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tv   Hearing on Impact of Gun Violence on Children  CSPAN  June 15, 2022 9:30pm-11:55pm EDT

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word. if it happens here or here or here or anywhere that matters, america is watching on c-span, powered by cable. >> next, a father who lost his son in the 2018 parkland, florida shooting testified on the effects of gun violence on children. other witnesses testified on funding for mental health care, domestic violence and the impact on children in an assault weapons ban. this comes as congress continues work on gun legislation.
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this hearing will come to order. today the judiciary committee will consider the reality that guns have now become the leading cause of death for children in america. that automobile attics is, not injuries in the home, not cancer. guns. according to the cdc, in 2020, the most recent era system six are available, 4368 american babies, children, and teens died from gunfire.
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that's 12 kids every day. an increase of nearly 30% over the previous year. america has watched in horror as one mass shooting after another has claimed the lives of innocent children. it isn't just mass shootings. in 2020, an average of nearly eight kids were killed in gun homicides every day. we also lost nearly 1300 kids in gun suicides that year. nearly 150 died in gun accidents. guns are killing our kids at a devastating rate. i want to show a video that reflects the grim reality. i want to warn the audience, the video can say inseams that are disturbing. >> they got a cannon.
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[inaudible] he came in and shot my mother and my grandmother. >> bang, bang, bang. >> we didn't know what was happening. >> i was playing down. >> this right here is the picture of the bullet that entered my head. >> i was behind a boy, nicholas, and when he fell over, i just followed every moment, i fell with him. and then i put him on top of me. because he was already -- i just told myself to look like i'm. that >> i was a survivor way before the massacre. shootings, gun violence, it happens every day. >> growing up as a young, black teen and chicago, we are surrounded by gun violence. i lost my brother a few days ago. >> i looked down, i saw blood
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coming out of my hip. >> everyone who is injured or hurt was in the ninth grade. me including. >> a lot of people either don't know about or forget the trauma of gun violence. every day it feels like the shooting is happening again or happened yesterday, or will happen tomorrow. people affected by everyday gun violence have to walk on the street corner where their best friend, their brother, their mother, their nephew, where they themselves were shot. that trauma once inflicted doesn't leave. >> sometimes when i'm laying down, i hear it. i get scared. >> sometimes at night i have nightmares. >> [inaudible] >> [inaudible] >> we don't give the issue the seriousness that it needs. i want elected officials to
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take the issue a lot more seriously than they currently do. >> today marks the ninth hearing this committee has held in the 117th congress on our nations epidemic of gun violence, the ninth. no aspect of this crisis is more important than its impact on our children. protecting our kids have to be our most solemn obligation as lawmakers. what can we do? first, we need to admit that this is a problem with a solution. for too long, gun tragedies have met with inaction in washington. when we are talking about the number one killer of kids in america, we can't just shrug our shoulders and say, well, politics make this impossible. i'm glad there is now a bipartisan deal on a framework for reform, that would help save lives and better protect our kids. congratulations, senator blumenthal, for your contribution to this effort. other members of the committee have as well. i want to single you out. i know ever since sandy hook
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you have shown a special interest in this. senator booker has been involved as well. this framework doesn't include everything i want. it has made a reform that americans overwhelmingly support. proposal such as keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous people, like convicted felons and domestic abusers. when they shoot kids too often and up the targets caught in the cross fire. that's why we need reforms like better background checks, support for state crisis intervention order's, also known as red flags, and tougher laws to crack down on purchasing and gun trafficking. i said it before, it bears repeating. last year, we lost a wonderful young chicago police officer, ella french, she was in the angle would section of chicago. she was on duty at night. unfortunately, at a traffic stop, she was gunned down. her partner was seriously injured. lost the use of his right eye.
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it turned out the gun that was being used to kill her was a straw purchase gun that had been purchased in indiana by a man who admitted he had no criminal record, and purchase it to get to another man who was a convicted felon. who ended up killing the officer. that is the reality. i attended her memorial service with my wife. i saw a sea of police uniforms coming to pay their respects to this wonderful young woman. when we talk about straw purchasing, please don't dismiss it. too many of us, it is very important. this framework also recognizes the homes of gun violence go beyond bullet wounds. gun violence is traumatizing and entire generation of american kids. american kids now fear a shooting can happen in their school any day. in 27 american schools so far this year, it has. we saw how the mass murder of 19 fourth graders and two teachers at robb elementary in
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uvalde, texas, has shattered a community. and shaken parents and children from coast to coast. every shooting, whether it happens in the school in texas, or in a neighborhood in chicago, leads ripple effects across the community. particularly for the kids who witnessed it. who endure the loss of a loved one. who live in constant fear they might be the next victim. often, this trauma ends up fueling the cycle of violence. decades of neuroscience tells us that one kids witnessed a shooting, it can harm their developing brains. make it harder for kids to form healthy relationships, regulate emotions, and resolve conflicts. helping children cope with traumatic experiences is vital to breaking the cycle of violence. that's why i joined with senator capito, a bipartisan effort, to introduce legislation called the rise from trauma act, to deliver services in schools and communities to address trauma. i want to also, at this point, make, mention in the record, the two weeks ago i was in chicago and at a children's
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hospital, i'm meeting from the neighborhoods with the most gone bylines in chicago. susan gordon hayes is here this morning. i want to thank her and the hospital for their leadership on this issue. we close the door, the senator sat there and looked at them and said tell me when i don't know about gun violence in your community. they have plenty to tell me. a lot of it had to do with their life experiences. much different than our own. and why they are here today. the framework we are talking about on guns is a step forward. it's a step forward on trauma and mental health programs as well. it can boost programs, bring kids to a better path, community violence intervention programs with properly funded and administered have shown real success in healing trauma. i've said it before, i will say it again, after every horrific shooting, there is a debate over whether one reform or another could have prevented the last shooting. that misses the point.
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it's too late to prevent the last shooting. we need to act to prevent the next shooting. when it comes to gun violence and kids, we need to treat this like the public health crisis it is. study the risk, identify precautions, and interventions that work and apply it. we should listen to the doctors in law enforcement leaders whose jobs are to keep, are there to keep kids safe. we should listen to our children when they tell us what they are going through. today we have a distinguished panel of witnesses, i look forward to their testimony. let me turn to my friend and fellow colleagues, senator grassley of iowa for his opening remarks. >> thank you, mister chairman. like all americans, i'm hypertension. about the violence in recent weeks that have happened across america. from uvalde, texas, to even close to home in ames, iowa. shootings are bringing pain to communities all across our
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country. the killing of innocent americans, especially innocent children, is unbearable. it looks like we have a process in place in the senate. it looks like we're working together to pass legislation that will truly change the situation. while protecting constitutional rights. there is so much more that we can do to protect americans generally. especially our children. first, school safety. to remain a top priority. we have to do more to intervene, both children and notes, when they show signs of distress. and other concerning behavior. i know i'm not alone in been second to hear again and again that a shooter showed the same predictable signs that were mobilizing towards violence.
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we have to intervene. it looks like this framework that's we are hearing about is going to try to do that. one vital piece of legislation is the loop and alex school safety act. this bill was named for to victims of the tragic parkland school shooting. we are honored to have alex father, max, here with us today to speak with his advocacy on school safety. and carrying on the legacy of his son. the bill provides information to schools on how to protect themselves. the bill was recently -- on the senate floor. the majority leader. i'm hoping we can move it forward a very soon. one way we can help stop violence in schools is to pass the eagles act. that name comes from the mascot of marjory stoneman douglas
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high school in parkland, florida. i wrote this bill after meeting with families who lost loved ones during the parkland shooting. and conducting oversight in to the failure of the fbi and local law enforcement. to act on credible warnings about the shooter. thank you, max, for supporting this bill. this is a bipartisan bill that would provide funding to support the secret service national threat assessment sectors efforts to conduct cutting edge research into the prevention of violence. this bill would also enable that center to train more of our nations schools in conducting threat assessments, and early intervention. unfortunately, this legislation is stalled during the last two congresses. i pleaded with my colleagues to help move it forward this year. what happened in parkland, and now in uvalde, should never be
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allowed to happen again. as i've stated before, it is imperative that we keep firearms out of the hands of those who should not have them. this could be done through my legislation with senator cruz and tell us entitled protecting communities and preserving the second amendment act. this legislation would improve the next system by incentivizing and ensuring that relevant records are uploaded in a timely and consistent manner. it would also strengthen criminal penalties for straw purchasing and lying and buying offensive. if passed, $20 million per year would be appropriated for five years so that the knicks program could be more effective than it is today. mental health has taking a home on americans across the country
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more so in recent years. because of the covid-19 lockdown. students were forced to stay home and kept out of the classroom. uncertainty about the future overwhelmed household as well as businesses. mental health issues are also a root cause of many tragedies that we see across the country. any legislation proposed it in the senate that is looking to impact to change must include resources to address mental health. we can't live in a society where violence is tolerated. in terms of violence and crime, our countries has been seen enough. we must take necessary steps. to prevent further acts of violence across the country. when it comes to saving children, their lives, that means combatting gang violence. mass shootings often receive
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national attention, there are countless parents who suffer outside of the spotlight of the terrible ramifications, the nationwide spike of violent crime. for all of those grieving, the premature loss of a child or loved one, i cannot pretend to understand what you are going through. i am here to listen and i want to add i look forward to discussing policies to keep our children safe. >> thanks, senator grassley, i did not see that senator cornyn had arrived right knowledge those who are part of this effort. i want to acknowledge that senator klobuchar has an important acknowledgment in this package relative to domestic violence. as you can see many members of the committee are actively engaged in this and hoping it can move forward and a timely
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basis. today we welcome five witnesses. i want to thank you for joining us, before we swear them and i want to introduce the democratic responsive witnesses. first witnesses -- chicago, 19 year old and student at northeastern university in boston. grip on the west side of chicago for those who are not familiar that is very dangerous area when it comes to gun violence. his youngest of 11 in his family. first male in his family to graduate high school. well on his way to a career in the medical field, and a clinical assistant. we are glad you're with us. doctor moira a. szilagyi, did i get it right? good. she is a pediatrician and professor of pediatrics at the ucla. she has the division chief in behavioral pediatrics and currently serves as president of the american york of pediatrics, an organization of
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the people dedicated to the health of adolescence. she created her pediatric residency at the university of rochester. chief gerry williams has served as the police chief of phoenix since 2016. the largest police chief in the state of arizona. she is currently the president of the major cities chief association. 32 year in law enforcement veteran. probably serving as p chief in phoenix and the city of ochsner, california. bachelors degree from arizona state and northern arizona university. senator grassley? >> first i introduce max schachter max schachter, max is a executive director of the east marjory stoneman douglas
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school. he ensures access to best practices and resources for students, parents, and school districts. we are thankful for your testimony and your patients. and your expertise on a subject. next witness is amy swearer, illegal fellow at the heritage foundation and third center for legal and judicial studies for her scholarship focuses on, among other things, the second amendment, over criminalization, school safety, and the intersection of gun violence and mental health. she was a driving force behind the heritage schools safety initiative which was developed after the tragic 2018 school shooting in parkland, florida to inshore more voices were included in national conversation on gun control and student safety.
