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tv   House Judiciary Committee Hearing on Gun Violence Prevention  CSPAN  February 6, 2019 1:07pm-3:45pm EST

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infringement of their constitutional right and rather than improving public safety will make the public more vulnerable to those who would seek to harm them, including the battered women who are in danger, including students who are in a school where no one is protecting them. to conclude, justice scalia in writing for the majority reminded us that the enshinement of constitutional rights takes certain policy choices off the table. thank you. >> mr. chairman, it's me. >> aisle now recognize the gentle lady from arizona. >> and i want to tell the testifiers and the people that came today, i appreciate all of you coming here, especially
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those of you that are victims of domestic or sexual violence or gun violence and those who have lost people. i believe all of us, whether we're republican or democrat, i hope you realize that we all care. we want to reduce gun violence. sometimes there's just a difference in opinion of how we get there. and, mr. chairman, i also want to join with our ranking member, representative collins in saying how disappointed i am that you didn't allow congressman scalise to come testify today and quite frankly, you know, he was wounded and is still recovering and that's different than the other members that you said wanted to come testify and you didn't have time for. and so i -- you know, i'm still wondering why that would happen.
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and also, mr. chairman, i just want to explain to you something that earlier when the gentleman who i feel very sorry for, he lost someone from gun violence, he repeatedly got up and disrupted, it intimidated me and it intimidated i was told one of the witnesses here. that's why i think it's important that we don't let that continue to happen. you know, i grew up in a family -- i don't have guns. my father was in world war ii and after he was in world war ii, he quit hunting. and we didn't have any guns. and so i didn't know much about them. i had a fear of guns. i've been there. i've been there with some of you that have never shot a gun, have never experienced it. but then i started educating
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myself and realized that when you make all these laws, a lot of them are unenforceable. but also it's the criminals that don't follow the laws, right? law-abiding citizens follow the laws. so if you're trying to stop gun violence and most of the gun violence is caused by people that don't follow the laws, you're not really getting the solution that you want. and i am a strong supporter of the second amendment. and i'm also a survivor of domestic violence and so i appreciated the testimony on that and want to share with you that there's people like me out there that have been victims but we also want to be able to defend ourselves. and so i hope that you go away with realizing that we all want
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to solve this problem. i have no share with you that the department of justice in a recent january 2019 report of prison inmates, they were interviewed. and the ones that used guns in their crime, 56% of them stated they obtained their gun by stealing it or by underground. and another 25%, so almost all of them, legally obtained it from a family member. so i guess what i'm trying to say to you is that when you have well-intention laws, and i believe you really believe that the background checks are really going to save people's lives, but you'll see that most of the people that committed the crimes actually stole the guns, stole
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the guns, got them from family members. so universal background checks will not help in most of those situations. i also studied all the major mass shootings quite intensely and realized that not one single one of them would have been prevented from a universal background check. i want through all the details. i asked all the questions. you know, and i do think there are many ways that we can reduce gun violence and we've done it here in a bipartisan fashion. last year, or in fiscal year 18, we passed legislation that helps prevent violence in our schools. very important. we also wanted to protect and fix the national instant criminal background check which is the system where these backgrounds are actually -- you find out -- and we found out
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through studies that a lot of the states and agencies don't even report the information -- >> the time has expired. do you have a quick question. >> yes, i do, thank you very much, mr. nadler. i just want to say, thank you for being here. can you please explain again how these well-intentioned laws actually hurt you from allowing you not -- not allowing you to defend yourself. >> so i do want to say, thank you for speaking publicly about being a survivor of domestic violence. it's terrible that anyone has to go through that. but it can feel very alone. it's great to see people in positions of power talking about it. so the laws that specifically disarmed me are in the sate of pennsylvania where i was going to school, my cleej, was a fun-free zone. so you couldn't have firearms of
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any kind unless you were the police. and i live in virginia and went to undergrad in pennsylvania which would require driving through maryland, which would make me immediately a felony. it's a combination of those two things. >> time of the gentle lady has expired. >> i want to thank our witnesses for being here. your testimony is incredibly inspiring and invaluable and i cannot overstate the importance and urgency of this hearing and i want to thank the chairman for his leadership. this is the first time -- the first hearing in the u.s. house of representatives on gun violence prevention in nearly a decade. we have a gun violence epidemic in this country. in some communities, persistent use of gun violence has become a day of life. over the last eight years while congress was ignoring this problem, the gun death rate has
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risen by 17%, the suicide rate by 19%. the gun rate hit a nearly 20 year high in 2017 and roughly 40,000 deaths according to the cdc. the u.s. is the world leader in child gun deaths with death by gunshot being the second highest cause of death of children. i just noticed that the time was not reset. mr. chairman. i don't think the time was corrected from the last person speaking over. >> it appears to be a mechanical going. >> each of these statistics is another example of this body's shameful failure to protect people from gun violence.
