able to buy an assault weapon. ten days earlier in buffalo, ten people were shot to death in a grocery store because an 18-year-old was able to buy an assault weapon. the common denominator and so many mass shootings today are assault weapons. i understand senators who
negotiated the bill couldn't reach agreement on this issue. consequently, the bill fails to prevent teens from buying assault weapons. under current law, a federal firearms license he may not sale or delivery. a handgun to the buyer younger than 21. however, this commonsense protection does not apply to purchases of assault weapons. this disparity costs lives. simple logic -- officer: without objection. sul it's thursday. norm a -- mr. sullivan: it's thursday. normally when i give this speech -- you notice we have a new pro-energy alaskan of the week speech here. normally everybody has gone home. the pages love it because it is
the most interesting speech of the week. some of our supporters, they're viewing this as the end of the week. a lot more business to do for the next day or two or three -- who knows. important business. no doubt about it. but i still want to come down to the floor appeared talk about a really impress -- and talk about a really impressive man who has done incredible stuff for our state. his name is jeff strait. jeff has been a builder of the trans-alaska pipeline and then -- what we call taps -- and then has helped run it for 48 years, almost half a century. so we're going to talk about jeff here in a minute. he's done an incredible job. i always like to talk a little bit about what's going on in alaska, all the people who watch this speech. we know there are millions who tune in every thursday. come on up to alaska. come visit.
what's happening right now is really, really exciting. it's just a few days past summer solstice. boy, did we celebrate in alaska! parties, baseball games. the famous midnight sun baseball game took place in fairbanks. i talked about that last week. it took place in fairbanks on tuesday. the goldpanners -- we talked about the famous alaskan baseball team -- pulled out a 10-9 victory in the bottom of the tenth. the crowd of thousands went wild. midnight sun baseball. so if if you're visiting fairbanks, as many tourists do right now, you might want to check out a baseball game. we got great baseball in alaska, as i described last week. you also might want to travel a couple miles outside of fairbanks to get a firsthand
view of one of the engineering marvels of the world -- the trans-alaska pipeline. what we call taps. that's it right there. a big, beautiful, incredible engineering feat. 800 miles of steel pipeline crossing three mountain ranges, one about 5,000 feet high, crossing more than 600 streams and rivers, and has transported over 17 billion barrels of oil to a thirsty america. that's energy security. right there. right there. taps has provided countless benefits in terms of tens of thousands of jobs, good union jobs, i might add -- not just to
alaskans, to americans all over, all over the country. i think even one of our senate colleagues has worked on this. and it was the largest privately funded infrastructure project ever undertaken in america at the time. it was built in the early 1970's. and, here's the thing, madam president -- it took three years to build, three years. that's it. this mammoth, huge, important energy project. by the way, we need to get back to that in this country. i and many other senators are working on that. you can't do an e.i.s. in six years. we got to get back to this can-do american spirit. building things that benefit our great nation in a timely manner. i'm going to talk a little bit about that. but the our alaskan of the week,
jeff strait, was one who did this. he helped construct this incredible engineering feat. then he stayed on and he worked for a company in alaska, a very famous company called alyeska, which is a consortium of companies that own and run and built the pipeline. today -- or this week, madam president, alyeska celebrated its 45th year anniversary. 45 years of supplying a thirsty america with billions and billions and billions of barrels of oil. everybody should applaud that. i know we have some, unfortunately, who think that if you work in the energy sector somehow you're a bad guy. actually, you're a hero. america needs energy. alaska has a lot of it. alyeska has produced it and sent
it 800 miles down this incredible pipeline to the whole country. so i want to first congratulate alyeska for their incredible work. jeff, our alaskan of the week, is the longest-serving employee there. he's been working for alyeska all of those 45 years. and, as i mentioned, he started working on taps even longer -- 48 years in total, because he is one of the americans -- by the way, there was only 30,000 who came up to build this incredible work of energy infrastructure. 48 years, jeff strait, alyeska, building taps. what an amazing career. he is our alaskan of the week. so, let me tell you a little bit about jeff. jeff's father came to alaska after world war ii. where he flew for the army air corps.
that's another theme you may have seen on our alaskan of the week. a lot of vets, a lot of veteran families. alaska has more veterans than any state per capita in the country. and jeff's father worked on projects across the state, married jeff's mother in 1952, when they were both working on the alaska-canada highway, the alcan highway as we call it in alaska. by the way, you want to talk about building something efficiently in terms of infrastructure that we need in america? al-can highway, 1,600 miles through canada all the way to the lower 48, built in eight months. we can do that, america. we can build great things. al-can highway, taps, efficiently. we've just got to get back to it. more on that later.
jeff's parents then moved back to illinois, where jeff was born. but he might have been raised in alaska because his parents talked about the great state of alaska so much, their adventures there, what they did there. so he wanted to go back, and he went to prevet school at iowa state for two years, and the first chance he got in 1973, moved to alaska to work on a farm and go to college at the university of alaska fairbanks. now, madam president, i'm sure a lot of our senate colleagues know this, but for the interns, the pages i mean, you miemple in -- you might remember in the early 70's where we had this big energy crisis where energy prices were going up, a little bit familiar unfortunately to today, going way up primarily because there was an arab oil embargo led by
the gulf arab states, saudi arabia, against the united states and other countries. it was devastating. you couldn't get gas. there were lines at gas stations stretched for blocks. states issued rationing based on odd and even license plates. prices surged, a little bit like today. motorists turned on each other as bedlam. by the way, it really hurt the economy, like today, in terms of inflation. enter the great state of alaska and our vast, vast energy reserves for america. congress said we need to get alaska moving. we need to get that alaskan energy to the rest of the country. so this body and the house debated the trans-alaska pipeline authorization act, what we call, as i mentioned,
taps, to build this for the country. and we did it. it was drama, madam president. you're sitting right there in the president of the senate's seat. the taps act in the u.s. senate was deadlocked. it was a tie vote here in the senate. and the vice president of the united states had to come and break the tie so america could build this for a country that needed energy. american energy, by the way, not energy from the middle east. another incredible story as it relates to legislation and taps was the late great congressman don young, a freshman at the time. we just lost our dear congressman awe couple of months ago. he was a brand-new freshman in 1973. he got an amendment -- and,
boy, do we need amendments like this today -- that said on this big infrastructure project, we're going to stop any litigation, we're going to stop more studies. we're just going to build. we can do that here, by the way, the congress. we can say no more litigation, let's build. and that's what we were also. that's what -- and that's what we did. that's what america did. and as the debate was happening here in the congress, jeff moved back up to alaska, visited a local union hall, got on with the teamsters, and his life's work in alaska began. as i said, madam president, this was the largest private construction project in our country's history. at its height, we had over 30,000 americans, great americans, by the way, building this incredible piece
of american energy infrastructure that transformed our state and alaska. it transformed america. at one point this pipeline was producing 2.2 million barrels a day for our nation. over 17 billion barrels of oil have gone down that pipeline for america. by the way, madam president, alaska has billions and billions of barrels of oil left, if our federal government would just help us produce it. eventually jeff got a job, after building taps with alyeska, running taps, working at pump station number 8. and in the 48 years since, he has worked nearly every inch of that line as a technician at three pump stations, as a task
force super vie so, as a project supervisor, abc a pump station operation super vie so, as a pipeline technician trainer. you get where i'm going, madam president. he's done it all for alyeska. he has great stories and great memories. he remembers the mess halls filled with smoke and laughter and the hard work it took to build this pipeline. he remembers watching "jaws" at a packed theater camp in the middle of the alaska wilderness. he remembers a time a russian delegation came to visit taps. the taps pump station was so clean. by the way, alaska has the highest environmental standards of energy production anywhere in the world. and he said the russians came, saw how we produced, saw pump stations and thought that we were lying about how we produce and transport oil because it was
so clean. they thought it was staged. as jeff said, we are setting standards on the environment, cleanliness, environmental standards that people across the world didn't think were possible. it made us proud. well, guess what? we're still doing that in alaska. jeff system marvels at the engineers who designed one of the most complicated engineering projects ever built before computers, using paper, pencils, slide rules, every square inch of the system had to be intact to move even one drop of oil, jeff said. if there was a leak anywhere, we shut the whole thing down. it is a testament to so many that this incredible system has kept oil flowing for america for 45 years. that's what jeff just said about taps and alyeska.