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thank you for being here, amy, and max. >> thank you, senator grassley. we will have our opening statements by our witnesses of five minutes and then five minutes of questioning for each senator. i will start with the traditional. i asked the witnesses to please stand. raise your right hand. do you confirm the testimony you're about to give is truth, triple, and nothing but the truth, so help you god? thank you. let the record reflect of the witnesses have answered in the affirmative. mr. ernest willingham please proceed with your opening statement. >> good morning chairman durbin, ranking member grassley, and distinguished members of the senate judiciary committee. thank you for inviting me here today to discuss with you how our nation's youth are in crisis from the persistent gun violence plaguing our country. my name is earnest willing ham and i am a current third year student at northeastern university and boston, massachusetts studying health science with aspirations of
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becoming a physician. i have seen gun violence up close and personal. allow me to take you through a journey of what's the average young person goes through in a city struggling with gun violence. what it is like to make life decisions when in fear of gun violence or being shot weighs heavily on your mind every single day. i am the youngest of 11 children, my family lived in the housing projects in chicago until our building was torn down. we were displaced and lived in illinois for a short time until we move back to the west side of chicago, where gun violence is raging. i attended a medical preparatory high school located on the west side of chicago. i have seen my brother, my father, my cousin, and my best friend become victims of gun violence. my brother was shot while we lived in -- on two different occasions within a one-year time span. once in the groin and the other
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time in the leg. i was five years old then and did not have a clear understanding of gun violence, it did not take a rocket scientist to work 90 emotional trauma. my brother, after being shot for the first time was vigilant yet fearful. imagine being scared to go out in public or to family gatherings after being shot, in fear of being shot again. on the weekend of august 5th 2018 my best friend was shot and killed at age 17 by a stray bullet while hanging outside with friends in chicago. she was one of 66 people shot in one of 12 killed in the city on that summer weekend. four years later in 2022 we still have no closure, no resolution, and her family and so many more are left with unspeakable grief, trauma, and fear. i am never understood the anguish from gun violence until i had to provide comfort to my best friends family at the funeral. i was devastated and heartbroken. this is something that young
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people should never have to prepare themselves for and yet it remains a lived experience to so many youth and children around the nation. after her life was taken from her and i moved through high school, i get with a constant interpersonal fear that i would be shot. because of this the trajectory of my true in education was on the line. as i approached my senior year i was the first male in my family to graduate high school. i knew that college was the answer but i was too afraid to stay home and possibly get shot and killed. i purposely did not apply to any schools near my home because i was afraid i would die from gun violence. i made a vow to myself that i would rather risk losing my life in another part of the country that have my mother learned that someone had taken my life away from me in chicago. my mother and i discussed my decision to leave chicago for college and both agreed that it made sense that it would be best for me to believe given the risk. growing up in chicago it was a norm to hear that someone,
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primarily a young person, has been shot and killed. therefore we cherish every possible accomplishment because we attended more funerals than weddings. ask any young person in chicago how many weddings have you attended? very few would have attended one. however, most have attended at least a dozen funerals. i attended an eighth grade graduation this past weekend with kids ranging from 12 to 14 years of age. as i looked around i saw parents bawling their eyes out, not just because they were proud but because they were not burying their children. gun violence is prevalent across the country and it is almost a privilege that you have not been personally affected by. we know many who have had to bury young children and those who have not yet moved across that fear of their children. the young people in the future of our nation are suffering and dying in less mass numbers. the first 18 years of my life i was fortunate to have engaged with a program of a children's hospital in chicago. culture gaga youth programs. this program serves youth aged
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zero to 25 helping to mitigate risk and build strength to get education, comprehensive health care skilled element, and career opportunity. it helps people who are coming from neighborhoods tarnished by poverty. this program alter the course of my life as well as the number of my siblings. the summer i've employed in a school in chicago southside, one of my students expressed to me that she was indecisive about going away for college or staying home due to our country's current gun violence project. our young people are faced with decisions to which they cannot find answers. our youth are terrified, unsafe, and pleading with elected officials in washington to muster the courage to protect them. our society, our government, and our leaders must protect the youth from gun violence. the task is monumental. the statistics on gun and mental health our mind numbing, sobering, and alarming. for the sake of time, committee members, please refer to my written testimony for the statistics on gun violence, but there is one i would like to
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share. in 2017 young black males were 13.7 times more likely to die from a firearm related homicide than non blackmails in chicago. we have wasted enough time discussing this issue, and now it is time we passed legislation to stop the killing of innocent persons. we are better than that as a country and we can solve this crisis. gun violence is a multifaceted issue, we can point the finger at the folks holding the gun, we can limit on single parent households, we can even blaming a lower income neighborhoods. but, until the legislative branch takes a stand to save our children we are pointing the finger back get. you just the past week, there have been 377 deaths and 804 injured from gun violence. senators, consider yourselves responsible. it is our responsibility of the legislative branch of this government to an issue stricter gun laws and uphold a standard of safety for all people across this country. we cannot continue to allow wet janai met patterson's mother experience. to become the norm for families and fathers across the country. as another day passes without
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proper steps being taken, the people, the young people of our nation, are holding the legislative branch accountable for each life that is taken away while we wait. i plead with you to pass common sense gun legislation so children and youth can grow up in safe communities, thank you for your time. >> thank you, mr. williams, mr. schachter? >> make sure your mic is on. >> chairman durbin, ranking member grassley, members of the judiciary committee, thank you for inviting me to testify today. congressman ted deutch, thank you for being here as well. my name is max schachter, in 2008 my wife suddenly passed away in her sleep. as a newly-single father of two little boys, i thought that day would be the worst day of my life. several years later, i met a wonderful woman with two little
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girls who lost her husband to a heart attack. we fell in love and decided to start a new life in parkland, florida it had been ranked the safest city in our state. on valentine's day 2018, i sent my little boy alex two school thinking when i said goodbye to him, he will come home to me. never for a moment that i think that he would be murdered in his english class. now alex is buried next to his mother in the cemetery. after the shooting, i was consumed with grief and anger, after 9/11, we made the airplane safer, after the oklahoma city bombing, we made the federal building safer. yet i could not understand how more than 20 years after columbine children and teachers continue to be murdered in their classrooms i was determined to do everything i could to prevent this from happening again. my wife and i started a charity called save schools for alex. so no other family would have
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to experience our pain. i travel the country in search of solutions. when i found was that while some school districts seemed well prepared for acts of gun violence, too many of them had the complacent attitude that parkland had. that it won't happen here. administrator's and teachers frequently asked me, where do i find these best practices? where do i begin? educators are not trained to be school security experts. school officials need proper guidance on what evidence based practices work, and do not. which is why in 2018, i started advocating for the creation of a federal school safety clearinghouse. a streamlined, one stop shop for all schools safely best practices, resources, and grant programs. in 2020, i was ecstatic that this clearinghouse was launched on school school features materials from the department
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of education, justice, homeland security, and health and human services. the clearinghouse offers guidance on issues ranging from physical security measures, to mental health counseling. it also offers a grant finder tool where school officials can search and apply for more than 40 different programs offering nearly two billion dollars in funding. the clearinghouse is already making schools safer. today, i'm here to ask congress to pass two important bills to help make school safer. the first is the loop of school safety act, named in memory of my little boy, alex, and his good friend luke hoyer. the bill known as loss of four short, would quantify the federal clearinghouse i just described in the law. lost it would make the clearinghouse permanent and it will require the secretary of education to actively inform all school districts around the country of the important resources it provides.