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despite our many efforts, imploring republicans to enact common sense gun safety regulation, all we could muster was 30 seconds of doing nothing and saying nothing in a moment of silence. there was no hearing or response to some of the deadliest mass shootings our country has seen. think about what that means. congress did nothing when children were massacresed at sandy hook elementary. when worshipers were gunned down. when people were hunted down and killed at a nightclub in orlando and a concert in las vegas. in some of these cases the gunman would have failed a background check but got a gone anyway. in others, they possessed assault gun weapons engaging our communities that belong in the battlefields, not in our
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neighborhoods. in all of them, congress could have taken action. it is imperative that we do all that we can to keep guns out of the hands of people who should not have them and give law enforcement the tools they need to protect the public. that's why i've introduced several bills. a bill to ban assault weapons, legislation requiring states to establish reporting systems for mental health professionals when individuals that have been -- communicated a serious theft of violence. the american people are completely fed up with this institution's willful neglect and leaving them to suffer. their demanding that we finally do something before another horrible tragedy happens and before another dangerous weapon ends up in the wrong hands. it's long overdo for congress to prevent violence from occurring. we know what the solutions are.
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it's time to act. and the notion that sense there is not a single bill that if passed will eliminate all gun violence that we should do nothing, is an absurd justification for inaction. the truth is, there are a whole set of bills that if we pass will substantially reduce gun violence in this country. and this bill is the first step. and i want to thank mr. thompson, robin kelly, many of my colleagues who have been great champions of these issues. we have a responsibility to make sure we keep guns out of the hands of people. we know background checks work. 3 1/2 million people have been blocked as purchasers from buying a gun because of background checks and yet 22% of gun sales happen without a background check. so hr-8 is the beginning but i want to begin my question and
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first say, we owe you an apology. we owe your whole generation an apology. the adults have failed you. and i'm here to tell you i was founding member of mayors against illegal guns, i've continued to fight on this issue, we are going to deliver results and it's because of the voices of young people who have demanded that we do our job and pass common sense laws that will protect you. and so i want to say thank you to you and to all the young people who are here. i want to say thank you to the chief. i would like to ask the chief and, doctor to talk a little bit about what your observations are about high capacity magazines, assault weapons and the injuries -- >> the time of the gentleman is expired. we'll permit one witness to answer the question. which witness? >> the doctor or the police chief? i guess the doctor. my mother always wanted me to be a doctor. [ laughter ] >> well, thank you for that question, congressman. it's a really important one
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because we as health care professionals are on the front line of seeing this day in and day out. when you see these patients come in, we're seeing the full spectrum of where there's tissue that's pulverized, where there are flesh wounds where people are bleeding to death in front of our eyes. and, you know, medical technology is great, but the solution is really prevention. and so i think we owe it to americans to really think beyond the operating room, to think beyond the hospitals to implement some common sense change. >> thank you, the time of the gentleman has expired. >> mr. chairman, i have a consent request. >> the gentleman will state his request. >> i ask to introduce an article into the record. another article entitled why can't the u.s. treat gun violence as a public health
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problem. another article from the "new york times" wounds from military style rifles, a ghastly thing to see -- >> how many more -- >> finally orders to seize guns from prohibited buyers at a ten-year high. >> these documents will be admitted into the record. >> thank you. as a lifelong resident of southwestern pennsylvania and a gun owner myself, i know despite what some of the people in this room may want you to believe, the overwhelming majority of american owners are hard working, law-abiding citizens. these law-abiding citizens are looking to protect their families, hunt with their kids, or just put food on the table. that's why i'm strongly opposed to hr-8 and other legislation that does nothing to address the root causes of gun violence like
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mental health. instead focus on limits law-abiding citizens ability to exercise their second amendment rights. more gun bans are not going to solve this problem. the tragic shootings in both san bernardino a bernardino. the columbine shooting took place during the federal assault weapons ban. more gun bans are not going to solve this problem. instead, i would urge my leagues to focus on enforcing the laws we already have on the books to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, gang members and others who wish to do us harm. the trump administration has already made this a top priority. in the first nine months of 2017, federal prosecutions for possession of an illegal firearm increased by 15%. in the number of teem charged
