Skip to main content

tv   U.S. Senate Sens. Cornyn Blumenthal Cassidy on Gun Bill  CSPAN  June 25, 2022 4:25pm-5:05pm EDT

4:25 pm
from one side, and in you get your day in court and everybody's petrified of reversing the decision. so i think we want the same thing. my hope is that people will be very careful, because i would not want to see a day where we change and reverse justice in our system such that people are guilty until proven innocent. the bedrock of american jurisprudence is innocent until proven guilty. the burden is on the government, until we can make red flag laws consistent, we should reject them. >> senators john cornyn, >> blumenthal, and the cassidy spoke about the big aimed at reducing gun violence they supported the legislation and repeated the bill does not take guns away from law-abiding gun owners. president biden signed the
4:26 pm
legislation into law today. -- mr. cornyn: mr. president, tomorrow will mark one month since the tragic shooting in uvalde, texas, a high school dropout with a history of violence and mental health struggles, purchased two ar-15's within days turning 18, and he passed a background check. he then shot his own grandmother because she wanted him to go back into the classroom rather than drop out of school and then went to the robb elementary school through an unlocked door. he then opened fire on two fourth grade classrooms, killing 19 students and two teachers. the american people were shocked, outraged, and devastated by this attack and collectively asked, how can we
4:27 pm
prevent this from happening again? while the discussions surrounding this topic causes emotions to run high, and i understand why, for too long some politicians have tried to pit the right to live in a safe community against the iewnl right to keep -- constitutional right to keep and bare arms, they make it seem like the country can only have one, either the second amendment or safe schools and churches and grocery stores. and, of course, this is a false choice. law-abiding gun owners are not the problem. men and women who buy guns to protect themselves and their family, to hunt or engage in sports, they're not a public safety problem. following the shooting, i promised to do everything in my power to try to answer that call
4:28 pm
to do something. i don't believe in doing nothing in the face of what we saw in uvalde and we've seen in far too many communities. doing nothing is an abdication of our responsibility as representatives of the american people here in the united states senate. at the same time, i reiterated my bottom line, which is i would not support any provisions that infringed on the rights of law-abiding gun owners. again, they are not the problem. but i knew that this effort was about the art of the possible, looking at areas where we could agree and setting aside those areas where we could not. i was fortunate to find partners who were thoughtful and realistic about how we could pass this bill.
4:29 pm
i want to thank senators murphy, sinema, tillis, as well as a larger group of senators without whom this legislation would not be on the cusp of passage. thank you. thank you for not listening to the naysayers and the critics and those who would spew disinformation an outright -- and outright lies about what we're doing here, but stood up to the responsibility we all have as united states senators to do our very best to make progress, to try to answer the call in the face of these tragedies and try in the end to save lives, which is what this is all about. now, less than one month after the shooting inle uvalde, the senate will -- in uvalde, the senate will vote soon on the bipartisan safer communities act. this legislation will protect
4:30 pm
our schools, protect our communities and safeguard the second-amendment rights of law-abiding citizens. i've said it before and i'll say it again. no parent should ever fear for the safety of their child at school, and no child should be afraid to go to school in fear of their safety. and this legislation responds to that in a positive and an affirmative way. this bill includes targeted commonsense measures to prevent violence and to save lives while respecting our constitution. madam president, the dirty little secret is america is experiencing a mental health crisis. our mental health delivery system is a scandal. too many people are not getting the sort of attention and care they need in order to manage
4:31 pm