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the second bill is the eagles act, named after the high school mascot of the marjory stoneman douglas eagles. the use threat assessments to protect the president and senior government officials. law enforcement uses prevent mass shooting. our children deserve the same protection. the eagles act would direct the national threat assessment center of the secret service to expand their mission to include school safety and provide them the necessary resources that they need to help schools prevent violence before it happens. since 2008 has delivered nearly 2400 training sessions to over 230,000 public and private sector participants on how to conduct threat assessments, and prevent targeted violence. i have the privilege to work alongside them and the chief doctor, i can tell you that
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their training has been so effective that schools have almost immediately applied what they have learned to prevent attacks. protecting our kids from gun violence group choirs us to do everything we can to make schools safer, i am grateful for the bipartisan report i have received for both me lasa and eagles. now is the time to pass into law the legislation that the parkland families have been working on for four years. we cannot focus on school safety only when a tragedy happens, school safety must be a year-round priority. bypassing lasa and eagles we can help save lives and prevent the next uvalde and parkland. thank you very much. >> thank you. doctor moira a. szilagyi's president of the american academy of pediatrics and is recognized at this point. >> thank you, chairman and
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wrinkly member grassley. i am doctor moira a. szilagyi. i am a primary care physician. >> can you pull the microphone a little closer to you? >> i can, thank you. chairman durbin and ranking member grassley, i am doctor moira a. szilagyi. i am a primary care pediatrician and president of the american academy of pediatrics. i asked the pediatrician members of the ap to and me there stories of how the gun violence has impacted the children that cared for. the response was overwhelming, in just a few days i received over 300 compelling and heart wrenching stories from pediatricians, i brought them with me today and i urge you to read them. on the morning of may 24th the students of robb elementary school started their day like any other, they tied their shoes, put on their backpacks, and said goodbye to their parents, they went to school
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expecting to see their friends and learn, and to prepare for summer break. it should have been an ordinary day. 19 of these children did not return home to their families that day to untie their shoes and hang up their backpacks. these 19 nine, ten, and 11 year olds, third and fourth grade students will never return home because their lives were taken in a horrific display of violence. unfortunately, in america gun violence has become an ordinary day. you've always only pediatrician was called to the emergency room to help with the injured children that day, ultimately he lost five of his young patients. children he had cared for for much of their lives. helping keep children safe is one of the most essential roles of pediatricians like doctor guerrero. for example, we work with families to keep children safe
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in the car by making sure they are safely secured in car seats, we also council families on gun safety. there is only so much pediatricians can do, keeping children safe is a duty we all collectively share as a society. but in the studio i am sorry to say we have failed our children. gondolas are preventable and yet every year 3500 children and teams die by firearm. put another way, that is like having an uvalde still tragedy every other day. and it is not just acts of homicide. suicide is now the second leading cause of death among youth aged 10 to 24, on behalf of americas pediatricians i am here today to say we cannot accept this, senators, you must act. we cannot talk about child firearm deaths without talking about trauma. the millions of children who have been exposed to gun
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violence have experienced trauma. we owe it to our children to protect them because we know from science that childhood trauma and diversity has lifelong impacts on one's health and well-being. drama is the obvious result of gun violence, but it is also the root cause of gun violence as well. 100% of school shooters had experience significant childhood trauma, trauma begets violence, it gets more, trauma and violence. we need to identify the issue traumatized children who are at risk of committing violence. get them into the trauma and for mental health care they need and make sure they cannot access firearms. we will not be successful 100% of the time but this is a critical element preventing future tragedies like the one in uvalde. we also have to address the availability of firearms for
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individuals who could do harm. i am really encouraged that a bipartisan group of senators have reached a framework agreement to address gun violence. they framework including a federal investments in mental health, school security, and red flag laws. it also includes meaningful reforms to gun laws such as improvements in background checks. we encourage congress to complete action on this proposal without delay. while this framework is a significant step forward, it is only a start, safe gun storage is also urgently needed to prevent child suicide, homicide, and accidental death. as a pediatrician who has traded five children who were accidentally shot by themselves or another child after accessing an unsecured loaded gun, i have seen the impacts of this firsthand. sadly two of these children lost their lives. we must do more to encourage gun owners to safely store their firearms.
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we also need to address the ease of purchasing assault weapons and filled a significant gaps that remain and background checks. and lastly we call on congress to increase the federal investment in public health, gun violence prevention research. we know some of what works but we must never stop learning better strategies to keep children safe. thank you for listening. our children are counting on you. >> thank you, dr., miss amy swearer? >> chairman durbin, ranking member grassley, and distinguished senators. we are holding this on juvenile gun violence today for one simple reason. the kids are not all. right the reason they're not all right is far more complex than our current national dialogue often admits, despite some significant high-profile mass school shootings in recent years these are just a fraction of a percent of the problem. and i know, how can i possibly
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sit here next to a witness who lost a child in parkland and when we are still burying children after uvalde and say that? i do not expect that statistical probabilities make any parent feel the least bit better when mourning the loss of a child. the rarity does not lessen their light pain or make it any less traumatic. these shootings devastate communities. but numbers matter when shaping public policy to keep the nations kids safe. an average of ten students are killed by gunfire on school property during school hours every year. that is ten to many, that number should be zero, we can and should make our schools safer. but, schools are not where most of our kids are dying. the vast majority of juvenile gun deaths are out of school suicides and homicides. neither of which receives nearly as much attention. and suggesting that the problem is simply guns does everyone a disservice. the problem is deeper. our kids are suffering from a decades long downward spiral of mental and emotional and
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wellness that is leading them to take their lives at increasing rates. especially since the beginning of the covid-19 pandemic. well over 1000 high school age teams killed themselves with firearms last year. over 1000 more killed themselves at a firearm. our kids are also increasingly understated in going to school with major this year reaching 40%. kids seriously engaging in criminal behaviors makes it more likely they will victimize others or become victims of gun violence themselves. you can find far more examples in the last school year of children being scott specifically by our victims well engaging in criminal activity than in teenagers being shot in schools. so what is the federal role in all of this? because that is the question, that is why we are all here today, right? we know it does not work. banning certain semiautomatic firearms or standard capacity magazines are not serious solutions and they are based more on irrational fear than on data or the constitution.
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they become even less serious in the context of juvenile deaths where most of these kids are already unable to lawfully purchase any firearms and are overwhelmingly using or being victimized by criminals with illegally possessed handguns. instead of wasting so much time on wet will not save our kids i'm going to highlight three solutions out of the many proposed in my written submission, which i hope you read. number one, allow schools to shift unused covid funds to school security and mental health. physical security matters, swift and armed responses to threats, whether mass shootings or any other threat matter. student access to mental health resources matters, with schools have access right now to over 100 billion dollars an already allocated covid relief funds. they can and should be able to use it to invest in physical security needs to give them flexibility of the next two years to cut administrative bloat and prioritize long-term
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spending worldly most affective. number two, authorize behavioral threat assessment, research, and trading. most state and local agencies lack any coherent system for analyzing threats in their own communities. meanwhile, many federal agencies have decades of training and experience with behavioral threat assessment, congress can facilitate this process in taking these strategies that we know work at a federal level to prevent targeted mass violence and re-tooling them in a way that makes sense for state and local entities. number three, provide healthier and more stable environments for our kids, the root of the problem is not guns, it is the underlying problem that creates violent environments in the first place. parents and especially low income and working parents need more choices when it comes to accessing mental health care for their kids, they also need more choices when it comes to adequate learning environments. studies and statistics quickly show that one parents can more a sully remove their kids from school where they are bullied, faced violent threats, or are not otherwise receiving
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necessary resources it alleviates the risk of suicide and the likelihood that they will particulate in criminal behaviors that are most associated with outcomes like gun related deaths and injury. kids deserve educational environments where they feel safe and are most likely to develop into thriving adults. regardless of income or is it could. senators, it is clear that the kids are not all right. they are increasingly suicidal, they are increasingly engaging in criminal behaviors, they are recently decided the school is not worth it and we are watching as their futures and lives vanish. we are losing our kids, and if we do not act soon an act to stem these problems at the source it will not just be the kid that we are losing. we will lose an entire generation of adult as. well i look forward to your questions. >> thank you, chief williams. >> good morning chairman durbin and ranking member grassley, and distinguished members of this committee. thank you for the opportunity to participate in today's
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hearing. yesterday in phoenix the ninth of one of my officers were shot in the line of duty. had it not been for her vast that she is wearing i would not be sitting here today, i would be in phoenix planning for another funeral. i appear before you today as a police chief in phoenix arizona, i also service the president of the major city chiefs association. it is my honor to testify on behalf of my colleagues. nearly every major city in the night states is grappling with wide range gun violence, the nature of many of these shootings is extremely troubling. these instance often involve multiple victims and trigger pullers, for example in phoenix a few weeks ago a shooting in phoenix killed one and injured eight. the increase in gun violence is having a significant impact on america's youth as previously mentioned. the number of juveniles killed in gun violence increased sharply over the past few years. however, that impact also goes well beyond the victims. sadly manley mcc a member of
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the reported an increase in the amount of gun violence perpetrated by juveniles. this is created a vicious cycle. because today's suspects is all fun tomorrow's victim. it is incredibly troubling to see such a disregard for the sanctity of life at a young age. use the major cities, especially communities of color have become desensitized to the persistent gun violence in their communities. children should neither be afraid of getting kicked hit by a staple in their homes, attending an event, or walking through their neighborhood. nor should any child feel they need to carry a gun to protect themselves. or think that using it is an appropriate way to resign conflict. reducing juvenile gun violence will require addressing the trauma inflicted when children witnessed violence or become victims of violence themselves. our mcc a member cities have made investments into programs are aimed to help juveniles heal, prevent retaliation, and break the cycle of violence. however, as previously mentioned this is only part of
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the solution. guns have flooded our community and become far more easy to have our children get their hands on a gun. the mcca has long been an advocate for sensible firearms policy. in fact, in 2018 they mcca adopted a firearms violence policy that would help mitigate the threat of gun violence without infringing on constitutional rights or weakening due process. these reforms include requiring universal background checks, closing the boyfriend loophole, supporting the use of extreme protection orders, aggressively prosecuting purchases and prohibited percenters. and, lastly, banning a salt weapons and high capacity magazines. the mcc was greatly encouraged by the buyer partisan firearms policy framework that was recently released. there is significant overlap with the mcc a firearms policy and polling shows that the majority of americans want common sense reform. congress must act immediately to close those loopholes and the gaps in our system.
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as was previously mentioned, protecting our children also requires addressing the violent crime problem in many of our cities. unfortunately, constitutional proactive place in the helps dry wall and crime town has become a luxury for many departments. law enforcement needs additional resources to bolster its response to violent crime and gun violence. and overall lack of accountability for violent offenders is contributing to the rising gun violence and some of our major cities, district attorneys are not prosecuting serial firearm offenders. judges continue to root lease violent offenders on low or no bond, to address these challenges congress must provide resources to the u.s. attorneys offices to support additional federal prosecution as appropriate. additionally we know that approximately 60% of the districts do not have a senate confirmed u.s. attorney. a confirmed u.s. attorney is a key partner in local law
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enforcement's fight against violent crime. local law enforcement continues to do everything in our power to protect our communities from gun violence. and, unfortunately, a brave officers on the front line as the one that i mentioned previously have not been spared. in the last six months nine phoenix police officers have been shot and 15 injured. many of these attack are a brazen and the shooters are often violent offenders with previous felony convictions. the violence against law enforcement must stop. the current vent gun violence epidemic has been particularly devastating to america's youth. far too many children have lost their lives and countless others have been traumatized. these children our future and we need to do everything in our power to protect them from the the threat of gun violence. the association says right work with you to achieve this goal. thank you for this opportunity and i look forward to any questions that the committee might have. >> thank you, chief, each member has five minutes to ask
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questions. i want to start with you, if you do not mind, she williams. and the buffalo situation at the police department there was a retired policeman who is a security guard. when the shooter came in with his ar-15 and started shooting randomly, the customers in the store he pulled out his handgun and was hand gunned down by this ar-15 as well. he was clearly outgunned at that scene. that is not an uncommon experience that many of the police and those we count on in this country are being outgunned by the shooters. is the response you think would make it safer for the police that you represent? >> thank you for that question. we are okay, and we are outmanned, we are out staffed. we do need responsible gun legislation and there should be a ban on high capacity assault weapons. that is in order to protect our community. >> doctor claude moira a.