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with using a firearm in a crime also improved. compare that with the obama administration which in 2010 prosecuted only 44 of nearly 50,000 fugitives and felonies who attempted to illegally purchase firearms. only 44 out of 50,000. at the end of the day the constitution declares that gun ownership is not a privilege that is available to a few, but a freedom guaranteed for all law-abiding citizens. with that in mind, i'm concerned about hr-8 which democrats tout as a universal background checks bill but it's a first step towards creating a gun registery. however, the u.s. department of justice has said that universal background checks would only be
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enforceable if there's a mandatory national registration of firearms. so with that said, professor malcolm, do you think the american people should be concerned that hr-8 would lead to a national gun registery. i think they should be concerned. at one point in 1999, great britain banned the personal possession of a handgun, and they were able to get all of the handgun that is people owned, the law-abiding people who registered them. within ten years, the crimes with handguns had doubled. so it really did not take the guns away from the people who were going to use it, it just disarmed the law-abiding people. >> in your opinion is hr-8 an effective way to address gun
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violence. >> i don't think so. this committee obviously wants to do something that's going to make a difference and that law is not going to make a difference. it's going to make it harder for people, criminalize people who have innocently let someone else use their gun or have to pay an extra fee in order to get a gun legally transferred. >> thank you, professor malcolm. i yield back the balance of my time. >> the gentleman from california. >> thank you to the chairman and i want to thank the students and parents who are here today. my orientation was going on when sandy hook happened and as awful as it was, i thought it was an opportunity for us to do something about gun violence in america. and after six years from sandy hook to pulse to charleston, we
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saw moments of silence followed by moments of inaction. and then parkland happened. i don't know why parkland changed the way that our country started to look at this. maybe it's because the students could articulate what the beautiful babies at sandy hook could not. the sense of loss. but their belief that you should have the right to learn, the right to go home and the right to live in your classrooms. and you've given us a renewed sense of hope. and even though last night at the state of the union you didn't hear one word from the president about gun violence despite all the people in the gallery who lost loved ones and even the people he brought were the common tool of their loss was a firearm. not one word. i knew we'd be here today, the first historic hearing in eight years on reducing gun violence. thank you for giving us hope. thank you to mike thompson who has continued to believe that we
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can do better. and i want to first address an argument that my colleagues keep making, that this will not reduce the gun violence death in america. that's not true. if that's your standard, we should all go home. but if we work together on background checks, on mental health illness which i believe is correctly identified as another issue, if we work together to study gun violence through research, if we make sure that in our cities were investing in gang prevention. if we take the most dangerous weapons out of the hands of the most dangerous people, we can reduce in our lifetime the number of families who would have to sit in the gallery and experience that loss. so thank you for being here. thank you for giving us this renewed sense of hope. i want to also thank our law enforcement officers for what you do every day. my brothers are cops, my dad is
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a cop. my fear every day is that their gunned. i know that's why you're here, to protect the men and women sworn in your department. doctor, you were at the state of the union last night. i was hoping you could talk about an issue which is having a ban on assault weapons. when a round flies out of an assault weapon, because you can spray a crowd, you're firing a much more powerful round than many of the other weapons that are out there and you've seen on your trauma room table the differences from what damage this does to the body, could you describe why an assault weapon is different and why we should treat those differently than other weapons? >> sure. thank you for the question, congressman and thanks for your
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leadership. >> when someone is hit from a bullet, in addition to causing damage to the structures that are actually being hit, there's also a blast effect that occurs. and so there's damage to the surrounding tissue. that damage is a lot more significant than you would see with a handgun, for example. and we do everything we can to try to control hemorrhage, fix the damage and save lives. but that's not always possible. >> thank you, doctor. i'll never forget a trauma surgeon and a pathologist telling me when a victim that i had worked on his case, he was shot in the back of the thigh, just hit once in the back of the thigh, and he passed away and the pathologist said it was because of the sheer energy from the round. also i want to ask ms. thomas,