their mental health challenges. and many of them can be saved from the fate of salvador ram rs or adam lanza if they can get access to timely care and the medication that will help them manage their mental illness. so this bill will represent the single, largest investment in community-based mental health care in american history. that's huge. that's enormously important. and to me it may be the most important aspect of what we do here. so police officers answering a 911 call from somebody in a mental health crisis, they don't have to take that person to jail where they won't get help. they can take them to a community-based mental health delivery system, to a clinic. and a person experiencing a mental health crisis, they don't have to go to the emergency
4:32 pm
room. they can go to a clinic and get the sort of care and help they need in order to manage their condition, whatever it may be. this bill will also provide supportive services for our schools. our schools should be a sanity -- to be asanctuary, a sanctuarr children, not a place where they plan what will happen during the next shooting and how they can hide under their desks or try to make their escape. schools should be a sanctuary, and this bill will provide the kind of services that will help identify students in crisis and help intervene to provide them the assistance they need. this bill also provides major investments in school safety and security. it includes physical safety
4:33 pm
measures. we probably can't eliminate human error like we saw in uvalde, texas, but we can promulgate the best practices which we have done in this bill from the best minds based on evidence that what works and what does not to make sure we keep unauthorized visitors out of the hallways and the classrooms as well as evaluate current protocols and like i said, develop best practices. again, those who say we need to infringe on the rights of law-abiding citizens under the constitution in order to make good policy are offering a false choice. passing good public policy and supporting the constitution are not mutually exclusive. one of the ways we are providing assistance to the states is
4:34 pm
through crisis intervention grants which will provide the states with funding to implement programs to help those in crisis and prevent them from committing self-harm or harm to others. we have rejected the idea of a national red flag law, even though 19 states and the district of columbia have chosen to do that themselves. and one of the ways we can help is to make sure that these funds assist state officials in training them how to make sure that the due process rights of an individual are protected as they should be. this legislation also closes a gaping hole in background checks system which is the lack of juvenile records. this is a real challenge because most juvenile records ever sealed or expunged. but we know that salvador ramos who went in at 18 years old and
4:35 pm
passed a background check, he was a tic ticking time bomb. everybody knew he was struggling with his mental health challenges and he was slowly circling the drain because he didn't get the help that might have prevented his self-harm, not to mention the harm to others. but if a person's record includes a criminal conviction or mental health adjudication that prevents them from purchasing a firearm as an adult, it shouldn't matter whether they were 17 or 18 at the time. that information should be available on the national instant criminal background checks system and that's what this bill will encourage. our bill incentivizes the states to upload this information to ensure that disqualifying criminal convictions or mental health adjudications are available. unless a person is convicted of a crime or adjudicated as
4:36 pm
mentally ill, their second amendment rights will not be impacted by this legislation, period. let me close by saying i'm grateful to senator murphy who's been a good-faith partner. he'd like to do a lot of things in addition to what we've done here, but he was pragmatic and realistic enough to know if we were actually going to be successful, we weren't going to be able to do everything that he wanted. conversely, there were things that we did on our side that were outside of our comfort zone that frankly were having to explain to people, but that's the -- that's what a good-faith negotiation looks like. and again i think on balance, the good we are doing here and our -- the potential we have to save lives is worth any sort of concession we might have had to make during the negotiation.
