tv U.S. Senate Sen. Heinrich on Gun Bill CSPAN June 24, 2022 4:16am-4:30am EDT
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 law-abiding gun ow. many of my own most cherished memories involve the responsible use of a firearm -- to feed my family and to forge memories with my sons and my closest friends. but those same sons grew up 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 students from that high school. that type of experience has become all too common in our country. the gun violence our communities are experiencing is appalling, and it's unacceptable. it's evident from the unthinkable mass shootings that we've witnessed in uvalde and buffalo and tulsa and el paso. 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 the new mexico continues to struggle with one 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 join my good friend, senator chris murphy of connecticut, and a number of my colleagues from both sides of the aisle to try and chart 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 prove 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 safer communities act includes federal resources to help states and tribes implement crisis intervention programs. new mexico passed add law to establish one of these programs just last year. the goal was to ensure that deadly weapons were kept out of the hands of those that a court, with due process, determined 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. just last month, on mother's day, new mexico tragically lost two teens, shot and killed by a man who very 00 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 qualify his former girlfriend and the mother of one of the victims. the restraining order showed that he was in possession of two firearms. unfortunately, the local sheriff's office failed to recognize the threat that he posed and didn't use our state's law to remove the firearms that he used to take the lives of two 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 safer communities act will help us do just that. our legislation also enhances the review process for firearms buyers under 21 years of age. this new process will require an investigative period to review criminal and mental health records, including checks with state databases and local law
enforcement. over the last four years, six of the nine deadliest mass shootings were by people who were 21 or younger. the bipartisan safer communities act ensures we respond to this deadly trend in a meaningful way. our legislation also makes clear who the federal firearm licensee -- licensing requirements apply to, leading to more firearm sales that require a background check. 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 dating but not married to their partners but whom we know pose a violent
threat to acquire 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 it will increase access to behavioral health 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 signs that so often precede some of these most 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 provisions will craft down on -- crack down on straw purchasing and trafficking of firearms. these provisions will directly reduce gun violence in our home
states and internationally. let me take a moment to explain how. under current law, it's a minor paperwork offense to buy a gun for someone else, and even then that only applies if you buy the gun from a federal firearm licensee. under the bipartisan safer 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 from a federal firearm licensee or not, and the consequences of this simple change will be real. it will keep deadly weapons out of the hands of people who would use them to hurt others, and it will level serious consequences for those that break the law. now, just last year a new mexico
state police officer was tragically killed during a traffic stop in demi, new mexico. officer darian jarrot was shot and killed by a convicted felon whose wife had allegedly purchased the gun for him. she is now being prosecuted under the paperwork offense that is currently on the books. but the bipartisan safer communities act, under it, she 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 that we've seen too often in new mexico and elsewhere. right now, law enforcement has to watch as an organized chain of straw purchases happens, one after another, intended to protect the person most at quality, the mastermind of the operation, by keeping them far
removed from the purchase that happens at an f.f.l., at a federal firearm licensee. our law enforcement watched this happened, but they can only go after the person who walked into the f.f.l. and made the very first of that series of straw purchases. that's usually the person least involved in the scheme. but that's about to change. soon these 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 u.s. is a major federal crime under existing law, trafficking firearms out of the u.s. has not been.
and for years this has meant that firearms trafficked out of the u.s. are the primary supply of guns used to commit violent crimes in mexico, in el salvador, in honduras, and in guatemala. it has also invited dangerous firearm trafficking into communities on both sides of our nation's 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 involved the chief of police, the mayor, a village trustee, and an estimated 190 firearms, including large numbers of handguns and assault rifles, and the crime they were charged witr paperwork. not anymore. the bipartisan safer communities act takes this violence on with the severity that it deserves. it gives law enforcement the
tools they need to stop this activity, and the violence it directly and indirectly creates in our communities and within our borders. by taking on the violence that families are fleeing in their home countries, violence that our inadequate gun laws have actually contributed to, we're also taking meaningful action to address a root cause behind so many refugees coming to our country. now, i fully recognize that the bipartisan safer communities act is a compromise. many of the parents and students who have raised their voices to demand action on gun violence would like us to go further. but progress has to start somewhere. the hardest part of every negotiation is letting go of the perfect for the possible, and i am confident that the legislation we are voting on will make a real difference in reducing gun violence, a
difference that will be measured in lives. it will boost public safety. it will invest in mental health. and keep more firearms out of the hands of those who would use them against their communities. the painful truth is that we can never bring back those precious children whose lives were cut short in uvalde, texas, in parkland, florida, in newtown, connecticut, or at aztec high school or west mesa high school, demi middle school, washington middle school in my state. we can never offer enough words to heal the grieving families all across the country who've lost their sons and daughters and their brothers and sisters and their fathers and mothers to gun violence. but what we can do by voting to pass this legislation in the senate is to honor their memory. not just with condolences and
hopes and prayers, but with concrete action. i would encourage all of my colleagues to support the bipartisan safer communities act. each life that we save by passing this legislation will mean literally everything to that person's loved ones, and that is what this is all presenn 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 a