to keep it running, there are always upgrades, adjustments, installing enhanced monitoring, detection, surveillance. the pipeline itself is the same pipeline built in the 70's. still doing battle with geological and meteor logical forces and still standing strong for our country. jeff has no plans to retire soon. he's still highly engaged. he's still highly curious. he is now taking on a greater mentorship role, including developing and teaching a hydraulics class, emulating those who taught him. jeff said, quote, when i think about the last 48 years, i think about the thousands of people who have made a difference, who helped me and taught me, and i really think that that's what america is all about. passing on values and our work
ethic to each other. madam president, that is what america is all about. that's the best of our country. people who work hard, who are loyal to their jobs, to their communities, to their state, to their country, and importantly, who produce important things like american energy, which we need to this day. and jeff is exactly one of those kind of people. he built this, ran it, still runs it, and our nation still needs it. so, jeff, thank you for all that you've done. thanks to the workers at alyeska who are currently working right now, 24/7, to keep hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil a day, which we need, coming down the trans-alaska pipeline. a big congratulations to alyeska
for 45 years, 17 billion barrels of oil for america. that company, alyeska, has produced many great leaders, jeff being one. thoom barrett, my good friend, being another. and i just want to say to him, to everybody at alyeska, but particularly to jeff, congratulations on being our alaskan of the week. you people who are producing american energy are american heroes. we need more of you, and we really appreciate all you've done for our great state and great nation. i yield the floor. a senator: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from missouri. mr. blunt: madam president, before i get to my topic today, i'd like to say when senator sullivan first came to the senate, i hadn't been here very long either, and this was my
presiding time every week, and i loved the alaskan of the week. i don't think they're ever going to run out of alaskans of the week as long as senator sullivan is here. right back in that chair where you are, i was thinking of the many times i heard senator sullivan do the presentation on the alaskan of the week and how much i enjoyed it. i would say the topic today, tragic in so many ways, but i think moving forward in others, last month 19 kids were killed in their own schoolrooms, two teachers were killed at uvalde, texas. it was an horrific act, agonizing thing for families, an agonizing thing for community. and i think along with the buffalo, new york, event, an agonizing thing for our country. one thing that almost all these be mass shootings have in common is a perpetrator who had a mental health issue that wasn't dealt with properly. let me say before senator
stabenow and i talk any more about mental health, and i believe i'll repeat this again to be sure we know what we're talking about here. people with mental health conditions are not dangerous. mental health is a health issue, and we ought to treat it as a health issue. but in rare and tragic occasions, people with a mental health issue undealt with can become dangerous, and that's what we've seen in this and other similar circumstances. and so one of the responses is always, well, we need to have a better mental health delivery system, and that's true. but we should realize that according to the national institutes of health, for at least a decade now they have estimated that at least one in five americans has a diagnosable and almost always treatable mental health or behavioral health issue. and, frankly, the pandemic made that even greater.
june 2020 survey by the centers for disease control and prevention found that 41% of adults in the united states said they had had at least one symptom of a mental health condition in a recent time. and 11% said they had seriously considered suicide in the previous month. those are extraordinary numbers, but even if they were -- half of those numbers were correct, you see the size of the problem we have and the importance of dealing with that problem. of course we had even more alarming numbers with children and young adults during that. lockdowns, months of virtual learning, time away from their friends. i'd argue too much time on screens, the effect of the pandemic on close family members had a staggering toll on the country. children's hospital saw mental health emergencies among 5 to
17-year olds increase by 14% in the first half of 2021 compared to 2019 and a 45% increase in self-injury and suicide for children in that age group. pediatric hospital needs, pediatric mental health care needs are greater than they've ever been. we need to be sure that everyone who has a mental health crisis or has an ongoing mental health problem has the help that they need when they need it. the bipartisan legislation we're debating today expands access to high-quality henlt and behavioral -- mental health and behavioral health through what senator stabenow and i will point out we believe to be a you truly proven model of community-based care. the excellence in mental health program, a program that we brought to the floor in 2013 and
then got passed, signed into law in 2014, at the time senator stabenow mentioned that that bill marked the most significant expansion of community mental health and addiction services in decades. when we -- when we passed this -- pass this bill, it will be even more dramatic in its long-term impact. we worked on these issues in pilot states. we worked on these issues together that brought project in individual states that wasn't part of that eight state and eventually nine-state pilot. so today we're able to come with five years of history in this program, a reimbursement model that matters and results that we think makes a difference. i'm glad to be here with my good friend from michigan, and we're going to try to do this together for the next few minutes of what
will happen because of a critical piece of this community safety bill that is in so many ways a mental health and mental health delivery bill that we're going to see expanded in the country in unique ways. senator stabenow, i'd like to turn it to you for a few minutes and then i have a few things i would like to say. ms. stabenow: thank you, senator blunt. i have to say this has been a wonderful partnership and wonderful journey now for almost ten years since we originally started about funding health care above the neck as well as health care blow the neck -- below the neck in health care and we have so many wonderful community centers. we're not the only ones that have been working for almost ten years.