4:37 pm
let me also express my gratitude to senator sinema, the senator from arizona, who's been a key partner in the negotiation as well as senator tillis, the senator from north carolina, but the truth is a lot of people were involved in this. and i want to thank all of our colleagues who helped us round out this legislation and make sure it delivers the benefits that we sought. we also worked with a variety of stakeholders from education to mental health groups to law enforcement as well as gun rights groups. i appreciate everybody who has helped us make this product better, and obviously we don't agree on a lot of things, but i'm encouraged about how much common ground we were able to find. our bill has earned the endorsement of more than 100 mental health and education groups, including the national alliance on mental illness and
4:38 pm
the national association of school psychologists. it's received the support of law enforcement organizations, including the fraternal order of police, the national sheriffs association, the national district attorneys association, and the major cities chief association. it's been backed by domestic violence groups, such as the national network to end domestic violence and the national coalition against domestic violence. i believe we have in the gallery tonight people who have suffered unthinkable losses of loved ones in some of these mass shooting incidents. but i wanted to tell them that their advocacy has turned their pain into something positive. i believe the best antidote for the sort of unthinkable loss
4:39 pm
that they have suffered is the knowledge that something good will come out of their trag tragedies, something that will save lives. this broad support for this legislation shows that it's a meaningful comprehensive response to the tragedies we've experienced. and i'm proud of what we've been able to do together. and i'm positive -- i'm very optimistic about the impact it will have on our sools and community -- schools and communities across the country. so thank you, colleagues, for working together in good faith in a bipartisan way. i think in one way we've demonstrated to people that our institutions can work. many have come to doubt whether we're capable of making our institutions work, including the world's greatest deliberative body, the united states senate. and we proved that we can when sufficiently inspired by the people in the gallery and others
4:40 pm
when they say do something, to come together and find common ground that will help keep our communities safer, protect our children, and save lives. i look forward to voting yes and moving this bill one step closer to the president's desk for signature. thank you, madam president. i yield the floor. a senator: madam president. the presiding officer: the senior senator from connecticut. mr. blumenthal: thank you, madam president. i want to thank my colleague and friend from texas as well as the team that worked with him, senators murphy, tillis, sinema, and all of us who worked with them. where he is surely right is that we have shown that democracy works, at least that it can work when people come together seeking common ground and
4:41 pm
responding to the overwhelming sense of urgency on the american people about solving a problem. and that democracy working stands in stark juxtaposition to the tableau on the other side of the congress, the house commission that is investigating the near overthrow of that democracy. so for all who are doubting and all who may have doubts in the future, we are providing some reassurance that we can get things done and solve problems. my mind goes back to watching that gallery almost ten years ago in the wake of the newtown tragedy, the unthinkable murder of 20 beautiful children and six brave educators at sandy hook
4:42 pm
elementary school. and when we fail to -- failed to take action then on a very modest improving the background checks system, we had 55 votes but not enough to reach 60, i will never forget the cry of shame, shame that came from that gallery. i remember the sandy hook families were in that gallery and at least two of them are here today, mark barredden -- barden and nicole hockley. today it's not only those families in the gallery, it is the movement that those families through their immeasurable grief and unthinkable trauma created in the wake of that unimaginable murder. that movement is here comprised of survivors and first responders, medical professionals, ed indicators --
4:43 pm
educators, advocates and so many others. and today when the united states senate passes the bipartisan safer communities act, we won't hear cries of shame. there will be cries of relief finally. i'm proud to have been part of the team that negotiated this measure and to have worked with colleagues on the other side of the aisle like senator cornyn. this is not the measure i fought for. it's not the measure i would have written if i'd been doing it alone, but it marks meaningful progress. if you wait to get everything in the united states senate, chances are you will get nothing. progress is better than nothing. this measure will save lives. not all the lives that we want to save but it will save lives. and i'll be proud to vote for it today. after 30 years, hundreds of thousands of gun deaths after
4:44 pm
sandy hook and dozens of failed legislative proposals, we are finally taking this step forward. the sandy hook victims, the parkland victims, the uvalde victims, and so many more deserve so much better and they deserve more. but the bipartisan safer communities act is that significant step forward that responds to the nation's sense of urgency to get something done. one way the legislation will do so that i'm particularly proud of is investing in crisis intervention programs. this bill will increase funding for these programs, including red flag laws and programs already in place in 21 jurisdictions like connecticut which was the first. these laws keep firearms out of the hands of individuals who are dangerous to themselves or others. it separates those guns from
4:45 pm
people who say they're going to kill somebody or themselves, more than half of all gun deaths are suicide. red flag laws are practical and proven and they prevent not only suicides but school mass shootings and other violent gun crimes. just last week connecticut probably saved tens of lives by separating an individual who told his therapist that he was having those thoughts again about killing people, and he was separated from a firearm. i've worked on the red flag issue for years, with senator graham and with senator feinstein, in the bipartisan negotiations that led to this bill we worked collaboratively and closely to develop a funding framework that can support states that already have these laws and states that choose to enact these laws going forward.