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thank you as well for testifying, australia enacted a comprehensive buyback on assault weapons. it was about 650,000 assault weapons. are you familiar with the affects after that buyback in their country when 35 people were killed and 28 were wounded in 1996? >> yes. following that legislation being passed, there has not been a single mass shooting that has occurred in australia since that time. >> thank you, i yield back. >> thank you. doctor, just yes or no, is the extra energy and the difference between being hit by an assault weapon and something else, is that because of the much greater velocity than from a normal gun? >> the energy that is being transmitted to the --
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>> that extra energy is because of the greater velocity. >> velocity does have to do with the kinetic energy, correct. >> thank you very much. mr. kline is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i've been up here a month and during the campaign i been in the legislature for 16 years so i had a pretty good idea what the role of the state legislature was. at the federal level, i carried about what i called the instruction manual, the constitution, and i know that a lot of people like to talk about how, well, it's not that it wouldn't have affected any of these mass shootings, but it's that if we can take steps to prevent one more shooting or one more criminal from illegally
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purchasing a firearm, then it's worth essentially doing what this document tells us we should not do which is infringe on the rights of the people to keep and bear arms. it's important to remember that this is the instruction manual and we need to keep it in mind as we talk about whether or not we're going to especially violate it. so what i would ask, professor, in your remarks, you mentioned that the second amendment, the framers, i would disagree with that and that the framers didn't bequeath to us that right, that's a god -- god has given us that right. and we hold these truths to be self-evident and all men are
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created equal. and these rights are to be secured by government. and that's what this constitution is for. and so to my question, do you think that criminals who have committed crimes and ignored the law are going to suddenly, miraculously, follow new laws put in place that are going to prevent them from purchasing firearms without a background check? >> clearly they're not going to be bothered by it. if they're not going to obey the laws against harming people and shooting people, they're not going to be worried about trying to get a gun through a legitimate source or following a background check. it's a shame because i think this committee would do really good work. but this particular law is not going to really help solve this problem. >> thank you. and to ms. thomas, reading your
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testimony and would ask you a similar question. do you believe that criminals who have ignored the laws -- you talk about 96% of inmates who were prohibited for possessing a gun obtained a gun, do you believe they're suddenly, miraculously going to follow a law in order to violate another law? >> i believe that we need to pass hr-8 because it will actually enable the existing federal law that's on the books to be properly enforced. we currently prohibit those individuals from acquiring firearms and they can go online, go to a gun show and buy a gun from an unlicensed seller. that seller is not breaking any law when they transfer a gun without a background check. part of that transfer mould entail a background check as well. we're taking the law that exists
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and we're making it applicable to all sales as it should be. >> do you believe a register si is necessary. >> it prohibits a registery? >> i believe it's a very important first step to reducing gun violence in america. >> do you believe that helder was correctly decided? >> i support the decisions of our supreme court. >> so you think it was correctly decided. >> i think it overturned previous precedent and we agree there are some issues, but we support the decisions of our support. >> thank you. i yield back. >> mr. vjeffreys. >> thank you. let me begin with professor malcolm. the national rifle association opposes expanding background checks to cover firearm
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purchases at gun shows, true? >> the right to life -- i didn't get the first part of -- >> the nra. >> the nra. >> you're familiar with that organization. >> yes. yes. >> they oppose a background checks to cover the gun show loophole, true? >> there's almost no gun show loophole. but they do not want a register and they do not want -- things made -- >> i didn't say anything about a registery. you opposed expanding the background check requirement for the gun show purchases, true? >> we're not just talking about gun shows. we're talking about making people in private sales have to go through background checks and making the whole system much more cumbersome. >> do you support it or not?