our wonderful staff, alex graph on my staff who has been working on this for eight of those years and katelyn wilson on your staff who was amazing and i understand recently stolen by senator cornyn. so many people worked with us that we've been grateful to, including the main authors and the folks that have put this bill together, like senator cornyn, who has been such a strong supporter of what has become an evidence-based quality initiative. we don't have to make something up. when folks say what do you want to do about mental health care? we have a model now. and senator sinema and murphy and senator tillis, so many people have been supportive of this as well. i want to take us back for just a moment. when we came back to the floor,
senator blunt, when you mentioned 2018, we came to the floor to mark the 50th anniversary of president kennedy signing the community mental health act. that was the last bill he ever signed before himself being shot. and part of that was to stop housing people hospitals, just locking people in hospitals and create more quality care in the community. shut the hospitals, open up services in the community. and as you have said so many times, half of that happened. the hospitals were closed, but we didn't provide the quality and the funding -- permanent funding for the community care. that was 1963. we're doing it now in this bill. that's what we are doing in this bill is completing what was promised in a national bill signed in 1963. so we know, again, that one out
of five people in our country -- and this is before covid -- will have a mental illness in their lifetime. so many leading cause of death -- again, prior to covid for people under age 50 is a drug overdose, opioid overdose, and the most likely cause of suicide is -- are guns. in this bill, if a family member, if those around someone feel that they are a danger to themselves and someone else and should not have access to a gun, they can go through a legal process to have that happen so that that person is not using a gun to commit suicide or
suicide-homicide through a mass shooting. but what is so significant about this is that we know that across this country, certainly across michigan, i know in missouri, we have so many people -- i mean there are millions of people today that want to be able to get help for mental health or addiction as part of the health care system. and we want them to do that. we don't want them to be a stigma. there used to be a stigma. people would whisper, he's got cancer and now we openly talk about that. we have wonderful programs and we get treatment and there's no stigma related to that. it's very challenging, but there's no stigma. we want that for mental illness, for behavioral health. this isn't about saying every person with a mental illness is dangerous at all -- at all. this is about saying we want everyone to get the help they need and in that situation, that
rare situation where somebody doesn't get help and then takes those next steps and is unstable and dangerous, we certainly want to address protecting themselves, their family, the school, the neighborhood, the community and that's what the gun safety provisions of this are all about. let me just say one other thing and turn it back to senator blunt. we now have between the number of demonstration states we've had now for a number of years, we also have 435 clinics, many of them funded through what we developed as start-up grants, so they could get started and be able to show what a difference it made. but i think we were both pretty blown away when we saw the difference it made, when we saw the original numbers from health and human services, the studies that were done, both in democratic and in republican
administrations, reinforcing that. the fact that right now, if you have a 24-hour psychiatric crisis services center, which is part of this, these clinics, people aren't going to jail. 60% fewer people going to jail because they're getting the help they need, which is why law enforcement so strongly supports this. or what's been happening is people go to the emergency room instead because there's no place. our jails, our emergency rooms have become de facto mental health treatment centers because there was no place else. 41% reduction in homelessness with comprehensive care in the community, and that is what's in this bill. and it really is transformative, wouldn't you say, senator blunt? mr. blunt: yes, and i think the point you are making here are, these are -- we now have five years of evidence in several states, multiple years in other states, so this isn't just assuming what will happen, but
looking at what we've carefully tried to keep track of what does happen. and as you pointed out, that de facto mental health delivery system of the emergencies and police, nobody was well served by that. certainly the police weren't well served, the emergency rooms weren't well served and seeing those numbers go down dramatically of people having to go to the emergency room for mental health services are being kept -- or being kept in jail overnight or longer than overnight for mental health services, nobody benefits from that system. we're seeing real numbers where the people who work at the emergency room and the people who work in the police department are among the biggest supporters of this system when it gets in place. and also the whole idea of crisis intervention, there are opportunities in this law for that to happen, and any of the
new structures, whether that's drug court or veterans court or other places you would go to get the help that somebody needs when it's needed, there would also be due process involved to anything that's added to this bill that's added to the system. due process, when people have a right, when there's an emergency moment, obviously you have to deal with it as an emergency moment, but people then have a right to have their day in court as well if they are not part of that crisis intervention moment of seeing that happen. and so that's important. but the -- you know, in missouri 150,000 people are now part of this excellence in mental health effort. that's about a 40% increase on what some of the same facilities were doing before, but now they do it with more certainty that they're going to get their cost
reimbursed. they do it with the right kind of staff, 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. they have to be available. and the new states that enter the program will go through that same type of competition to be among the ten states every two years that could enter the program and get us to all 50 states in that program and have the kind of staff they need, the kind of accessibility they need. i think originally in our bill, which was eight years ago now, 2014, 24 states applied to be one of the first eight states in the pilot program. 19 of them went through the whole process and eight states were selected. but in the other states, there are now 30 states that have big units that were able to qualify
as individual demonstration grant units to show what they could do and we really, i think, both believe that those units in those states will become both the models and the incentive to bring the whole state into the program now that that's possible. and seeing what we're seeing with results, and also results in the nonmental health side. one of the unique things that i think this pilot did was part of the pilot was to see what happens of the other health care issues that people have who have mental health concerns. and what's happened is they've seen those costs go dramatically down. if you've got a behavioral health problem that's being dealt with, you're much more likely to show up to your doctor's appointment, you're much more likely to show up for dialysis, and you are much more likely to show up with your
mental health situation or your other mental health situations, so those costs go down. and even in the immediate health care spare, mr. president, we're seeing that states believe they're saving money in the immediate space of health care. there's nevada been any question that -- there's never been any question that in the long run you'd be saving money if you treat mental health like you treat all other health, there's never been any question whether it's the prison system or mental health, what we've shown in these early states is that even in the immediate health care space, you save as much money or virtually as much money or even more money on the other health costs for the one in five adult americans and now big numbers among younger americans that have a mental health problem, you save as much space with their other mental health problems and one naive americans
are going to have other health problems, a pretty big segment of our society. i think, senator stabenow, seeing what happened there is persuasive to states as they're beginning to think about making this part of their permanent program when these pilot projects are over. ms. stabenow: senator blunt, as we know, in the end this is all about people. and i think what's been most exciting for me and i know for my friend and partner is that people's lives are changing, opportunities for them are changing, and when we look at this legislation broadly, it is about saving lives, whether it's through issues related to gun safety, whether it's through getting the help you need, mental health and addictions services health, whether it's make sure that our schools are available and it's all about creating safety and a better quality of life. i think it's also exciting, you
know, we're talking about community behavioral health clinics that there are broader investments on mental health as well. there's a strengthening of the suicide hotline which is so connected to what we've been talking about today. telehealth, we know during the pandemic how critically important that was for mental health services and so on and that's strengthened. there's about a billion dollars worth of investments in some ways in our schools, school health clinics and other opportunities. what i think is exciting is that we're not only supporting schools and teachers and -- in all of these areas that are so important, but we're making sure that when they find a child that needs help, there's somewhere to go. because when you're talking about really investing in transformative, certified community behavioral health clinics, that means there's a service in the community.
so if a parent or if a teacher or the principal or the coach or somebody is saying this young person needs some help, they won't only be trained to identify they need help, they'll actually be able to get them help because there will be sses available. so i think that's the whole point of all of this. i would also finally say when we talk about funding health care, traditionally services that be funded by grants that stop and start. you may want your child to get help, but the grant that was doing that went away. or you may suddenly is decide that you with aens to deal with your own -- you want to deal with your a decision. it's so hard. and you reach out and the services aren't there anymore. and so this is about funding this as health care, through the health care system. so it doesn't stop and start. it becomes a way of looking at
health care -- above the neck, the same as health care below the neck. that's why we call it transformative. it's such an important commitment. i'm so proud of everyone here that has been so wonderfully supportive andenthusiastic about taking this big step. this is an area of this bill that's a huge step that will really save lives and transform communities, i think. mr. blunt: just one final thought, a mr. president. we want to be sure that we're encouraging people to get the health care they need. you know, if this system works like it should work, you really never know what you're doing in terms of what -- how you've changed people's lives in the future or the lives of people they might impact. you know, we don't want to create any stigma here that a resilient, broad-based mental health system that's part of this bill means that you should be hesitant to seek mental
health help. you know, you've got a mental health problem, you're more likely to be the victim after crime than you are the perpetrator of a crime. but if those problems get out of control, often suicidal thoughts first before you have homicidal thoughts. but if the system works the way it should, who knows what good you've done by just letting people go through their normal lives as contributing citizens with treating their mental health and talking about their mental health, as senator stabenow said, being able to talk about somebody in your family that has a mental health challenge -- mental health challenge as readily as talk about somebody in your family that has a cancer fiscal or a dialysis trip that they have to make multiple times a week to go somewhere or medicine that they take for something else and talking about this in the context of the good it does and making our society safer should in no way be interpreted to mean
that people with a mental health concern are unsafe. but if you don't deal with that problem in the right way at the right time, it has the potential to be unsafe. most of these shootings we've seen, the shooter goes into that shooting clearly anticipating that they will not come out of that shooting alive either. so it's suicide, it's homicide, it's things that if you dealt with that problem a decade earlier and maybe some cases the specific problem even a week earlier, if you dealt with it a decade earlier, when people begin to say, we need to get you some help, just like if your hearing or eyesight is going bad, people say, let's get an appointment and see what we can do. appeared anybody can be seen at has to -- and anybody can be seen at these certified behavioral health centers. anybody can be seen if if you're covered by -- it's very much based on the qualified center
health model. if you have insurance that covers this, you can go there. if you have a government program that covers it you can go there. if you need to pay cash, you can go there on a very affordable sliding scale, but people are seen and nobody in our state at least -- and i think this would be the case in all nine of the pilot states -- nobody who needs to be seen that day is not seen that day. nobody who needs to be seen that day is not seen that day. and nobody who needs to be seen isn't seen pretty quickly, as you have time to schedule that appointment. it changes people's lives. it changes communities. it changes the way we talk about mental health. and you know we were -- as senator stabenow said on the floor, the last 50 years after president kennedy signed his last bill into law, now here we are almost 60 years avenue that bill was signed into law -- after that bill was signed into
law taking what would be so far the biggest step toward accomplishing what that community mental health act envisioned. and senator stabenow, i'll turn to you for any final comments for both of us. ms. stabenow:i want to say thank you to my friend and partner. i real will i do mean friend and partner. and senator blunt, mr. president, thinks he's retiring. i'm not going to let him. we have really done so much important work together and i'm going to miss him dearly. i'm really seriously figuring out a strategy where we're not going to let you leave the building. so -- but i'm very grateful and again for him for all of the great staff work, and it's at day to feel good about the ability to come together and get something done. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor.