4:46 pm
implementation is so important, and the resources necessary for implementation are key to making them work effectively. in fact, very arguably the failure of the new york red flag law to prevent the buffalo massacre was due to lack of resources, commitment. to alleviate concerns among some of my republican colleagues and some gun owners, we reached a bipartisan agreement to include provisions that specify that for states to be eligible to use funding on their red flag programs, those programs have to include minimum due process protection. these protections are con consistent with due process safeguards provided in the 21 jurisdictions that already have these laws, and several have already been upheld in the face of constitutional challenges.
4:47 pm
the constitution already applies to these laws. so the due process guarantees would apply in any event. but we had no problem spelling out that explicit protection in the legislative text is added for reassurance. and in so doing, our bipartisan group agreed that all 21 jurisdictions that already have red flag laws will all qualify for funding under this bill. and so too we agreed that any future jurisdiction that enacts such a law must at least meet the same constitutional due process minimum to be eligible. i spell out this legislative history because it's important to understand not only the context but also the intention of these provisions. and let no one doubt that the states like connecticut that already have these dawes will -- these laws will receive funding.
4:48 pm
i'm also pleased that among other measures we've substantially shrunk, even if not eliminated, the boyfriend loophole. we've made straw purchasing and trafficking illegal at the federal level. a measure that i know as a former u.s. attorney, chief federal prosecutor in connecticut is enormously important. and we're investing hundreds of millions of dollars in community violence intervention and in the stop violence -- stop school violence program. meeting just this week and throughout these past years with community groups and educators and others who want to stop mental health issues upstream before they create violence downstream. i know how enormously important these measures can be, for connecticut and other states. finally, let me say i've come to the senate floor too many times, too many times to count, to call on us to honor with action those
4:49 pm
incredibly strong, brave families, from sandy hook, from all around the country, who have created this movement that we have now. ity a movement that will go on -- it's a movement that will go on. they're not stopping. neither should we. we need to continue with the same sense of urgency and purpose that movement, toward making america even safer. this bill is a breakthrough that builds foundation for the future. it opens a door. and hopefully it will show colleagues who have perhaps been reluctant to stand up to the gun lobby in the past and help maintain the vice-like grip of that gun lobby on the congress that their power is done. they have not only waned in their impact, but their intimidation and threats will no
4:50 pm
longer hold sway here. so we are saving lives. it is a proud moment for the united states senate, and i thank all of my colleagues for supporting this breakthrough measure. thank you, madam president. mr. kaz i did: -- mr. cassidy: madam president, let me say that i am proudly pro-second amendment. i believe in a god given right for law-abiding americans to keep and bear arms. the second amendment has given millions of americans the right to defend their spouse, their family, their children, their home. but if you consider yourself a supporter of the second amendment, you absolutely want to do something about uvalde, to do something about murders relatinged to domestic violence, to do something about straw purchases, to do something about teen suicide by gun. you cannot be pro-second
4:51 pm
amendment unless you care deeply about these issues. that's why we have targeted legislation, the safer communities act, that addresses specific problems that have read to -- have led to mass shootings by restricting access for someone who should not have a weapon, but also by providing additional mental health resources and by hardening schools. this legislation accomplishes these goals without infringing upon a law-abiding citizen's second amendment right. and let me repeat that, because there's been confusion in speeches from this floor. there's been internet exploding. there's rumors afloat that somehow this infringes upon the law-abiding citizen's right to keep and bear arms. that is absolutely false, and if anyone says so they are
4:52 pm
misleading the american people. madam president, this doesn't do any of that. madam president, what this legislation says, that unless you are adjudicated -- now, adjudicated is a $5 word that means you go before a judge, and the judge looks at the evidence and under this bill, if a state puts this into law, then they've got to to follow due process, which says that the person who may lose their second amendment right has the right to an attorney. a higher standard for the evidence that must be presented. that that person has their day in court. this was the gold standard that the national rifle association always advocated for, as if we were going to take second amendment rights from someone who should not have them. and this bill has that gold standard. now, i had a couple town halls