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>> there's almost no need for that. >> okay. i take that as a no. thank you. in terms of expanding background checks for gun sales on the internet, the nra opposes expanding background checks to cover such sales, true? >> i really am not privy to all of their decisions on these things. >> okay. you oppose background checks as it relates to internet gun show sales, true? >> can i say i would like to see the background checks that we now have used properly. and it is not because too many people are not put on that background checks who ought to be. >> okay. now, you are the patrick henry professor of constitutional law and the second amendment as george mason university? >> yes. >> and is it fair to say that this position is bought and paid for by the nra? >> i don't know. >> this position was created in 2003, true?
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>> i don't know what the background is, but i will say that george mason university has been very conscious of being sure that any contributions to the law school for any particular positions don't have any strings attached and you can check with -- you know, the procedures are for that. >> when the position was created, it was a direct result of a $1 million endowment from the national rifle association foundation, correct? >> i was not at george mason university in 2002, so i really don't know the answer to that. >> okay. >> you seem to have more information about it than i do. >> the nra foundation has continued to give money to the law school, is that right? >> i assume so, if that's what -- if that was -- >> i ask consent -- >> i really don't know. >> this is not a laughing matter. this is a gun violence epidemic
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that we have in america. now, let me ask consent to enter into the record the 990 forms from the nra foundation for the years 2012, '13, '14, '15 and '16. it gave a hundred thousand dollars to the law school in connection with with the position you hold, correct? >> i presume that they did. but they didn't have anything to do with my particular job. >> okay. >> i don't get a penny more for having that. >> you arrived in 2013, is that right? >> excuse me. >> you arrived in 2013. >> 2006. >> you arrived -- >> but i don't have the chair until later. >> in 2013, that is right? >> yes. >> in 2013 the nra foundation gave a hundred thousand dollars to the george mason university law school for, quote, second
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amendment study, true? >> presumably they did. >> in 2014 the nra foundation gave a hundred thousand dollars to the george mason university law school for, quote, special grants, other studies related to the second amendment, true? >> they have not subsidized anything that i have done. i was hired, i was given this chair because i had already done serious work on the legal and constitutional background of the second amendment. >> okay. what we found is that the nra has given a million dollars to endow a position that you now hold, hundreds of thousands of dollars or the last several years, and the problem is, we can have a legitimate debate about how to deal with the gun violence epidemic, but it's hard to have that debate when the nra functions as holding others who are supposedly participating in this detail like they are wholly owned subsidies.
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but we know in connection wtih with the position you hold, it's funded by the national rifle association. i yield back. >> thank you. the time has expired. there's a vote on the floor now. there are two votes on the floor. there's 6 minutes and 46 seconds remaining. 363 people not voting yet. the committee will stand in recess until after the second vote in this series which will probably be about 15 minutes. members of the audience are advised there's no crowd outside so you probably won't give up your seat if you walk out.