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szilagyi you heard mr. willing him telling the story of growing up in chicago and what he has been through, witnessed, and he is from his friends. can you tell me a little bit, i think that would fit into the adverse childhood experience for certain, the trauma situation. can you tell me, i am trying to look for a hopeful sign here. he has come forward and made quite a great contribution in his own life towards his college education and his aspirations. one of the hopes of rescuing while young people like him who have been exposed to this trauma as they are growing up? >> thank you so much for that question, senator durbin, and i would really like to think ernest willingham for his testimony. he represents so many of the youth that i take care of, i have been a foster care child welfare pediatrician for over 30 years and one cannot do that work without seeing trauma every day.
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i think there has been a pervasive sense of hopelessness among our youth. that is partly why we are seeing such an increase in suicide and violence. you asked about childhood trauma. the studies were down a long time ago and they have reinforced what we now. the children who have high levels of exposure to adversity, particularly intrafamilial adversity or stressors outside the family such as discrimination, bullying, and community violence have high rates of lifelong mental health, health, and poor social outcomes. we also know that young people who grow up in such environments can also do well. that they do well because they have a lot of resources poured into them. the hopeful part of the families.
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having a good family as it sounds like mr. willingham had. finding teachers and educators who support you. i actually grew up in a rough and tough neighborhood and was blessed to have a render full family. several of my friends died by suicide while i was growing up and i also had a friend of my brothers who was shot in my home by his cousin. i have seen violence in my personal life. we hope comes that we know what we need to do to fix things. in particular about adverse childhood experiences. it is identifying these children early, it is pouring resources into them. a lot of it has to do with the relationships we surround them with. we need evidence based and trauma informed mental health care. i deeply appreciate the work that you have been doing on legislation and increasing mental health supports. and addressing trauma informed care.
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i do think there is hope, i have certainly seen the young people i know in foster care. they have raised from kids saying to me they do not expect to live past 20. many of them probably grew up in a neighborhoods similar to mr. willingham. i have also seen young people from similar circumstances with the right influence do very well. like mr. willingham going up to college. planning features. there is hope, yes. >> thank, you doctor, mr. willingham i wish i had more time. i would like for you to explain with all of your friends and your souls going through a lifetime exposed to this gun violence and uncertainty. and despair and some situations. how you ended up weathering that storm and moving in the right direction. could you say in a few words? i am sorry i did not have more time. >> thank you chairman durbin for that question,, it is as simple as stating as dr. moore
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explained. having a village, it takes a village to pour into one child and having a team of people, a good family, teachers, mentors. all of those different things matter. there are, and i am not the only one in my neighborhood doing great things. i am not the only young person in chicago that has excelled throughout difficult times in their lives. they raise in so many of us have been able to excel in the controversy, the midst of gun violence and difficult upbringing is because of the village, because you have a village to help you navigate through high school. to help you navigate through college and possible career things. and also the social and emotional counseling and therapy that you get. not necessarily from a mental health professional. from a community health worker or an educator in the school. someone at your neighborhood
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corner score. it literally takes a village to navigate a child through difficult circumstances. that is what can attest to my story. >> i've heard that phrase before, thank you very much. senator grassley? >> max, you have dedicated your life to advancing safety in schools. i think you've advocated increasing physical security, introducing threat assessment programs, advocating for school resources officers. these programs we all serve to deter mass shootings in schools. one of the things you have advocated is the dissemination of breast practices of school safety. i am proud to cosponsor a bill named after your son that will codify federal clearinghouse of best practices. how did you come to the conclusion that this vital element of protecting children
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in schools is an important approach? >> thank you, senator grassley. after alex was murdered in the parkland school shooting had made it my mission to make sure that this never happened again. when i traveled the country, the question that i got from a lot of educators was, where are these best practices? what they were getting was a lot of confusing material from a lot of the different federal agencies. we had this idea to create a federal school safety clearinghouse. it has really been a model for what the federal government can do if they all work together. and, all of the agencies that work on school safety. you have the department of education, department of health and human services, the department of justice, and the department of homeland security are now all working together. they are coordinating. they are cooperating. they have an editorial board so they have gone through this
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issue. everything, all of the best practices the schools need. they are all housed on school as i traveled the country there are a lot of schools that were doing great things. the problem was that a lot of schools did not know that. it was really only contained in the vicinity around that particular area. schools need help. most educators become educators because they want to teach and help children. not because they want to be school security experts. there is only one program that i know of that is the most successful that teaches teachers about school safety in college. and that is at the indian river state college in florida. they are doing great things. i think it is really important that teachers are taught that in college before they become teachers. so that the burden is not on the school district as well. this clearinghouse that is
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formed yeah is doing wonderful things. not only do they have a place to have best practices, they also have a consolidated place for a grant dollars. on the site school districts can go on their new grant finder tool. there are 40 different programs available and over two billion dollars. i encourage all educators and parents, parents want information about how to make their schools safe. that information is all available on school schools that are curious about what they should do first and where their gaps are. they have a school readiness tool where they only do if they fill out a ten question questionnaire on the site. based on their answers that will tell them what they should be doing first, but they should be doing second, where their gaps are in school safety. and then, based on their gaps it directs them to grant dollars. i really hope that this congress will pass the loop and
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alex school safety act, that is included in a new bipartisan agreement on gun safety. >> this will have to be my last question to max and amy. the threat assessment center data shows over 30% of the active shooter advance lasting less than five minutes. would both of you tell me what role do school resource officers serve in mitigating firearm violence in schools? let's start with amy. >> thank you, senator. we know that one way or reach the point where is too late. we're not talking about prevention but an individual who is active threat to that school. a mass shooter or any other threat. in that moment what matters is how quickly there is a armed response and armed confrontation. school racers conferences pay a role because it lessens the amount of time, you actually saw this in santa fe high
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school several weeks after parkland. in under four minutes you had a school resource officers draw that shooters attention to themselves, heroically take on that gun fire and you would have seen but for that a rate of death very similar to parkland. instead it was far less. we have seen, as i listed in my written testimony, a number of other occasions where school resource officers have been immediately on the scene to confront that threat. again, whether that is a mass shooting or any other threat because we know that in that moment that is a thing that matters most is the quickness of that response. may you can give a short response so i don't take time to my colleagues. >> in parkland, in just three minutes and 51 seconds 21 people were shot and killed including my little boy alex. school resource officers are critical to being on scene and florida we. are the only state in the
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country that we are mandated that every k through 12 school, there has to be an armed security officer when these incidents happen. the most important thing is that they stop the killing. and then stop the dying. i just wish they were sooner. other things that need to be addressed, the law enforcement response in parkland. we had nine sheriff's office deputy that waited outside. we saw the same thing in uvalde. law enforcement need to do better at the training. when the office was only training and conducting active shooter training every three years, that is not sufficient. we saw the result. >> thank you. we are calling on the democratic side based on the early bird rule. next up is senator feinstein. >> thank you very much, mister chairman. i would like to use my time, if i may, to make a statement.
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this country is no stranger to the horror of gun violence. and its impact on our nations children. just last month in texas, 19 children and two teachers were killed by a teenager with an assault weapon. only ten days before that, ten people were killed at a grocery store in buffalo by a teenager with an assault weapon. i think we deserve better than this. i've re-introduced the age 21 act. this bill would prohibit the sale of assault weapons and high capacity magazines to anyone under the age of 21. if this bill had been law, it would've prevented the teenagers in both buffalo and uvalde from legally purchasing the weapons they later used to kill a combined 31 people.
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including 19 children. i really deeply believe i've, been on this committee for a long time, that we need common sense reforms like the age 21 act to protect our children. since 2018. six of the nine deadliest shootings in the united states were committed by someone under the age of 21. that's a fact. the bill has received significant support from both medical professionals and educators. because it would be a big step towards predicting for, tucked -ing, children from gun violence. the national association of schools psychologist, the american school counselor association, and the american federation of teachers recently said letters to the senate in support of the bill.
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so, doctor liz lagarde, and chief williams, can you discuss what you have seen in your work between young people having easy access to dangerous firearms and harms caused two children from gun violence? >> senator, thank you for that question. as i previously mentioned, in my oral statement, today's victims is tomorrow suspects. we're seeing kids as young as 12, 13, 14, have accessibility to guns, and are unafraid to use those weapons in order to hurt or harm individuals in the community. your point is extremely well taken. when we talk about the age and the accessibility to weapons. we as a country need to do better. our children deserve are much better from us. >> thank you, mister chairman. that's what i wanted to say. >> thank you, senator feinstein, senator cornyn. >> thank you, mister chairman. after the shooting and uvalde,
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like buffalo, like florida, like in colorado, every time one of these shootings occurs, we hear people say do something. do something. unfortunately, there are also people say do nothing. i've, for one, and not going to be part of that cause as long as parents fear for the safety of their children in their school room. and children fear being in the classroom. i firmly believe there are things that we can do that do not infringe the constitutional rights of all lobby just as an's. i don't think we're talking about law abiding citizens committing mass shooting, or committing crimes. we're talking about criminals,
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or talk about people with mental health crises. and we're talking about other things we need to do to harden our schools, to use best practices, and provide resources for our mental health. treatments at the community level. i think our community, our mental health delivery system in america is a scandal. we have a plan, center stabenow, seven or blunt have a great piece of legislation we hope to be looked pass as soon as next week. that would provide massive investments in community based mental health care. so police have someplace to take someone suffering a mental health crisis, other than the jail. people suffering mental health crisis, summer to go other than the emergency room. we can actually get people some help so they don't get sticker and sticker. and become a threat to
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themselves and potentially to others. i'm not suggesting that people undergoing better health crises are always violent. that is not true. but some are. as the doctor said, 60%, i don't know he put a number on it, she pointed out that 60% of the suicides in america today are using a gun. we, i think, as some things i think we can do. we need to do what we can. when i would like to ask, miss swear to start with, it sounds like we're conflating a lot of different sorts of scenarios. the shootings in chicago, which occur on a very frequent basis. chicago illinois has the toughest gone laws in america, but that, arguably, will not deter a gang member or a
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criminal. can you help us cut through this. my hope is, we will focus on solving problems as opposed to making an ideological statement. can you help us cut through that? >> your point is well taken. gun violence is much more complicated than any one specific subset of gun violence. in fact, it is important to separate those out different types of gun violence have different underlying causes they. have different appropriate means of addressing them. even including from the standpoint of gun control, for example, when we're talking about gun violence, urban area, gang-centric violence, it tends to be individuals who have long rap sheets, already prohibited persons, illegally possessing firearms. it meant a lot different from suicides which are two thirds of gun death.