mr. cardin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: mr. president, first while senator blunt and senator stabenow are still on the floor, i want to thank both of them for their extraordinary leadership on this mental health issue. i am so pleased that the bipartisan safer communities act includes a robust provisions to deal with community mental health. i work with senator stabenow on the senate finance committee. i know exactly her passion for this issue. we have put together bipartisan working groups that are dealing with a lot of the different issues in regards to mental health. a lot of that has to do with pediatric mental health, which is very much engaged in the bill that we have before us today. and a lot of those provisions have been incorporated into the legislation before us. but what you've done on these certified beverly health centers to be able to -- behavioral health centers to be able have
the pilot programs, to be able to expand them to more communities, to have a 24/7 facility that's available that's included in this legislation, that's going to make a real difference in people's lives. i just really want to thank both of you for your tremendous contributions on this issue. senator stabenow, i want you to agree -- through the chair, i agree with you with regards to senator blunt. we're going to miss his personal presence here on the united states senate floor, but we know we'll be able to continue having his friendship and council on so much issues -- counsel on so much issues that have affected us. if my friend from kentucky a how me just a few more minutes, i'd like to make a couple comments about the underlying bill. i know that he is scheduled to speak -- if you like, i would -- after the horrific shootings in uvalde where innocent children were murdered, inaction was not an option. congress had to do something
substantive to help stem the epidemic of gun violence. for this reasons, for all the victims of gun violence that may not make the headlines every day, i was proud to vote today in favor of the bipartisan communities safer act african american partisan senate is taking an important step forward to break the decades decade-lon. it strengthens protection for victims of domestic violence by adding domestic violence abusers to background check. it creates funding for states to implement red flag laws which help to keep weapons out of the hands a of dangerous individuals who should not have being a seas to a firearm. it cracks down on criminals who try to evade licensing requirements and makes clear which gun sellers need to register, conduct background checks can and keep appropriate records. it strengthens the background check process for those under 21
seeking to buy firearms by ensuring that officials have access to juvenile mental health records. the legislation also provides much-needed mental health resources by providing funding to improve and expand access to mental health. it includes telehealth services for students with medicaid an chip. increasing resorrieses for mental health resources are critical but it is important that we not conflate mental illness and gun violence. i heard senator blunt talk about that. not every instance of gun violence is connected to mental illness. to that end, the covid-19 has made it abun did not lay clearwater that our children need additional mental health resorrieses. we must also slug increase the pipeline of individuals willing to serve in those school-based
mental health service positions. this legislation addresses that challenge head-on. it provides supplemental funding to both train new student school-based mental health providers and provide students with the specific mental health services they require. while not able to meet the needs of every school currently without counselors or mental health professionals, this bill will make significant strides to ensure that a significantly greater percentage of students have being a seas to mental health services. the legislation we pass in the senate today will save lives and help keep our communities safer. but there are many more reasonable steps we can and should take consistent with the second amendment rights of law-abiding citizens. i will continue to strongly support the establishment of universal background checks for all gun purchases. the banning of assault rivals and magazine clips and raise egg the minimum age to 21 in absence of a ban. the senate should also act quickly to confirm the nomination of steven dettelbach
to be the director of. the agency has not been a confirmed director since 2018. to that end, mr. president, let me just point out that i am a cosponsor of the background check expansion act which would require checks for all gun sales including those unlicensed sellers, the assault weapons ban act which would ban the sale, manufacturing, transportation of assault rivals, elimination of the charleston loophole. the keep america safe act which prospects the importation, sale, manufacturing, transfer or possession of magazines that hold more than ten rounds of ammunition. the bipartisan safer communities act which we request and will pass will save lives but there's still more work that we should
do to keep our students and the communities safe. with that, mr. president, i would yield the floor. mr. paul: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from kentucky. mr. paul: john miltonmore writes, red flag laws don't involve pre-cogs seeing into the future. yet, like pre-crime, they are designed to prevent a crime before it happens. even if it means violating civil rights in the process. miltonmore asked several questions. can people who are flagged as threats be involuntarily committed? are they appointed legal counsel? will a federal database be established to track flagged citizens? these are questions that civil libertarians should somebody asking, especially since many people who are red flagged will
have committed no crime. there will simply be, like phillip dismander son, people who might commit or might be a danger to someone. miltamore reminds us that the idea did not original flate with the minority report. in 1984 orwell writes that big brother's endless purges, arrests, tortures, imprisonments, and vaporizations are not the result of people breaking laws for there are no laws in oceana. these punishments are merely the wiping out of persons who perhaps might commit a crime at some time in the future. red flag laws are well-intentioned. everyone is searching for a way to prevent the sense many massacres of school mass shootings. i think accessing the violent criminal records of juveniles is a reasonable way to try to prevent these killings. though really most states have
already laws on the books that criminalize threats of violence. the problem isn't a lack of laws to stop these killers, it's a lack of persistent application of existing laws. the shooters at parkland and buffalo both committed criminal threats in advantages of their killing sprees, and yet law enforcement did not vigilantly prosecute them. instead of seeking to enforce existing laws, states have one after another instituted red flag laws to use gun confiscation orders to try to predict crime in advance. the problem comes in trying to create such laws and still protect the constitutional right to bear arms for the innocent. basic aspects of the constitution should not be abandoned, such as the right to confront your accuser. some red flag laws allow anonymous accusers to initiate a gun confiscation order.