4:53 pm
just to find out what folks back in louisiana were thinking about all this. frankly, they're talking about inflation and the price at the pump as much as they're talking about this. but i got a message. they think that we can protect second amendment rights and do something about a tragedy such as uvalde. but let me give you some of the comments, because it shows you the confusion and it shows you the concerns and it shows you where the american people are. chris asks, when he dies can he pass his gun to his child, if his child is law-abiding? absolutely. that is preserved of we don't touch that. and by golly, chris should be able to do so. we're asked by tyler if this raises the age of the ability to purchase a weapon from 18 to 21. it does not. it doesn't touch that. although, apparently, tyler had been told that was the case. i was asked by r.j. about
4:54 pm
keeping guns out of the hands of criminals. i say, man, we got something in there, r.j. that addresses that. i heard from two people who said we should forbid the purchase of so-called assault weapons, and i heard from one guy who said man, i live in a tough section of town. if somebody invades my house i don't want it to be a fair fight. i heard on all sides of these arguments as to what. but the message i got, we can address, we can protect second amendment rights. but still do something about uvalde. now, it's not just uvalde. there's other types of gun violence in our society. at least four, this bill addresses at least four. there's the domestic violence. there is the suicide by the child. there's the gangster buying a gun to shoot people up. then there's the rampage shooting. let's talk about each of those. when it comes to the domestic violence, a guy beats up his
4:55 pm
girlfriend, he comes back with a when job and -- weapon and shoots her a month later, that happens too much. i talked to my police chief, murphy paul, in baton rouge, he told me defense violence and domestic murder spiked under the pandemic. this bill does something about it. i asked people who oppose this bill, what about domestic violence, man? what about that woman who's threatened? shouldn't we do something for her safety? this bill does something for her safety and quite likely for her children's safety and quite likely prevents a suicide by the troubled man who goes there in the first place. let's talk about crime, gapingsters -- gangsters, straw purchases, boyfriend's got a felony, can't buy a weapon, the girlfriend buys one, slips it to him. it's against the law now, but strengthens all the time. r.j., if you're watching on c-span, man, i'm channeling you, because we took the provision
4:56 pm
r.j. said we should do, and we increased the penalties for that person who buys a weapon merely to pass it to another. to hopefully throw her in prison for as much as ten years if she contributes to a murder by buying a gun for someone who goes out and commits that murder. we talk about rampage shooting. it's much more common -- you know what's much more common? the teenager shooting himself. we stop that. no, they can still steal a weapon if they want to, but there is $12 billion in some form or another for mental health services. we do our best to reach that child. by the way, rampage shooting is the worst, then comes suicide, then comes the addiction. i'm a doctor. i've seen this stuff. after the addiction, just becomes the person who is emotionally troubled. we're putting in mental health services that can address it
4:57 pm
all, with money for a 988 line, so if somebody is just like my gosh, i'm desperate, they have somebody to call. personally, i'd like to have an app. i'd like to have -- i'm a troubled teenager app, i need somebody to talk to. they're doing this in utah, and they tell me that the investment has been tremendous. i think they told me they prevent a suicide a week. that's off the top of my head. call it a suicide every two weeks. that's a powerful intervention. this bill has that capability. lastly, there is the information regarding the rampage shooting, uvalde. somebody told me, i searched on the internet, i didn't see this guy was troubled. that's precisely the point. this man's troubled, but he's less than 18. those records are seefeld. you can't get -- are sealed. you can't get to them. even though every indication was this young, troubled man would have had a reason not to be able to purchase a weapon, it's
4:58 pm