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obviously, there is a mental health component there. or mass shooters, who are almost always showing signs of being dangerous, but are legally possessing their guns. it's important to sort those things out and to treat them individually. in the way that they need to be treated. >> thank you for that. i have 30 seconds, i want to ask the doctor a question. >> the profile of some of these young male shooters seems eerily similar, in some cases, you look at adam lanza, sandy hook, you look at salvador ramos, in, uvalde texas, the new york times did a good job pointing out that in six of nine of the mass shootings, the profile is pretty familiar. if we were able to get community based mental health assistance to the young man,
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young boys really, and their families earlier do you think we could improve the outcomes for them, so they could maybe live productive lives, and not circle down the drain. out of despair, kill themselves, and others as well. >> my brief answer, yes. it is helping me out, thank you. my brief answer, yes. i think that we probably need to make sure that every body who interacts with a youth, whether that's an educator, pediatrician, police officer, is versed in trauma informed care. that type of training is available and goes on around the country. it is evidence based. i think if we could have every professional who interact with a child take that kind of approach, yes, increasing our access to mental health services through community based mental health schoolbus
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mental health, integrated care, primary care settings, i think is crucial. it all needs to be funded. thank you so much for your work on this. >> thanks, senator cornyn, senator whitehouse? >> thank you, chairman. thanks to everyone for being here. i want to begin by remarking on the action that my home state has just taken. rhode island gentle ascending as is prepared to pass the final big budget bill that is the conclusion of the legislative year. has just banned large capacity magazines. has just raised at the age to 21 to buy firearms or ammunition. and has just banned open carry of loaded rifles and shotguns.
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which seem like pretty reasonable interventions. i believe they're actually gun clubs with ranges where the range safety officer won't let you use a large capacity magazine. that seems like a pretty reasonable accommodation. we don't allow people under 21 to buy beer, so why do they need to buy firearms and ammunition is hard to explain. particularly in the wake of what we've seen recently. for the life of me, i can't imagine, as a gun owner myself, while you need to open carry a loaded long gun around in this society. i think we are seeing some signs of progress at the state level. i wanted to ask chief williams, i've spent a lot of years i've prosecutor involved with the mystic violence.
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one of the things we learned and the domestic violence context, the impact on young people, simply a being witness to domestic violence in the home. i see you nodding. we've learned a lot about that. our domestic violence community has developed, i think, very good interventions for that. could you tell me what you think the lessons are that we learned and a domestic violence contacts from children who are witness to violence, domestic violence, at home. for the children who are witness to even more ghastly demonstrations of violence in their schools, with these massacres, in which the damage to their classmates, friends is
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so great that dna is required to identify the remains. >> senator, thank you for that question. as we all know, domestic violence plays a role in everything that we all do, from local law enforcement, to what you all do here. children seeing trauma, children normalizing trauma, children witnessing trauma, i'm sure the doctor would say this also creates a vicious cycle of violence. -- that is the norm. as a society, we owe it to them, as previously mentioned, providing those services to those kids early and quickly and consistently. it shouldn't be a one stop shop where you go in for care, all of a sudden your healed, that does not happen. as far as violence in school, we know that violence happens in school. it is obvious. it is evident. we need to provide those resources from a trauma informed standpoint also to the students as well as the parents as well as the educators. thank you for the question. >> doctor, i wanted to go to
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you with the same question. you obviously, in emergency, rooms see the children who are brought in whose bodies have been torn apart by these weapons and the ammunition that they discharge. that leaves all of the classmates who are not physically injured what are your recommendations in advice to this committee regarding what sort of impact, what they have witnessed, has on the classmates who are not physically injured. and what we need to do to provide supports for those kids and for their families. thank you for that question, senator whitehouse. we know the impact of trauma on the brain of any kind. some worse than others, we know shootings or other horrific events on a day-by-day basis
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like interpersonal violence that the back part of the brain, the limback system scans for danger. they become hypervigilant and very frightened. they sometimes erupt very quickly, the front part of the brain which helps us to make judgment and rational decisions is less well functioning after trauma. we also know there are wasted -- and numerous evidence based trauma informed and mental health informed things we can use to provide support for family and children who have experienced trauma. >> thank you senator whitehouse, senator booker. thank you very much, mister chairman. doctor szilagyi i thank you for your commentary, i thank mr.
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willingham and i appreciate what it is like to live in a community where you are afraid. i know you have a feeling like i do, you have known young people who have died. i have watched kids who i watched grow up, and i am tired of seeing sidewalk shrines with teddy bears and candles around my neighborhood. it is the horror of the family losing a child but the entire community suffers. we. in communities like mine where the fourth of july is coming up, i know what will happen when fireworks are going off. parents will tell me stories about their kids hiding under beds, calling the police, hiding in closets, and you see what's that constant cortisol pumping the brain does to their development, to their directions with others. we had a kid bring a gun to school in my city just last
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week, not because he was seeking to hurt anybody but because he thought he needed it for protection. i have been championing a bill for a long time and included it in the build back better program called break the cycle of violence acts. it is for community violence intervention, and compromises some resources. i really appreciated the testimony of mrs. swearer of we should follow the evidence. the data from places like oakland are amazing of how much we can drop violence. for instance, funding for hospital based violence intervention programs, mediation, social services make a difference. and so i was wondering if you could affirm that. again, we talk about the, guns which i want to talk about but
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we know that for the mental health and for the well-being, and for communities that are grappling with this there are other approaches that show massive reductions of violence. >> thank you for that question, senator booker. i think they all have a common thread running through them, there are evidence based interventions that are showing tremendous success. i think the common thread comes out of the science of resilience. we know when the brain gets flooded by a hormone called oxytocin where there is a positive relationship in a child's life or a positive support group, that activates the relationship or the affiliation network of the brain. that is as much a rail network as a trauma network if we want to think about it that way. it gives us great cause for optimism that we have these various interventions that we can have proven in science.
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that are probably working through that network and that can really help the child's brain develop in a way that leads them towards becoming the kind of person mr. willingham and yourself have become, even though you have grown up in neighborhoods that people may have low at their expectations for. >> what fear does to a community, not to mention the economic impact, i remember we had a shooting at an i hop who canceled their night shift, people lost jobs, it is a horrific thing that it does to our communities. mr. swearer i think you would be surprised at how much we agree on policy wise, i agree with you, you mentioned schools and in my community it is great that parents have choices from public charter schools, magnet schools, you name it. i agree with you on focusing on violence. these assault weapons, which i would like to see bans on are a very small percentage of the
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killings. the young man i saw grow up got killed at the top of my block was an assault weapon, the officer told me it was like their head exploded. i am concerned about those weapons. i agree with you about following the policy interventions that are going to yield us the biggest reduction in violence. one question i have to ask. i am in agreement with a lot of your testimony but i do not understand when i hear the arguments from friends of mine and colleagues of mine that do not think it is the guns because england has the same mental health problems, i lived there for two years. horrible suicide rates with their kids, canada as well but people do not die of gun violence. it has to be the guns to some point, the easy access to guns. i agree with you, in my time as mayor of newark law-abiding gun owners were not committing crimes. it was people getting easy access to guns. to have a picture that paints
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doing something in this country about the guns seems to be a little incomplete, wouldn't you agree? >> to an extent i would agree, it is about doing something about the guns that are actually causing problems in the hands of people who are committing violent offenses. i think we would agree overwhelmingly it is not about broad measures in the hands of law abiding citizens. which is why it is important to do things like combat the very robust market for black weapons we have in this country. i agree, a senator, there is a lot that you and i do agree on. it is not that it is not about firearms, i would point out we have a pretty significant problem with non firearm homicide in this country as well. which is why i have to address that. >> i have to be respectful to my colleagues, i am way of my time. one thing i will say, is when i wyoming got over their gun licensing shootings went up 25%, when connecticut put gun licensing in the data shows a
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40% drop in shooting. 15% drops in suicides. to me, i want to follow the data, and the ease of access to guns. a gun in the house, even a law-abiding citizen just having a gun in the house increases the likelihood that their children were commit suicide with it. dramatically. i am all for following the data but we have to admit that the facts and the data that we have points to solutions that are being called from both sides of the aisle. it also points to something like the ease of access of guns. >> thank you, senator booker. senator -- >> thank you, mister chairman. these recent attacks on students at robb elementary school in uvalde, texas, as well as patrons at the top's grocery store in buffalo, new york. the christmas parade attendees in waukesha, wisconsin. and, students and teachers at marjory stoneman douglas high school in parkland, florida. these are unthinkable tragedies. the aftermath of each of these
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tragedies we go through a number of processes. we mourn, we cry, we pray, we express our condolences for those who have lost loved ones. we attempt to assess what went wrong and to fix any failures of policy. or oversight by law enforcement or the society that might have allowed these heart-wrenching and got churning tragedies to occur. unfortunately politics often gets in the way, every time a tragedy like this occurs there are a number who immediately demand the same gun control proposals that many have pushed for decades, while simultaneously attempting to defund police in the schools. people who have been hurt by these proposals are not those for children and save schools. they tried to have criminals
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convicted of gun crimes obtain firearms. more than half of the number was 56%. it obtained the weapon illegally. to really address this rise in behavior we need to look at what is causing males in our society to become so isolated and socially detached. if you commit these unspeakable and unthinkable horse. we need to look at not just what caused the tragic school shootings like uvalde and parkland. also what is causing the massive increase in violent crime in our cities and across our country. including our nation's capital, cities like san francisco, and chicago. if we take a look at it i think you might find that there are contributing factors that include both cultural issues and policy issues. cultural issues might include, among other things, broken families, bullying,
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glorification and obsession with violence in news and entertainment media. obsession with social media, and loss of community connection. policy issues might include things like the anti bail policies of prosecutors. covid lockdowns, failure to enforce our laws. and school policy is instructing teachers and administrators to look the other way when students display disturbing and potentially. . i would like to start with you, my deepest condolences go out to you. in connection with the loss of your son. i applaud your efforts to make our schools safer. i support the loop and alex safe schools act. it has been proposed in response to your great work. thank you for that. following the shooting at
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marjory stoneman douglas high school way found that the shooter displayed incredibly troubling and violent behavior. and yet, notwithstanding that behavior which had been observed by a number of people familiar with him they found that instead of being reported to authorities and removed from the school, or otherwise put in some type of program that might have led to a different outcome. the school officials he had the behavior from law enforcement, did not report, it hit it. brush it under the rug. why would schools hide? why would they go to such lengths to hide violent behavior? why would they not just report this troubled and violent individual to law enforcement? or otherwise take action? >> thank you, senator. there are a lot of issues that you talked about, there. i think that the solution to
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connecting all of these dots. number one, you had a massive problem, there were silos of information and the parkland murderer was extremely violent. he committed over 55 different disciplinary incidents in school and law enforcement was at his house over 40 times. law enforcement did not know what was happening in the school, this school did not what was happening outside of the school. it is really connecting those dots. that is why senator grassley's bill is so critical. the eagles act, it really authorizes the u.s. secret services national threat assessment center. which are the ones that are doing this work of connecting the dots through the behavioral set assessment. if the behavioral threat assessments are done correctly you have a lot of great outcomes. a couple of them are reduced suspensions, exclusionary discipline, bullying, racial
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disparities, and school arrests. which is what we all want. even more importantly, if you are doing these threat assessments correctly and property, and with fidelity which did not happen in parkland. parkland did a threat assessment on the parkland murderer in 2016, completely botched it. this assistant principal who did the threat assessment had never done one in his 30 year career. he did not know where the paperwork was. did not know how to fill it out. we are seeing the same things in oxford high school, we are going to see a lot of the best in all of these horrible tragedies because we know these individuals do not just snap overnight. they exhibit concerning behavior ahead of time and that is why. if we can pass the eagles act that will reauthorize a secret services action threat assessment center to do what they are doing and teach more school districts to do threat
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assessments properly. because if we can do that we can stop mass shootings in schools. not only that, the goal of a threat assessment is to get these individuals the help they need. if we can do that we can have productive members of society and make the entire country safer in the long. thank, you senator lee, -- >> thank you very much, mister chairman. i want to join you and thanking our colleagues on the committee who have worked on this framework. i also want to thank mr. willing ham, and you mr. schachter to come forward. and believing that you can save other lives other kids lives after the tragedy that you have experienced. mr. schachter, after parkland center, hatch and i lead the effort for some funding. i think it was like 100 million, it wasn't enough, it was significant. for schools.
