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tv   U.S. Senate Sen. Heinrich on Gun Bill  CSPAN  June 24, 2022 9:29am-9:43am EDT

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at 10 p.m. eastern on after words, raphael warnock talks about his new book a way out of no way on his life, faith, and political journey, interviewed by democratic south carolina congressman james cliburn. watch book tv every sunday on c-span2 and find a full schedule on your program guide or watch online anytime on book >> last night, the senate approved a bipartisan bill aimed at reducing gun violence, 65 to 33. the legislation expands background checks for gun buyers 21 or younger, provides grants to states for red flag laws that enable firearms to be temporarily confiscated from people deemed dangerous and money for mental health and school safety. the bill heads to the house, as always live coverage of the
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house and the senate on c-span and c-span2. here is some of the debate before the vote. >> mr. president, like many of my constituents in new hampshire, i am a gun owner. i have a sincerely held respect of law abiding gun ownership. many of my own most cherished memories involve the responsible use of a firearm, to feed my family and to forge memories with my son and my closest friend. but those same sons grew up doing active shooter drills in their charm, 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
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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, buffalo, and tulsa and the hills in 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 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
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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 legislation and negotiations that we've produced prove that we can gather in this battery. 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 a lot of established one of these programs just last year.
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the goal is to ensure that deadly weapons were kept out of the hands of those that at 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 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 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
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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 fires under 21 years of age. this new process will require an investigative period to review criminal and mental health records, including checks with state data bases 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
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respond to this deadly trend in a meaningful way. our legislation also makes clear who the federal firearm licensing requirements apply to, leading to more firearms sales that require a background check. we're finally making sure that convictled domestic violence abusers and individual subjects to domestic violence restraining orders are included in the federal background check data base. whether or not the abuser is married to the victim. that's 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
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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 precedes some of these violent shooting events. over the course of our negotiations, i worked especially hard on a few provisions with my colleague from maine, senator suzanne collins. and it will look at straw purchases and traffic of firearms and 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,
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that from the 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 a 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 firearms 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 tragedy killed during a stop in deming, new mexico, officer garrett was shot and killed by a convicted felon whose wife had alleged purchased the gun
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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 had stop the type of organized straw purchasing and trafficking that we've seen too often in new mexico and elsewhere. rate now, law enforcement has to watch as an organized chain of straw purchases happens, one after another, intended to protect the person most at fault, the master mind of the operation by keeping them far removed from the purchase that happens at an ffl, at a federal firearm licensee. our law enforcement watched this happen, but they can only go after the person who walked into the ffl and made the very
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first of that serious of straw purchases. that's usually the person least involved in the scheme, but that's about to change. soon these ring leaders 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 individual rings relied on to make the original 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 crime in mexico, in el salvador, in honduras, and in
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guatemala. and invited dangerous firearms 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 traffic ring was in uncovered in new mexico. this involved the mayor, a village trustee and estimated 190 firearms, including large numbers of handguns and assault rifles and the crime they were charged with, lying on their paperwork, not anymore. the bipartisan safer communities act takes this violence on with the severity that it deserves. it gives law enforcement the tools that 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
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home countries, violence that are inadequate gun laws have actually contributed to, were also taking meaningful action to address a root cause behind so many refugees coming to our country. i recognize that the bipartisan act, many 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
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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 aztec high school or west mesa high school, deming middle school, washington middle school, in my state. we can never offer enough words to heal the grieving families all across the country who have 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, not just with condolences and hopes and prayers, but concrete action. i would encourage all of my colleagues to support the bipartisan safer communities


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