sealed. he turns 18, he's a clean guy. he goes out and buys two assault weapons and starts planning his assault. if you're pro-second amendment, by golly, you was the to stop that -- you want to stop that. what this bill does is allows the court to look into that and say oh, he's clean, that's okay, or no, he's troubled, and we need a little extra time to look at this. by the way, that's a provision that has been distorted and twisted to imply that law-abiding 18-year-olds to 21-year-olds would not be able to purchase a weapon. if you're a law-abiding, you can still purchase that weapon if you're 18, but if not, or if there's another indication, then the background check has a chance to look at it. and if you're pro-second amendment, by golly, i'll say it one more time, you should applaud that provision. now, let's do a couple other
4:59 pm
things. you know right now, a mexican cartel can smuggle weapons to mexico to shoot people up? we make that illegal. you would think it already would be, but it's not. how can somebody be against that? criminalizing cartels from smuggling weapons to mexico. somehow, we're infringing upon second amendment rides of the cartels? my gosh, i wish we'd do worst to them. we increase penalties for illegal gun traffickers, criminal gun increases. we are doing something about criminals. but have i said it yet? we preserve the second amendment rights for the law-abiding. now, i'm a gastroenterologist, i wouldn't know anything about due process sess except as a term, but speaking to john cornyn who's done a great job, and the other attorneys, i've learned a bill -- a little about due process, madam president. when somebody calls me up, they said they heard it on the internet, i say why don't you read the bill?
5:00 pm
it's 80 pages. read the bill, on page 33 you're going to read about due process. it says that any state red flag law -- we don't encourage those red flag laws, but if a stays decides to do one and wants federal dollars, they have to obey the rules. the rules say it must include at a minimum due process rights that prevent any violation or infringement on the constitution of the united states. if you're pro-second amendment, you should like that. a state can have a red flag law right now and not have that in there. but under this bill, by golly, they had better. how can anyone object to that? the bill also ensures no state can sidestep due process. it strengthens the citizen's right to due process. it can't be a social worker, it
5:01 pm
has to be before a judge and it has to have evidence and the person losing their right or may be losing their right has the ability to have an attorney with them it now, no offense to my people on the other side of the aisle, but if a liberal state puts forth a law that has poor due process, they won't get federal dollars. and a that should be something -- and that should be something we are proud about. now, my state doesn't have a red flag law. this bill does not require, mandate or incentivize that louisiana develop a red flag law, but you know my state does get money? for drug courts, for enforcing restraint orders so the fellow who's not supposed to go near his wife because they're afraid they'll beat her up again, the police have more resources to prevent that. who can be against that? that's in this bill. by the way, our legislation also
5:02 pm
hardens schools. there's money for the stop school violent school safety program, including resource officers and school hardening, additional funding for mental health resources, mentoring, crisis intervention, high-quality training for school personnel on suicide prevention and human trafficking. how can someone be against that? this is a solution. by the way, we have a serious problem in mental health. in my career i have been privileged to work with senator murphy and others on solutions for mental health. there's increased dollars for medicaid, including telehealth services for schools that might be in a rural area worewise without -- otherwise without a mental health professional around, school-based mental health services, all expanded,
5:03 pm
it reauthorizes the pediatric mental health care access program. it gives pediatric providers extra training in mental health, and i could go on. now, there's still a lot of misinformation out there. but i would say if you don't know what's in the bill, it's online, pick it up and read it. but if you're pro-second amendment, you should be for this bill. we can protect second-amendment rights, we can make an impact on teen suicide, upon domestic abuse, upon straw purchases landing guns in the hands of criminals and rampage shooting and we can do that while protecting the second amendment. that's what i'm hearing from the ment >> >> c-span is your --
5:04 pm
>> wow is there for our customers with speed and choice. now more than ever, it all starts with internet. quacks after the senate approved the gun legislation, the house took up the bill. it passed 234-193 and president biden signed the bill into law today. here is the house debate on the bill. it runs about 90 minutes. i didn't comment on the decision of the supreme court minutes ago to revoke the constitutional right to abortion. a right that millions of americans have relied upon for half a century.


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on