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some of that is still going out there to the schools. more needs to be done. i want to focus on part of the framework which, does interact, as under worker has pointed out, with kids. and that is the closing of the boyfriend loophole. every year, more than 600 american women are shot to death by intimate partner. that's one shot to death every 14 hours. i want you to picture that number, 600 every single year. we know for a fact by looking at the numbers that preventing domestic viewers from buying a gun helps to save lives. these are convicted domestic abusers. currently, federal law only prohibits domestic abusers from buying a gun if they are formerly married or currently married, or live together, or have a child. and i know you know this, chief. but half of the women killed by intimate partners are dating partners, romantic partners, they don't fit into those nice
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little categories set out in the law. that's why 19 states, including my state, have taken the common sense action to close the boyfriend loophole. senate grassley had a hearing on this, even the most conservative witnesses were in favor of this piece of our bill. in the states. that is closed loop and we have seen a 13% reduction in intimate partner harm asides involving firearms. this is one thing, it is clearly not the only thing, as all of you know from the losses you've seen. the bill was introduced, i read it in 2013, i've been reading it ever since, that's a long time. i want to thank century hirono for joining me in the bill. and also a few years later, congresswoman dingell introduced a companion to it. so i want to ask about the ways, first of all, that this affects kids. first is obvious. oftentimes, when domestic abusers will shoot their partner, kids are also killed
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in the crossfire, or injured in the crossfire. the chief is nodding her head. the second way, of course, is just the impact it has on their lives growing up in such a home. when i was county attorney, i had a picture right outside my door. it was a poster of a woman beaten up with a band-aid over her nose holding a little baby in her arms. the words read, beat your wife, it's your son that goes to jail. just to make that point. so many of the kids that grew up in those homes and up getting involved in crime or domestic abuse themselves. you noted, doctor selassie, in your written testimony the oftentimes childhood trauma as a route of later acts of violence. can you talk about how closing this loophole would help? >> thank you, senator, for that question. a it would really help if we
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could identify children and families at risk early. this is really incumbent upon us as pediatricians. we meet families early. it's also incumbent on anybody who works with children and families. i think if we can get the right supports in place for children early, there is evidence showing that we can improve the sense of safety in the home. we can decrease the violence in the home. removing the person who is being violent is certainly one very important way to do that. we can use the parent child relationship to rebuild the child's sense of safety and decrease the impact of trauma on the brain, it moves the child out of their fight and flight brain. into their learning and thinking. >> thank you very much. one last question, chief williams, i remember one of our police officers in lake city,
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minnesota, who went to a domestic violence seen. had on his bulletproof rest by a very severely mentally ill young man who was abusing his girlfriend. who was very young. just shot him in the head when it came to the door, the officer, at the funeral, three little kids, a little girl the blue dress with stars on it. walking down the aisle. the church was only three of it is that -- brad that had snow that had sat in front row watching his kids in the native of the play. something you don't forget. could you quickly talk about some of the dangers that law enforcement officers face when responding to a domestic violence call. and how those dangers are amplified wooden abuser's arms? >> thank you very much for that question, senator. i can give you practical example that happened in phoenix. very clearly, a boyfriend shot and killed his girlfriend inside. and then lured phoenix police officers to the door, shot five, injured four others. one of the largest scale events that we've had, because of a domestic violence incident. this is troubling.
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it is real, it is impacting not just the children in our community but our officers are being traumatized, impacted, shot as well. >> thank you, i did not know about that story. i think you see similar stories across the country. it just shows that there is not just one victim in domestic abuse, there is the family surrounding that victim, and then there is the entire community including police officers. thank you, i'm just really thankful that we are finally advancing this bill. i think it's going to make a big difference in these types of cases. thanks to you, chief. >> senator coons? >> thank you chairman, dermot. i'd like to thank my colleague senator klobuchar for her long work on closing the boyfriend loophole. and to thank the other colleagues i have on this committee, and other committees. senator murphy, center corner, and many others who are working to move forward. mr. willing ham, mr. schachter, your personal testimonies of loss and tragedy are what is propelling this body to act.
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more funerals than weddings. to hear your stories of your father, your brother, your best friends being victims of gun violence is just another part of the wave of contacts, calls, emails testimony that we've all gotten. in the months since the horrific attacks in buffalo and uvalde, i have been flooded with messages from constituents begging for change and demanding congress do something. i've heard from law enforcement, from pediatricians, from children, from educators, from parents who have been impacted by violence. let me just briefly share two things i've heard. don hall school social worker, and the brandy when school district says she sees to kids every day afraid to go out of their home or attend school because they fear if they go out they won't return. tracy mans murphy, known to me as the executive director of the delaware coalition against gun violence, told me that communities as well as individuals experience trauma
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from gun violence and the invisible wounds on communities scar generations. doctor, your testimony amplifies that same point. we can't allow this carnage to continue to traumatize children, families, whole communities. whether it's daily gun violence in our streets, whether it's horrible losses through suicide, or it's mass shootings. that seem to rebut the attach of the country. i am glad to be working with 20 colleagues on a framework. i think this package of reforms does it move every solution we hope, it makes progress on the number of them that my colleagues have worked on for years. it will save lives. i was glad to my congressional delegation to deliver a 2 million dollar spending investments in community violence intervention programs at wilmington, delaware, where i'm from. i'm excited to see the support for president biden's request for millions more for similar community balance in prevention programming's. i've also been proud to work with chairman german and
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senator broker on the preventing in addressing trauma with health services. the pups act -- for communities experiencing trauma from gun violence. lynn we ask two quick questions, if i might. mr. willing and, there's been a lot of discussion about mental health solutions to prevent gun violence. i'd also like to focus on the mental health needs of those who have been indirectly impacted, who are the family members, community members. what kinds of services or programs do you think congress to support to help children who've experienced gun violence? >> thank you, senator coons, the question. thank you for just acknowledging that the secondhand trauma that family friends, community members face is definitely important. it often gets pushed aside and neglected. i think programs a such like i
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mentioned in my testimony, the chicago youth program for example, many other graduates have gone on and graduated from the program, gone on to do great things in life. programs like that that ensure not only that young people have something to do in their spare time, but also ensure that you have the resources, you have the network if you are unsure about things or you need certain things at home. if you need extra resources for a school supplies. if you need extra resources for clothing. different things like that. these are things that go in a young person's mind. if they're wearing shoes from target and another student is running shoes from foot locker. those types of things go into young people's minds every single day. i hear, as i work in the school, i'm not too far out of high school. i know firsthand about how it feels. programs as such like sacagawea use program definitely has made
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an impact on my life specifically. being able to have not only just the physicians and different health care professionals to look up to, considering that's the career i want to go into. also having them as a resource to talk to you about different situations in my neighborhood it. the accessibility to social workers and mental health professionals that can guide and steer in the direction to make sure that i'm staying on the right track. i hope that answers your question. >> and investing in both school based community based resources is something we're looking to do. mr. schachter, i appreciate hearing about some of the school safety initiatives that you are advocating for that i will consider more seriously. chief, if i might briefly give -- could you speak briefly to how gun violence prevention solutions allowing law enforcement to seek a crisis intervention order could be a critical part of community policing interventions to prevent further galas? >> thank you for that question,
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senator coons. quite frankly, i've been one to stand up and say it quite often. the blue suit, the uniform, whatever color uniformed officers wearing is not the right uniform to respond to a mental health crisis. that's why communities, churches, faith-based, you name it we, need those resources available to keep the law enforcement officers available and accessible for violent crime issues, versus mental health issues. the chiefs association is definitely an advocate of creating those opportunities for those resources. thank you. >> thank you, thank you mister chair. >> senator coons, senator blumenthal? >> thanks, mister chairman. thank you to you for your leadership on this issue. and in many of my judiciary committee colleagues. on both sides of the aisle, as you mentioned. mister chairman, i know there has been discussion about the need to intervene and take action when there are warning
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signs. so often, there are warning signs. the so-called red flags. the evidence of an emergency risk that justify a court order to separate a person from again when he says he's going to kill himself or others. i am very sympathetic to the eagles act in its objection of training school officials to identify and intervene. two other measures that i want to say i think are important to keep in mind. perhaps support. at the core of protecting people from those shooters who may kill or injure themselves
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or others is the idea that they have to be separated. from the firearm. there has to be some kind of authorization, a court order, after the process, after evidence based testimony. that's why florida's red flag law alone which has been used more than 8000 times has been effective in saving lives. and why i believe so strongly that the proposal that senator graham and i have worked on over the years, we've modified it for this proposal really has to be integral to moving forward. just keep in mind, red flag orders can only be temporary at both the emergency stage and after a hearing, notice, opportunity to be heard. it can only be brought by
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certain individuals, such as law enforcement,, it can only be issued by judges who determined the need for them. based on evidence in court. without this kind of court intervention, the identification is going to fall short of stopping the killing. i am hopeful that we can move forward with this package. i'm very clear eyed about the obstacles still to be overcome and the work ahead of us. we are on a very tight time schedule. and hopeful that we can land a package that truly saves lives. it will be everything he wants, or everything we need. it will be a start. we could build on and demand more.