that's not just and that's not constitutional. we should not abandon the right to legal counsel, the right to confront the evidence. many red state laws allow gun confiscation orders without the defendant even knowing they have been accused of evening. many state red flag laws allow guns to be confiscated without hearing evidence from both sides. jacob suliman reason writes of colorado's red flag law that the standard of proof for the initial gun confiscation order when the accused does not have an opportunity to respond, see for the initial order the accused is not present or doesn't need to be present, and the evidence comes from one side. but the standard that is used is called the preponderance of the evidence, meaning the standard used that the accused is more likely than not to pose a significant risk. historically, gun rights were
only removed when the defendant was convicted of a crime using a constitutional standard of beyond a reasonable doubt. as phillip mulimore writes, because criminal doubt has been established is mucht apply to judicial proceedings in which an individual who has not even been charged with a crime can be stripped of a constitutional right. nevertheless, red flag laws often rely on a preponderance of the evidence, eratically diminished standard of proof, this above all other injuries, according to phillip muliver is due process. it offends our system of liberty and a fair trial. colorado's red flag laws as well as many other states confiscates guns using a less than constitutional standard. using a preponderance of evidence standard, which is a
standard lower than the constitution uses for criminal cases, it allows a gun confiscation order, when a judge decides that it's a better than 50-50 chance of a person being a significant risk. think about that. it's a little better than 50-50 that the person who has come before me, whom i've heard evidence only from the person who doesn't like that person is 50-50, maybe 51-49, but i'm going to take away a constitutional right. whereas in a court proceeding, where you're convicted of a crime, where you lose gun rights because of a felony, the standard is beyond a reasonable doubt. in practice, the other problem with the red flag laws is that judges will be inclined to err on the side of caution. when the only evidence comes from someone who believes the respondent poses a threat, judges will rarely, if ever, decline to issue a temporary gun confiscation order. one might ask, if our laws
should allow the abridgement of a constitutional right when only one side of the evidence is presented. imagine if the proceeding is a complaint filed by an unhappy spouse in the midst of a divorce. most cases of divorce involve one side cheating, or at least one side lying. it's exceedingly difficult to ascertain the truth in a dworgs proceeding even when -- divorce proceeding even when both sides are heard. one can just imagine what mischief might howrk -- occur if divorce proceedings only allowed testimony from one side. if you think red flag laws will be easy to adjudicate, imagine a case involving johnny depp and amber heard. as sulem points out, there is from the judge's point of view the possible down side of rejecting a petition, a serious down side. the death of a respondent or someone else will weigh heavily
on the judge's mind while the temporary deprivation of a subject's constitutional rights will seem trivial by comparison. the presumption will be if the temporary order, where you only heard evidence from one side was granted that the judge is taking a real risk by overturning or not granting the permanent order when evidence is actually heard on both sides. so you begin with the temporary order. it's ex parte. you don't have legal counsel. only evidence is heard from one side, but then you get to the next stage and you say the person gets justice later, they're going to get a lawyer. there will be a proceeding. there will be due process at a later date. and yet the cards are stacked because think of the perspective of the judge. think of the predicament of the judge. he now has before him an emergency order that says this person is a dangerous person. for him or her to rule otherwise, they're taking a big risk because the first judge or
the first ruling said this person is dangerous. now the judge has to say and has to somehow attest and prove and live with themselves that he's now attesting this person is not a danger. but the first hearing was only one side of the evidence. the first hearing may have been an aggrieved party in a divorce. it may have been an unhappy person who doesn't like you at work. it may have been someone who doesn't like your political views and is reading online and says that so and so had a picture of a gun or that so and so made some sort of violent innuendo. read twitter and find out how much of that's going on. there is a danger to this. it's not that anyone is down playing the sad, awful nature of these massacres and we don't want to stop them, but we should do it in a fashion consistent with the constitution with the red flag law, the initial hearing has evidence only from those who accuse you of something. that cannot be justice. the bedrock aspect of justice in
our country is you get legal counsel, that there's a debate back and forth. go to family court. and you think some of this won't originate from family court? you think there's not going to be an angry spouse who says my husband cheated on me, my husband is a hunter, i'm going to accuse him of something so i can get his guns taken away from him. you have to hear both sides. how could you only hear from the angry spouse? in divorce we don't hear from one side. how could we have a hearing where you take away an amendment or take away a constitutional right from the bill of rights without hearing evidence on both sides? and you say we'll hear it at a second hearing 14 days later. the problem with the second hearing is you now have a judge who feels the incumbent pressure of not changing an initial ruling, of feeling what we've already decided this person is a threat and now i have to take the responsibility of guaranteeing they're not a threat. if you had the jurisprudence, if you had the due process in the first hearing, then you
wouldn't have to worry so much about it being fair in the second hearing. if you have time to go before a judge, i see no reason why you don't have time to have your attorney present. they have time enough to have a hearing. they have time enough to hear the person accusing you. shouldn't they have time enough to have someone defending you? in colorado, a temporary gun confiscation order lasts for about 14 days, at which point the judge has to schedule a hearing where the accused finally has a chance to challenge the claims. at this second proceeding, the legal standard is a little greater, at least in colorado. it goes from preponderance, or 50-50, slightly better than 50-50. it goes from a standard of that to a standard that is clear and convincing evidence. under colorado's red flag law, the first gun confiscation order needs to show imminent risk. but when you get to the second
order, interestingly, the order that's going to last a year, you don't have to prove that the person is an imminent risk. all you have to say is that they might be a risk at some point in time. so we've lost sort of the imminence to it. in 14 days the imminence is gone and now we have a proceeding where we're going to hear evidence on both sides, and you can have counsel. not only guaranteed counsel but you at least can have a lawyer present. in order to remove a gun confiscation order, though, and recover one's second amendment rights, the burden, though, is now placed on the accused. so there's something that's very, very common. it's throughout all of our jurisprudence that you're innocent until proven guilty. the burden is on the government. but now once you've gone through one of these gun restraining orders, in order to get your rights back, you have to prove that you're not a risk. the burden is now on the accused to prove that either you're sane or that you are not a risk.
it's proving a negative. if you never were a risk how do you prove that you're no longer a risk? how do you prove you're the negative of something? how do you prove you're not a risk? this turns typical jurisprudence on its head. instead of innocent until proven guilty, the burden is for the accused to prove his or her innocence. this is the opposite of what our jurisprudence system was founded upon. sulem writes if a judge issues a gun confiscation order, it lasts for 364 days unless the subject seeks early termination and shows by clear and convincing evidence that he or she does not pose a significant risk. rhode island's red flag law is similar, remaining in effect for about a year before the accused can challenge it. for the accused to restore his second amendment rights, once again the burden is on the accused to prove that they are innocent. the aclu of rhode island asks an
important question. how does one prove this negative? and how does one do it with such a high burden of proof? the aclu concludes that in ending a gun confiscation order, the burden should be on the government to prove by clear and convincing evidence that should, that it should remain in effect not on the accused to halt the continued in position. this is the aclu of rhode island saying the burden should be on the government the same way the burden is traditionally in any other court proceeding in our country. you don't have to prove you're innocent. the government must prove you are guilty. if the government is going to take away your second amendment right, shouldn't the government have to prove that you're a threat or that you're guilty of something? eagle county sheriff james van beak notes that when the subject of a gun confiscation order tries to have it terminated,
the burden of proof is not on the government as it is in every other legal case. but instead is placed on the accused to prove that the accusations are wrong. sheriff van beek explains that proving one's sanity could be very difficult as it is highly subjective. but proof of one's sanity is not enough to remove a gun confiscation order since the accused can be a threat, even if determined to be sane. van beek also worries if a person is truly in a mental crisis this approach will create greater stress possibly resulting in a violent overreaction as their personal property has been taken without a crime ever being committed. in maryland, this is precisely what happened when police attempted to serve a gun confiscation order. there was a fight ensued, the person was startled by it. he never heard there was a problem. they showed up at his house and he ended up dying in the ensuing altercation. when police seize guns from the
subject of a gun confiscation order, sheriff van beek notes there is no warning or ability to defend themselves against the charges. in addition, if troubled individuals understand that seeking care exposes them to the risk of a gun confiscation order, some may be inclined to avoid psychiatric help. with the large universe of people who can initiate a gun confiscation complaint, from ex-girlfriends to former roommates, to grandparents, to second cousins, sulem concludes that the opportunities for malice or honors error are multiplied. in some ways the process really is biased throughout because of the risk aversion on the part of the judge. once a gun confiscation order is issued and the accused has been labeled a threat, many judges will simply not want the responsibility of judging otherwise because of the deadly