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the house judiciary committee meeting today on the issue of gun violence and the the proposed legislation by mike thompson of california. the committee in a brief recess here. there's a series of votes on the house floor and they will return as those votes wind down. we will continue with live coverage. until then part of the earlier session of today's hearing. >> my first question is for the doctor, we have heard today and we hear repeatedly during this extended debate that the real problem or one real problem is mental health, that we ought to deal better with mental health. i'm sure no one objects to that. my question is the following, as i noted in my opening statement, gun deaths in most other countries are in the double or
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triple digits, and our country it's 35 to 40,000 a year. is think evidence, number one, that mental health differences that our people are ten thousand times more mentally i'll than other countries that this provides an explanation and -- and that dealing with mental health alone will go any distance towards solving this problem. >> thank you, mr. chairman, for that question. you know, the disparity that exists between our country and other comparable countries is dramatic. and even when folks factor in for the rates of mental health disease and other issues, we still exceed all those other countries by significant proportion. so it's not that we're
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completely dissimilar. >> thank you. i'll ask you one other question. firearms emergency protective orders em pour family and law enforcement recognize signs of danger to petition for a court order to remove a person's access to guns if they're likely to use them to arm themselves or others. briefly, please, what can congress do to ensure that every american has access to a protection order when someone they love is experiencing such a crisis. >> this is such an important issue because when you look at the majority of deaths from firearms, those come from suicide, two-thirds. and the reality is, when you look at the time that it takes from when the person decides to commit suicide until they make that first attempt, 50% happen within the first ten minutes. >> what can congress -- >> to have protection orders
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where you can empower family members and you can empower law enforcement to actually seize weapons so that they're not a harm to themselves and others i thinkcritical. >> thank you. ms. thomas, the nra and others have argued that enacting universal background checks would penalize law abiding gun owners and prevent such transfers as a father giving a gun to his son f the plain language of hr-8 the bipartisan background checks act is narrowly written and clearly allows for had kind of transfer, can you walk us briefly through hr-8 and how it explicitly protects these kinds of common transfers? >> basically, what hr-8 does, it takes our existing law, which prohibits this variety of individuals that we deem to be at highest risk from purchasing firearms now, these individuals can buy firearms easily without a background check through an unlicensed sale. this law would mean that all transfers of firearms have to take place through a gun dealer including a background check, so
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that that background check would apply to all individuals. there are exceptions in the law for a number of instances, including self-defense, including loans for hunting and other lawful purposes, and also, for transfers within immediate family member, grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles -- >> an immediate family would not be subject to this? >> exactly. there is an exception for immediate family member. >> again, ms. thomas, the only federal agency with jurisdiction to regulate the gun industry has had its hands tied for decade through a combination of restricted policy writers and the shrinking budget. can you talk about the challenges facing the atf and its efforts to effectively regulate the gun industry, and why congress needs to do to ensure better regulatory oversight of this agency? >> well, i think there's two main issues that you're referring to. one is the funding question and the size of atf. atf, the entirety of atf is the size of the las vegas police department, so it is a rather small group of people, looking
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to, to look after 55,000 gun dealers across the united states, approximately 8% of those gun dealers are able to be even inspected last year, based on the number of agents that atf has. so better funding is an absolute necessity for federal law enforcement to be able to properly do their job. secondarily, i think you're referring to the tr restrictions -- >> excuse me? >> the tr restrictions which are an appropriations rider which prevent atf from aggregating trace data and using that information to properly do their job to find the source of gun trafficking. they are also prevented from modernizing their records. which is helpful to also doing their job properly as law enforcement, as well as encouraging or forcing gun dealers to keep better track of their inventories so they can better understand the source of funds. >> repeal those restrictions. >> absolutely. >> thank you very much. my time has expired. i recognize the ranking member mr. collins, five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. that was an interesting line of questions because it hit on some things that i want to discuss.