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people should demand more. more than what is in this package. let me -- by the way, demanding more means self safe storage. let me ask you, chief williams, i have long been an advocate of ethan's law. which would provide for safe storage. unfortunately, it is not in this package. it is a proposal that can save thousands of lives. ethan's law must be on our agenda. would you agree? >> thank you for that question, senator. we at the embassy ca agree that safe storage is definitely a component and making sure that there is responsible gun ownership as well as keeping the guns not being accessible to young people and juvenile. >> do you agree that a red flag or emergency risk protection order statute or crisis
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intervention that is ordered by a court is important in saving lives? >> thank you that question also, senator. yes, we do it concur with the red flag laws as well. >> mr. chapter, i appreciate your leadership on both the eagles and the loop and alex act. do you view those as compatible with a red flag or emergency risk order statute? >> a hunter percent, senator. the threat assessment and the eagles act is the first component of getting all the stakeholders together to figure out what's going on with this individual. and then to get them the help they need. the red flag law as one of the tools in their tool belt that they use. so, the threat assessment is done first to investigate, bring all the stakeholders together, bring all the information together, to connect the dots. and then if we need, then you have the red flag law to remove
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that weapon from that dangerous individual. they work hand in glove together. the very important that they are together. absolutely, i agree with you, thank you for everything you during. >> thank you very much. i appreciate the advocacy and the insights of everybody on this panel. i think we are in a very different political environment where people on both sides are heeding the american peoples demand and plea to do something. i think your point, mr. schachter, is very important for my colleagues to understand. before the eagles law, look at alex la, and view it as neutrally supportive. >> together. >> thank you. >> thanks, senator blumenthal, senator leahy? >> thank you, chair. i state the obvious, it's been a heavy month for our country.
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may 14th, murder ten and buffalo but abide by our racist conspiracy theory. ten days later mass shooting that claimed the lives of 19th fourth graders, to teachers and uvalde. just days after you've all day, even more mass shootings, scenes of carnage. every corner of america. our children and grandchildren having their lives cut short by gun violence. it's unacceptable reality in our country. firearms or become the leading cause of death among children. the infallible reality in our country. something other countries do not have to face. i think it's time that everybody acknowledges the at reality and does something about it. protecting the lives of our children and grandchildren, this shouldn't be a matter of a debate or disagreement. there is hope on the rise.
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agreement on the bipartisan package and bills that begin to address gun violence in this country. it's a good start. i wish it went further. i know how difficult it was when we get there. particularly encouraged the agreement of -- the stop illegal trafficking and firearms, which i've been working on for the last ten years. with senator durbin and senator collins. this bipartisan legislation will help combat straw purchasing. -- all over the country is important. i know there is no single answer. we have to do better for our children. when i was a prosecutor, every time there was a shooting, there resulted in a death, i went to the sea. weather is 3:00 in the morning or 3:00 in the afternoon.
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i've never gotten those scenes out of my mind. i can recount every single one of them, every second, every single thing i saw. and that was a tiny fraction of what we are seeing today. chief williams, thank you for your testimony. on behalf of the major cities chief association. -- that wants to ensure federal prosecutors can hold straw purchases accountable. i hear that from the place of my state. what's kind of, tell us about the dangers, the real dangers these straw purchases create. >> thank you to that question, senator. at the end of the day, as i previously mentioned, i have had nine officers shot in six months. these individually shooting by officers are not legally purchasing firearms. they are purchasing them illegally, whether it be straw purchases, ghost guns, you name it. it is creating a dynamic that's
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not just impacting the youth and the young people in our community, it's impacting law enforcement. if i may, you mentioned the trauma that you are recalling as you go to those seams. imagine being a police officer having to go to that instance, those scenes involving yourself and your fellow officers as well as victims of domestic violence and other victims of gun violence. it is a problem, it is something that needs to be addressed. the fcc a strongly advocates for strong prosecution in those cases as well. thank you, sir. >> are you finding that there are drug gangs that use these draw purchases? >> thanks for that question, senator. as you previously mentioned about violence, it's a multitude and multi faceted. yes, gangs, yes, drugs, yes, trying to complete a transaction. that's definitely happening in our communities. >> thank you. mr. willing him, i watched your
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testimony earlier. i was struck by your testimony about attending more funerals than weddings as a young person in chicago. you fear being shot if you stay close to home. i understand pursuing a future as a physician. my wife is a medical surgical nurse. i have a great deal appreciation for those who take jobs in the medical field, doctor, including you. what's the main message you want to leave with us. if there is one thing you want every member of congress to hear, what do you hope your life story tells us? >> thank you for the question. just so i'm i have a clear understanding, in terms of my life story, or in terms of the message that i want to live -- >> the message you want to leave. >> well, if i could to start
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off by saying as chief williams mentioned, gun violence and violence itself is i multi faceted issue. there are multiple ways to tackle it. multiple avenues that we can take. mental health is definitely a big concern and has been. especially through the pandemic. however i don't think that mental health, it's a problem, i don't think that it's the core problem of the, why gun violence is so prevalent. the problem is committee members, the mental health professionals that are residents in communities that are suffering from gun violence, all look like you. they don't look like me, they
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don't look like other people of color that have been through mental health trauma. they look like you. you guys that our esteemed, coming with affluent backgrounds, they don't look like me, people who can attest second had a test and have faced that sort of trauma. in addition to laser station revolving around gun control, we need more mental health professionals, not just mental health professionals, mental health professionals that, one, looks like the people that they're serving. how does it look that a person that doesn't look like me can come and tell me something about gun violence. and you've never experienced it. you don't know the first thing about gun violence. you don't know the first thing about how it feels to be affected by it. you're not living in the community. you have never dealt with it. that's the message that i want to leave on today, senator. thanks very question. >> i understand senator --
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is in agreement to go next. >> thank, you mister chairman. thank you senators padilla in crews for allowing bat. reflecting and preparing for this hearing. i thank our panelists for your testimony. my wife and i welcomed a baby daughter into the world in december. she is just past her six month. my appreciation for the extraordinary heart wrenching, unimaginable pain of those who lose their children. has been magnified and deeply affected by the experience of parenthood. so whether it's the parents of those killed in texas, or the parents of the children taken from us, taken from all of us,
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all of their potential extinguished, their lives of limitless possibility cut short. the pain of parents every day losing children to gun violence. now the number one cause oh yeah for american till children, babies, is profound. i thank you all for being here. i'm going to take my remaining time and read into the record. some statement of experience by doctors in the state of georgia. who have treated babies and children who are victims of gun violence. this is submitted by dr. sally goza of fayetteville, a general pediatrician. the mom loaded her three children in the car to go to
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the dentist one morning. on the way she heard a pop. looked in the rearview mirror, and saw her three year old slumped over with a gun in her hands. she had found a gun left by her dad's friend under the seat. and shot herself in the head. these submitted by dr. doctor bdm allude, atlanta georgia. quote, i lost a sweet six year old one day. she and her younger brother were waiting in the car as their mother worked under the hood trying to figure why the car wouldn't start. as curious children do, the four year old boy got bored and jumped out of his car seat. he found a loaded handgun in the glove box and unwillingly fired it. hitting his sister director through the right eye. i did cleared her breath dead just a few days after she
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arrived. while the family still reeling from a loss of their child. their worry over the effect of this tragedy would have on the brother. she continues. one night, i was alerted to a trauma being flown in. a seven year old boy had been shot while playing in his front yard. he was simply too sick to survive. his heart had stopped multiple times. the lack of oxygen irreparably damaged his organs. when his heart finally stopped for the last time, his mother screamed and begged me to bring him back. the whole team cried as we told her there is nothing more we could do. she continues. i remember the nine month old baby who underwent a hand in brain surgery in the same night. she was riding in a car, her mother, when the car was sprayed with bullets. she had her tiny hand in the air. the bullet went through her hand uninterrupted. she probably saved her own life.
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the bullets trajectory went through her brain, but missed the most important structures. she survived but was significant neurological deficits. i really, mister chairman, command the senators leading these bipartisan efforts. i pray that we will get a result that saved the lives of babies and children in this country. thank you all for being with us. i yield. >> thank you, senator. senator cruz. >> thank you. thank you to the witnesses for being here today. all of us are horrified. at the mass murders we see unfolding across the country.
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mass murders in schools, mass murders and churches, mass murders in large cities across the country. day after day and week after week. i believe everyone on this committee wants to prevent those murders. in texas, we've seen these horrific acts of evil. i was in uvalde the day after the shooting. i've seen the agony of the parents, of the teachers, of the school officials, of the law enforcement, of the grandparents of the entire
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community. torn to pieces. i was in santa fe within about an hour of that horrific mass murder. either was in sutherland springs the day after that horrific shooting. i stood in the beautiful sanctuary law and saw the chaos, saw the pews thrown to the side, saw the blood still pooled. we are innocent people had been murdered. innocent people down to an 18 month toddler. shot and killed. i saw shattered cell phones covered in blood. i was in el paso, i was in midland, odessa, i was in dallas. over and over again, we have
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seen these horrific crimes. whenever they happen there is a call that predictably comes out. a call of do something. listen, i agree with that call. i agree we need to do something. but i also believe we need to do something that actually will work. that will stop the next mass murder. that will keep people safe. i don't want to have to see another parent, like mr. schachter who lost his son,. and far too many others have experience. it is the worst nightmare for any parent. if we want to stop these murders, we know the approach that actually works. the approach that actually works is twofold. number one, focus on the bad guys. focus on the criminals.