consequences if they are wrong. as sule me concludes, given that bias the indeterm nancy of risk, it seems inevitable that the vast majority of people who lose their constitutional rights under this sort of law will in actuality pose no real threat to themselves or others. phillip mulivor, writing at p.j. media of the constitutional deficiencies of gun confiscation orders points this out, points out another deficiency. he says the void for -- the void for vagueness doctrine, a cornerstone of american jurisprudence, requires laws to be written in a marine that does not encourage -- in a manner that does not encourage arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement. he goes on to say by forcing a judge to predict a person's future criminalistic behavior in the absence of any violation of
law, red flag statutes descend to the most disreputable level of arbitrary and discriminatory legislation. mullivor concludes that due process is always denied when a law fails to comport with the vagueness doctrine's imperative for clear and consistent standards. fortunately the vagueness doctrine -- this is also his point. fortunately the vagueness doctrine is most likely to prevail when an am big p with us law threatens a constitutional right such as free speech or the right to keep and bear arms. the aclu of rhode island has written perhaps one of the best reasoned critiques of red flag laws. the aclu of rhode island writes we are deeply concerned about the red flag law's breadth, it's impact on civil liberties and the precedent it sets for the use of coercive measures
against individuals not because they are alleged to have committed a crime, but because somebody believes they might someday commit one. the aclu of rhode island writes that the court order authorized by this legislation would be issued without any indication that the person possesses an imminent threat to others. the order would be issued without any evidence that the person committed or threatened to commit an act of violence with the firearm. the aclu continues, the standard issuing order is so broad it could continually be used by people who engage in overblown political rhetoric on social media. realize what we're talking about here. we're talking about red flag laws used against people for overblown political rhetoric, if you've been on social media,
that's 90% of what's on social media. without presence of counsel -- without the presence of counsel, individuals who have no intent to commit violent crimes could unwittingly incriminate themselves of lesser offenses. if they're brought in without a lawyer, they can be questioned as to other things that could possibly be illegal. the heart of the legislation, rhode island's gun confication -- confication orders, is on the petitioner, the accuser and the judges about the individual's risk of possible violence. mullivor writes, the psychiatry and the medical sciences have not succeeded in this realm and there's no bases to believe courts will do any better. he concludes the potential impact on individuals subject to these gun confiscation orders involves much more than a long-term seizure of lawfully
owned firearms. this is, again, from the rhode island aclu, without a right to appointed counsel, responsibility enters -- respondents will have to take a mental health evaluation. even before a court order has been used against them. face contempt proceedings and prison by failing to abide by any part of the order and unwittingly place themselves in danger. so the rhode island law, the rhode island red flag law actually requires that people be notified that you are a troisk them if they are a potential victim before the order is issued. so we're not talking just about the lack of due process in the sense that you don't have a lawyer there. you may not have been accused of a crime or informed that you might be potentially going to commit a crime, but also in advance of the judge, even
making the judgment, the police are told if this accusation is being made, they must inform people. so you have to imagine the innocent. we can all imagine guilty. we say lock them up, take away their guns. but imagine the innocent. imagine someone who's innocent and he's in a devos proceeding -- divorce proceeding and his angry spouse calls up and says, he's a threat, they go and even before the judge makes the court order, the judgen't police say we -- judge and the police say we must inform those he might be a threat to. what if that involves his business place? are we going to inform his voice? are we going to call his friends and all of the schools in the area? what if you're innocent? you haven't even heard the evidence only coming from one side. what are they are innocent? can you imagine a person's entire life being ruined? how will he get employment again? do you think he'll be fired if
his boss is called by the police we have a gun order against this guy because he might be a threat, he might be a threat to his wife, he might be a threat to schools. but we're going to do this and we're letting you know so we can be aware. who wants that person to be -- if there was a gun confiscation order in their background, who wants to ever order this person. we can all imagine the terrible, horrible murdering psychopaths that have committed these mass massacres and -- these massacres and how we want to prevent the killings, you have to imagine if we have the sweeping laws, what are the potential of the laws? you have to imagine what it would be like of an innocent person accused of something in a divorce proceeding and it's based on malice and lies and deceit and anger over a broken
marriage. it can and will happen. it happens in family court every day. the difference between dwrors and a gun -- divorce and a gun confiscation order, you hear both sides, in a gun confiscation order, the initial order to take away the guns in almost every red state law involves only the judge and the accuser. nobody believes that to be justice. it's never been justice. i mean, when people point out the injustice of legal systems, they go back to, you know, venice and they point out the lion's mouth and you could put your complaint in the mouth and it was anonymous and make people walk the bridge to a prisoner of death. we point that out as the height of injustice. anonymous accusations, hearing only one side. there are some argue that the bedrock of jurisprudence is the
adversarial process of the legal system, you get a lawyer, the other side gets a lawyer and you know what? we go one step further in our system. government has a lawyer, you have a lawyer. but you know what? the presumption is that you are innocent. we start out with the presumption of the individual being innocent and we add the hurdle to the government, the burden of proof that they must prove your guilt and in the constitution, we say for a criminal offense, we must prove the guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. and, yet, we're talking about taking away fundamental constitutional rights with only hearing the evidence from one side and the standard would be a preponderance of the evidence. if it's a preponderance and we think the person could be a threat. we only from the estranged spouse or from the person who is
angry at him from work or someone from the opposite political persuasions that read his writings on the internet. we can all see the mischief for this. i wish in the middle of this, in the middle of these tragedies that we would think what we could do. new york already has the red flag laws. new york's got lots of them and lots of gun control and yet the shooting happened in buffalo. but the kid in buffalo made a threat. it's a felony to make a threat to kill others. he could have been prosecuted. so i fear even with this law, if we don't pay attention to the laws we already have, if we don't persist in -- and persevere in prosecuting these kids that show this danger -- they are committing crimes. why don't we prosecute them? why don't we use the laws on the book? but i would say there is a big risk today to encouraging across
the country jurisprudence where you don't have legal representation, where the adjudication is based on only one side and you get your day in court and everybody's get petrified -- everybody's petrified of reversing the decision. i want to be careful because i would not see a day where we reverse justice in our system such that people are guilty until proven innocent. the bedrock of american jurisprudence is innocent until proven guilty, until we can make red flag laws with innocent until proven guilty, we should reject them.
mr. brown: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. brown: thank you, mr. president. i -- i'd like to -- every once in a while i get the honor -- it doesn't happen often, but talking about a staff person hoos served -- who has served honorably and effectively and with kindness and for a long, long time in this body, and i was lucky enough to perhaps share the last third of his career working with him. but i want to stand and honor a
long-time member of the banking, housing, and urban affairs committee. the presiding officer is one of the new members on that committee and knows him, and knows collin mcginnis as he moves on to a well-earned retirement. he will spend time with his beloved wife blair. the first time he saw her at -- was his 95-year-old mother barb. collin mcginnis is a lifetime public servant. he spent 33 years working in congress, even when he briefly left this institution, he remained in service working for the orthodox relief service. to say the least, collin's career to all of us is unparl he'lled -- parallelled. he grew up in morris, minnesota, he went on to earn his master's
of divinity from yale university. we saw his values woven throughout his career. the presiding officer is a pastor and recognizes those values as well as anyone in this institution. his professional career began in service to his home state. he worked for jim oberstar and representative teri sable and the former professor senator paul wellstone. in each area he made a positive -- he served for senator wellstone at the time of senator wellstone's death. it was a catastrophic loss for minnesota and the country and for his staff it was a heartbreaking personal tragedy of collin took -- tragedy. coming inn -- collin took care
of his colleagues. he got them through an unimaginably difficult time. he was a rock for the office. he led with grace and composure while grieving a mentor he met while at carlton and later worked with for a decade. when i say grace and composure, i think of roomy the poet's line generosity and helping others be like a river and compassion and grace be like the sun and i think that collin fits those two lines in roomy's 700--year-old poem. in 2008, collin was the staff director of the senate banking, housing, and urban affairs committee under chris dodd. he led that committee during one of the most challenging times, one of the most financially difficult times. as always collin stepped up.
it was a scary time. the economy was in free fall. collin was the steady hand that senator dodd and the committee needed. he was trusted an invaluable advisor to chairman dodd and then when chairman dodd retired in 2010, from 2011 to 2014 with chairman johnson and when i took over after chairman johnson's retirement in 2015, collin has been with me on this committee and his incredible staff every since. -- ever since. for the last nine years collin served as the committee's policy director. when i first took over, i will never forget this peating. i was meeting with laura and so much -- beth and so much of the senior staff. people who i knew but people i didn't know intimately and people, frankly, that i'm sure were not so sure of my knowledge
and skills, mr. president. so i didn't know -- i didn't know any of that staff really well. i knew my own staff, but i had interactions with the committee staff as senator warnock understands, but i didn't feel like i knew them particularly bell at that point the. i -- well at that point. i knew they were public servant experts in their field and many worked for that committee for several years and i must admit i was not -- i was not -- i was not so sure of my own place as i spoke to the staff that day and thrond what they had to -- listened to what they had to say and what i could do with them. so i just remember that collin came up to me after that and was so kind and made such a difference talking to me and making me feel at home and giving me the confidence i needed to be able to do that job. so, for that, i will always thank him. collin, throughout his career,
he became known for his deep knowledge of international sanctions. he was the one everyone wanted to work with. sanctions have become one of our country's primary foreign policy tools over the last decade and collin was the expert. i think the expert throughout the congress in either party or house. of course that expertise has never been more revment than it has been -- relevant than it has been this year as we work to unite this body in support of the president's strong sanctions on russia. these wins are a small part of colin's lasting legacy on capitol hill. he had an impact, a positive impact with everyone with whom he worked. he could work effectively with pretty much everyone, republicans and democrats, through presidential administrations of both parties. he impressed all of us with that effectiveness, with dedication to his work. he worked towards big-picture
goals, from mental health parity to international ?aimption -- sanctions but never lost sight of the people we all served. those fortunate enough to work alongside colin describe him as someone who makes the hard things like flawless day in and day out, an impressive feed in this line of work. among staff -- and we smile about this. i don't know that his mother was an english teacher like mine but one of the things he and i have in common is the love of lamping. -- love of language. he referred to his work as toiling in the legislative vineyards, one of the examples that reflect his natural optimism. a voracious reader he made good use of access to the library of congress, often getting several books a elk woo. -- books a week. you can pick up and order a book and they will deliver it often the same day. he always had time for his
coworkers regardless of their position, from staff director to the interns. he carved out space for everyone to grow professionally and personally. he challenged all of us. he had an open door policy. his office was always tidy and decorated with pictures of friends and family. most days you could find a member of the staff sometimes banking, housing, often from other offices, sitting on his couch asking for advice and counsel. almost, figuratively if not literally lining up outside his office because they knew when you walked out after conversing with colin, a better person. colin always had wisdom to share. he commuted every day from baltimore for 24 years rain or shine. he came to work very early so most days he could catch the 5:00 p.m. train back to baltimore and sit down at the dinner table with his family. to clare and patrick, shah for
sharing -- thank you for sharing colin mcginnis with us. to the banking housing staff today, the banking, housing staff of a decade ago. his dedication to public service made a difference for so many and will continue to. people like colin, with his theology training, with his work ethic, with his kindness to others, he won't just be remembered. he will continue to have an impact on people because of the way he did his job, the way he treated people and especially the way he treated people that some people around here mistreat people that don't maybe have the fancy titles that some of the rest of us do. our country is a better place because of his service. each of us is better because of his leadership. on behalf of everyone in my office, on the committee and all those who have had the honor of working with him, we congratulate colin on his career. we wish him well in retirement. we thank him for his years and years of public service. mr. president, thank you.
radish out of the ground by hand. no machines, no tools. i learned how to pick radishes and parsley about three weeks ago when i received an invitation from the united farm workers and the u.f.w. foundation to spend a day working alongside them in california. i said countless times that day in and day out farm workers show up to some of the hardest jobs in america. and i've always believed that farm workers are essential, but not until that day did i appreciate the physical demands of long hours on one's knees under the sun. mr. president, many of the workers picking radishes are older than i am and have worked
in the fields for decades. they have labored through heat waves, through storms, wildfire smoke, and more. they have labored through a global health pandemic. and they are the backbone of our economy, helping keep food on our tables. and yet, the majority of farm workers don't have legal status to live and work in the united states of america. that includes those who i worked alongside picking radishes. people like efrin, who has worked on american farms more than 40 years. and patricia, who has raised her children here. now several of them told me that one of the hardest parts of being undocumented was being cut
off from their families in mexico or other countries. being denied the opportunity to see their mother or their father one last time before passing away, or to attend their funeral to pay their last respects. imagine that heartbreaking choice. never seeing your parents again because doing so means risking not being able to see your children ever again. that is the fate that we are forcing on countless undocumented farm workers who fill our grocery stores with fruit and vegetables. this is the choice that we exacerbate every time we push immigration reform off another month, another year, another
session of congress. and this is why we must pass legislation that creates a pathway to citizenship for farm workers. mr. president, did you know that when you pick radishes, you get paid by the number of crates that you fill? on the day that i worked the fields, it comes as no surprise that i picked at a slower rate than the highly skilled and experienced farm workers who depend on speed for their livelihood. laws across the country leave farm workers in a position of uncertainty that few other workers have to face. if you're a farm worker and you miss a day of work, there is no paid sick leave. if you're a farm worker and
you're injured on the job, you can't get disability insurance. and living and working while undocumented means worrying constantly about your status. so when the senate says immigration reform can wait, we are not seeing the people whose lives are at stake. you -- armando isabella. mr. president, as they pick radishes, these workers are not taking jobs from american citizens. i repeat, they are not taking the jobs of american citizens. in fact, the opposite is true. we don't have enough farm workers to meet the demand.
not just for radishes, but for countless other crops. as different produce comes into season, growers need skilled labor on tight timelines. corporate leaders, small business owners, and economists agree we need more immigrants with more protections, and the stakes for our economy are high. right now american families are paying higher prices not just at the gas pump, but at the grocery store. our labor shortage is contributing to higher inflation. over $1 trillion of america's g.d.p. is linked to agriculture. all across the nation we rely on immigrant farm he workers. in north carolina, agriculture is the top industry, aided by
tens of thousands of undocumented workers growing soybean, corn, and peanuts. in idaho, agriculture accounts for 17% of economic output, including a booming dairy industry. around 90% of idaho's dairy workers are foreign-born, and the vast majority undocumented. in texas, agriculture is worth more than $20 billion each year, more than 100,000 immigrant workers, mostly undocumented, are employed on texas' ranches, farms, and fields. i can go on and on, but i think the point is clear. this is truly a national issue. the majority of all farm workers lack legal status, and growers say that more help is needed.