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focus on the felons, fugitives, and those with serious mental illness that try to illegally by firearms. prosecute them and, put them in jail. get them off the streets. it also means that when people carry out crimes with firearms, prosecute them and lock them up. make it a priority, you bring it down to the crime, you are doing a hard time. get the trigger pullers off the streets. and then secondly, and handsome safety and security of vulnerable targets. especially schools, since columbine, one after another dark twisted monster has decided the way he can achieve what he thinks is immortality is go and murder little children.
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i will note that i make it a policy never say the names of any of these shooters, i encourage every member of the committee, every member of the press, these evil masters deserve to be forgotten forever. we can do a lot more to make our schools are safe there. mr. schachter, thank you for your efforts. which in common sense legislation to make school safer. make the legislation your fighting for make a lot of the sounds. repeatedly, i've introduced legislation to go after the criminals. to go after the felons and fugitives and those with serious mental illness to prosecute them in the illegally by firearms. to get them off the street. to prosecute the gun criminals. and to provide resources to schools. to make schools safer. do you install safety equipment in schools. you and i sat down, mr. schachter, in my office we talked about how frustrating, how maddening it is that schools we keep seeing the same
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pattern and over and over again. the monster in parkland went through a lot a lock back door. the monster and santa fe went through an unlocked sock backed. are the monster in uvalde went through an open back door. we keep having the same vulnerabilities. not fixing them. repeatedly, i've introduced legislation to provide funding to put security equipment in and on campus in the most important security tool we can have is armed law enforcement on campus. and uvalde, if that door had been locked and shut, if there had been a single entrance like we had at a bank, like we have it a federal building, if there had been armed police officers at that single entrance when that monster arrived, those police officers could have stopped him, could have shot him, could've killed him before he murdered 19 students and two teachers. i hope and pray that finally this time we won't see partisan posturing.
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we won't see politicians trying to disarm law-abiding citizens. we'll come together and say let's focus on what works. let's focus on the bad guys. let's make our schools safe. thank you. >> thank, you mister chair. if i observed accurately, i might be the last senator to ask some questions. and then we as variant of an extra minute or two to not just questions but begin by addressing mr. willing him. i see you. i hear you. i feel you. i appreciate the observation you made a few moments ago about the the senators up here on the dais, by a large, ivory. this committee has done a tremendous amount of work and diversifying the federal judiciary to confirm nominees to the federal bench that are
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much more diverse than has been the case the past. to bring important perspectives, not just from a gender ethnic perspective, but professional experience, life experience. many of us are actively working to overtime further and better diversify the united states senate in congress as a whole to bring more perspectives and life experience. i share yours. when i get home, i invite you to google deployment california 1980s. that's where i grew up. if you really want me to describe it, years ago there was this movie boys in the hood. you might have heard about it. more recently, santa compton, i did not grow up in compton. just watch those opening scenes. you'll get a flavor for where and how i grew up. just so you know, that perspective is present up here. on the dais. mister chair, as you know, i talk about it often, i'm not just here as the united states senator. i'm here as a father. of three school age children.
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so, my heart remains broken for the families and the friends of the victims in uvalde texas. as you continue to learn more about how law enforcement responded to the active shooter and more about the school security apparatus. there's a lot to unpack there still. we cannot let that distract from the underlying issues of unfettered access to guns. that's why i too am encouraged by the -- that's being made on a bipartisan basis here in the senate. and look forward to supporting the legislative framework that was announced this last week. among other things, will close the boyfriend loophole that senator klobuchar talked about. invest significantly in mental health. i have a question on that here in a minute. and also in-house background checks for buyers under the age of 21 among other things. senator murphy, on our side of the aisle, has done a
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tremendous job. i want to give credit to senator cornyn who spoke earlier for leading the republican side of these negotiations. we do owe it. not just to the community of uvalde in the families there, before the communities across the country who have for too long been impacted by senseless gun violence. we owe it to them to take action. but i am confident we will achieve here in the days a couple weeks ahead will still leave us with more work to do. it will still leave us with more work to do. my first question is were guards to access to guns. over the years, we've seen a growing threat posed by at-home kits used by many to build untraceable guns. we talked a lot about retailers, how old you have to be, background checks, et cetera. but ghost guns are a growing challenge. less than one week after the tragedy and uvalde, a 16-year-old boy was arrested in
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berkeley, california, my home state, falling reports that he was attempting to recruit students to attack a local high school. upon searching his home, officers found parts to build rifles, they found explosives, and various knives. all of which he had legally obtained. shortly thereafter, officers also arrested a 17-year-old boy in the county for threatening to shoot up a school and being in possession of a ghost gun. a question, chief williams, i see you nodding, is for you. in your written testimony, you say that congress must ensure that law enforcement has the tools and authorities it needs to mitigate the threat posed by privately manufactured firearms. besides establishing a penalty for obtaining a ghost gun, what else would you urge congress to do. >> thank you for that question. it's a very good question. we have a strong partnership
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with the alcohol tobacco firearms, the atf, local law enforcement, because of our resources that we don't have, we have to engage more with the atf. marvin rich and said, if i may with other record, it's been an amazing lead in that cause. would i would advocate in answering your question is creating dynamics where we are able to as law enforcement trace those ghost guns and trace those parts that go to make the ghost guns. and once that tracing happens, be able to link that person and strongly prosecute them. >> thank you and i have some follow-up on that topic. i do want to just add for the record that california is one of the states that does have an assault weapons ban. that is seeking to raise the age of being able to purchase a firearm from 18 to 21. and other protections. as a result, there's 8.5 gun deaths per 100,000 population in the state of california.
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38% less than the natural average which is 13.7. a partially 40% less than it is in texas, where at 14.2. yes, smart gun safety laws do work. they're not as effective as they can be when it's only state by state. we need federal protections. by the way, californians are 25% less likely to die in mass shootings. the other issue i wanted to raise, mister chair, is in regards to mental health. now, i have to confess, when i heard the framework that was announced last weekend, without a assault weapons ban, without a ban on large capacity magazines, such an emphasis on mental health, i paused initially. in a time where statistically averaging over one mass shooting a day. more mass chains in america this year than days on the calendar. we have to pause and consider
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the trauma inducing affects of these weapons. and the violence that they create have on our children and our communities. especially following school shootings. doctor szilagyi, your organization join others and declaring a national state of emergency in children's mental health last year. among the list of the recommendations, you all released a call to introduce federal funding so we're better able to screen, diagnose, and treat mental health needs of children. can you discuss specifically how this would benefit children who've been exposed to gun violence? >> thank you very much, for that question, senator padilla. yes, we did declare a national health emergency in children's mental health. and declared bias for the american academy of child an acid lesson psychiatry and the children's hospital association. mental health problems are an epidemic proportions among our
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youth. they've only been getting worse. increased funding so that we can diversify our workforce, as mr. willing have noted, train and educate the current workforce we do have to do this work a little bit differently in a trauma informed way. in a way that is culturally humble. so we can use the tools that are out there. there are evidence based tools for screening an assessment for diagnosis. evidence based interventions for treatment. for families that we do identify or children we do, identify are struggling and have difficulties. i would also just like to point out that those with mental health problems are far more likely to be victims of violence then to perpetrate violence. and that the forensic analysis done in 2019 looking back at
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all the mass shootings in america back to 1966 found that 100% and those who perpetrated mass shootings in schools all had significant trauma histories the grew up and violent homes they were abused and neglected they were bullied and they had a high level of community violence. some combination of those factors. i think having the right tools will help us. we also do need more funding for communities based health centers, as was noted today, school based mental health and integrated care and primary care settings. i think there are a lot of things we can do. i think everybody in this room knows that a complex problem doesn't have a simple solution. i think all the multipronged efforts around approved mental health services building safe schools, physically safe and emotionally safe, sensible gun
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laws and safe gun storage or all components of that. >> my wife manages a mental health advocacy so she educated me. and i thank you for your comments, mr. child, when you first had a framework i had to pause this such a focus on mental health it. was a crisis before the covid-19 pandemic. it's been made much more acute, particularly for young people over the last couple of years. and what more than convinced me to support the framework was an interview i saw, just a few days ago, one of the teachers that survived in uvalde, and for the life of me his name is escaping me at the moment. but when i saw him a national news, apologizing to the parents of the community and of all the to please forgive him. he did everything that he could win, after mass shootings for years and years and years, such
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a focus on mental health is used to focus to distract from the gun safety side of the conversation. mental health could, we have prevented is? could we have identified a troubled young person? i get it, that's part of a conversation that -- but i saw this teacher pouring his heart out and he said the parents of the children who died are going to need help. the children who survived are going to need help. the teachers who survived are going to detail. the whole community is going to need ongoing help. we need as many resources invested in all areas of mental health they described and more. and we hope we are on the verge of doing exactly that. thank you, mister chair. >> thank you, senator padilla. this hearing is come to a close. and i want to say that there is a request for statements to be entered in the record i. have a long list and without objection, they will be entered. i do want to note among those are hundreds of pediatricians,
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doctor, who are writing this committee, pleading with us. these other men and women who literally are responsible for the lives of these children and were called on in the most horrific circumstances to do their best to save their lives. what a grim reminder of the importance of this hearing and the grim reality of violence, gun violence, on our children across america. when we're talking about the leading cause of deaths of american kids, we cannot ignore the fact it's guns. that is a reality which we've acknowledged today. iran records to remain open for a week. any questions such a way which i hope you respond to any timely fashion. thanks to all of our witnesses again for coming. the hearing is adjourned.
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important role. sunday night, former baltimore sun reporter and author of gun barons talks about firearms and inventors of coal and the role they played in establishing our modern gun culture. >> once again we are facing these mass shootings. once again we are seeing the slaughter of innocents. we talk about the second amendment and individual rights in the united states. my book does not even mention the second amendment, but the notion of individual freedom and the devotion of the early colonists and the early revolutionaries to the individual firearms ownership comes through in the book. whatever steps this country takes in its efforts to control firearms, knowledge of the past and knowledge of the early history of the country and its relationship with firearms is
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