congress can make a difference. we can do so by passing the laws that farm workers need and deserve. our country cannot afford to wait. that's why as my first bill i introduced the citizenship for essential workers act when i joined the senate last year. talk about workers who keep us healthy and safe and fed, the workers who we as a federal government have deemed essential, they deserve dignity. they deserve respect. and they have earned a pathway to citizenship. today i'm also proud to introduce the fairness for farm workers act. now this bill will support fair pay for agricultural workers under the fair labor standards
act. mr. president, in one day i had just a small dose of the physically demanding life of farm workers. still there's so much more that i could tell you about the kind, funny, generous individuals that i worked alongside that day. as we shared a lunch of home made tortillas, beans, chili, they told me about their hometowns that they miss, their favorite music, and their dreams for their children. and they had one more message that they asked me to deliver, they implored me to deliver to all of you, and that is that
you should come too. i was the first united states senator to accept an invitation to work in the fields. last week my friend and colleague, senator booker, became the second. i urge you, each and every member of the the senate to take this opportunity, take a day to work alongside the heroes who feed america. and then come back here, as i have, humbled and inspired to do our job. let's come together behind a solution so farm workers can finally live and work with dignity and security. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor.
the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. lee: mr. president, i rise to speak in opposition to the bill before us. all too often we very often applaud instinctively the concept of bipartisanship but fail to actually evaluate the policies underlying bipartisan legislation and the effect that our policies may have on law-abiding americans. bipartisan hispanic is a good thing. in fact, bipartisanship is an inevitability in any legislative body that contains multiple parties with significant representation.
it certainly is an indispensable feature of this legislative body, as it's virtually impossible to pass any legislation with only the rarest of exceptions arising at most once or twice a year, except nor bipartisanship. the question isn't whether to achieve bipartisanship or whether it's good but what policies are produced through the bipartisanship in question. don't get me wrong, in this polarized climate it's good when people of different political affiliations and different backgrounds representing different parts of our great country are able to come together and have productive conversations. these conversaziones occur with some -- these conversations occur with some regulatory. they occur more often than people would assume. it's also good when those conversations lead to legislation that's further
refined on the senate floor through robust debate and an amendment process, one that refines the legislation in question to make sure that all viewpoints have been taken into account. but that's tragically not what happened with this legislation. no one -- no one except a small gang of senators and a few favorite members of the news media -- no one was allowed to view the legislation until tuesday evening. less than an hour later, less than an hour after it had been released to the public and released to us, the senate was forced to vote on whether we should proceed to the legislation in question. immediately after that vote, the majority leader filled the amendment tree and filed a cloture motion to end debate on the bill, without a single
hearing held or a single amendment having been debated or considered or even offered. in fact, it couldn't be offered because prior to that time there was nothing to amend. and now, less than 48 hours after we received the text of this legislation for the very first time, the senate has voted to end debate, a debate that never really started. a debate that involved not a single amendment passed. no, not one single one. a debate in which there was not a single opportunity for members to offer improvements to the legislation. no, this small gang came together, materialized, it put together a bill, it released the bill, and all of a sudden we were expected to vote on it, up or down, yes or no, no changes, no questions asked. now, those of us who are not members of this particular gang
were told essentially, too bad. we don't want your input. your only option is to support this entire bill, warts and all, ambiguities and all, sakeness and all -- vagueness and all without any changes. or, on the other hand, you can oppose it and you'll be accused of savagely not wanting to protect chirp from school -- children from school shootings. that's not what our founding fathers envisioned for the united states senate. i.t. not how they imagined it work. it's also not how it worked for hundreds of years. for more than two centuries the united states senate functioned in a way that had as its distinguishing characteristic those procedures that earned it the title of being the world's greatest deliberative body. chief among those features was the willingness and the ability
of each member to offer up improvements in the form of amendments and have those amendments considered, debated, discussed, and ultimately voted upon. but, unfortunately, this is how the senate has been run over the last few congresses. sadly, we've seen some of us under democratic and republican leadership alike. this isn't just bad news for the? the. it's especially bad news for the american people who deserve better from an entity that still calls itself the world's greatest deliberative body. it's not without notice in a of that this has become a problem. it's not without notice that we've deviated from this. and the thing is, when we deviate from our own procedure and our own processes, the substance shows, the inadequacies of the substance are the natural, foreseeable
result. they are the inevitable product of a defiant refusal to abide by our most time-honored procedures, rules, and customs. so in this case, the substantive problems with this bill are pretty significant. restrictions that it imposes on the second amendment rights of law-abiding americans are significant, and those impositions come about in such a way that it burdens the american people while doing little or nothing to address actual gun violence committed by prohibitive persons in many of our largest cities. now, you'd you this that a bill -- you'd think that a bill that purports to be able to keep kids safe in school would at least have some funding for school security measures or school resource officers. but if you thought that, you'd
be wrong. well, i'm very -- while i'm very skeptical of federal intervention in education, if congress is going to provide billions of dollars of mental health funding to schools and claim to keep kids safe, we should at least allow states to use some of their funding for security measures like reinforced doors, school resource officers, or training programs for teachers who are allowed to concealed carry, if they choose. this bill provides federal grant funding for state red flag laws without sufficient due process protections. this is a trick, a trick o -- a trick often used by congress, increasingly so of late. congress does this sometimes when it has no constitutional authority and sometimes when it lacks political will. instead of passing the federal
law at issue, the federal law that it wishes it could pass, congress prescribes the states with money to pass the laws that congress wants, that congress wishes congress could pass but for whatever can't or won't. this allows members of congress to go to their home states and take credit for doing, quote-unquote, something, even if that something does nothing to address the problem. that impulse to do something has been noticed, it's been noticed by professor robert lighter of george mason university and the antonin scalia law school. he penned and op-ed in today's copy of the "wall street journal." and in that op-ed, he begins with the following words --
when mass shootings such as uvalde happen, a rallying cry emerges for congress to do something, anything, to prevent such tragedies in the future. on tuesday, senators introduced the bipartisan safer communities act. their effort to do something. but when your sole rallying cry is to do something, the thing you do may be worse than the status quo. the bipartisan safer communities act is a terrible bill and in its current form, it all to be ute to be defeated by a 0 bipartisan coalition of congress. close quote. the professor then goes on to explain why opposition to this legislation ought to be coming from the left and from the right. he explains in great detail why democrats and republicans, liberals and the conservatives alike sometimes for civil reasons, sometimes for different
reasons, should be outraged, should be upset by this legislation. it offends people at every end of the political spectrum. i'll go more into some of those details in a moment from professor lider. but, look, when the government seeks to deprive a law-abiding american citizen of a constitutional right, we've got protections in place. and those protections can be found among other provisions of the constitution, they can be found in the fourth and fifth amendments. in the fourth and fifth -- i'm sorry, the fifth and 14th amendments to the constitution. and both provisions, you've got a due process clause, in both the fifth and 14th amendment, it says that a person can't be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of
law. what does due process mean? well, due process means the right to be heard, and you can't have a deprivation of life, liberty, or property without due process. the word "without" has been interpreted and fairly does mean before. you have to have due process before they take it away from you. it means meaningful review at a meaningful time. it doesn't, it can't mean they can cake h. -- they can take away life, liberty, or property afterwards. it doesn't mean that they can thereafter demand that the person from whom they took it return to litigate his or her right to exercise that thing that was taken. red flag laws enacted in states thus far get this exactly
backwards. confiscation first, due process later. that's not how due process works. that's not what due process is. you can call that process, but it's not due process, not for these purposes. it doesn't work. the confiscation before notice a understand a hearing is this -- and a hearing is is this model, this confiscation before notice and hearing model of red flag laws raises concerns, raises concerns of civil asset forfeiture when a pattern is forced to forfeit their firearm pursuant to a civil order without a hearing. this legislation places overly broad and undefined restrictions on second amendment rights. the second amendment rights of law-abiding american citizens. creating the risk that false allegations could and inevitably would lead to the deprivation of a constitutional right with