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and ms. thomas, since you're up, we'll just continue here. on your web site, it says your organization supports national firearms registration that includes name, address, other identifying information about the owner of the firearm, names of the manufacturer, importer, model type of action, caliber, gauge, you get the picture. you also like to recruit renewals registrations annually including submitting for background check. is that correct? this is off your web site. >> one of the many policy solutions that we think would go a long way to helping reduce gun violence would be registration. >> so that's a yes? i'm just asking for yes or no here. >> it is one of the many kpraefb laws that we think needs to be in place if we think we're going to make progress in reducing gun violence in america. >> your organization as you say is a very active supporter of hr-8, but do you realize that hr 8, explicitly states that nothing in this act shall be construed to authorize the establishment directly or indirectly of a national firearms registry and goes out of its way it doesn't create a
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firearms registry. how do you call this call for a registry with something that says it doesn't. >> we firmly confirm everything that is included in hr 8. our web site has the most comprehensive analysis of every gun law in every state, at the federal level, in existence, and what is possible where we might want to comprehensively regulate guns as they do in many our countries. so what is op our web site, refers to all of the policy options that this body and state governments can consider when they're looking at opportunities to regulate guns and reduce gun violence. >> i think it is interesting, it has been reported under the previous department, the obama administration, there is no way to regulate private sales. let's talk about what we're talking about. this is private sales. not a federally licensed firearms dealer. this is private sales. it needs to be registered. you can't keep up without a registry. this goes back to the opening statement. i'm not sure which is crueller, to dealt people who come to this
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hearing who say we're fixing your problem and then offer something that it doesn't fix. the question here, because the guts itself are within the bill. and you mentioned red flag laws which i share a concern. hr 8 itself actually prohibits, like if i was this morning, to get up and i had a bad night, say whatever, and i said i don't want to live anymore, and hr-8 actually would criminalize if i went across the street to my neighbor, and said i'm having a bad day, i want to make sure i don't have anything to hurt myself or my family and give those guns to my neighbor, it would criminalize it. it is not in there as a listed exception and i know, if you read the bill, it's not there. so again, i think what we've got to do is look at what is hospitally being discussed here. we will switch to chief acevedo. great to see you. we had a great time in houston. doing something now, and you brought that up and i think it is interesting, you know my father is in law enforcement. and i think doing something now is a commendable thing if it actually works p it actually fits.
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how can you explain what we just been going on since the last conversation, you can explain how hr 8 can operate effectively without a firearms registry and do you see implementation problems in this? >> well, i think that the recommendations that hr-8 has in there, the legislation, will not solve, will not eliminate gun violence but it will certainly, i don't think anyone in this panel would say that it wouldn't prevent at least one death. and the question i would have, is passing, if that one death was your child, your mother, your father, is a little inconvenience, too much to save that life? the answer is no, then there's nothing i can say that is going to change your mind on hr-8. but i believe that the legislation will save at least one life, and if it is my child who dies, i want him to know, and i want god to know, that i was here today speaking on that life. >> and i think the interesting thing is, is how many though again in a law that you passed,
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that you give people comfort in saying that would actually pass, can simply say the transfer was made before this without a registry and i think this is an interesting thing to actually explore here. we will explore this more i'm sure. i'm not questioning by any means the decision or the desire to find a solution to this. this is it. i was in the military, in iraq, i had the trauma surgeons in iraq, we talked about this extensively. this is not an issue. but listen, also look at this holistically, because every time we want to go to fix this, we go to the population that is the legal gun owners buying or selling in the legal format. we go to the bureau of prisons, when they put out the statistics, most criminals do not get theirs, as you well know, do not get their guns from legal sources. they don't. the question is interesting. because this has come up a little bit. my time is running out but an interesting discussion here is what would be the penalty for robbing a federally licensed firearm dealer? what should it be and how it should be enforced? because that is becoming more and more of an issue. >> the time of the gentleman
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expired. the witness will answer the question. >> i believe, this will have to be a two prong approach. we need to take folks that would commit gun violence, steal firearms, we need to have a zero tolerance and a real tough approach. the other thing we need to look at is to have these gun dealers actually have to secure, lock their firearms every night, the number one targets of gang members, and other criminals is pawnshops and places, and gunshops where they come in and burglarize those places. so i think there is a way to do it. and i think the other thing we need to do is we need to have congress actually authorize and fund studying a comprehensive study on this matter once and for all and let the experts come up with a policy decision. on an evidence-based, which is really interested because you're from george mason university, and i'm actually in the hall of fame there, so i really believe that we need to study it, we
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need to fund it, and lastly, we need to get atf some help. they are a great partner. but they truly are, because of a lack of funding and support of the congress, operating with one hand behind their backs, and one arm behind their backs. we need to give them both arms. >> thank you. the time of the gentleman is expired. >> thank you mr. chairman. i am so pleased that we're having this hearing today. we've experienced an epidemic of gun violence in this country. deaths from mass shootings. suicides. and for years, we have failed to have any attention, any hearing, any legislation, to deal with this epidemic, and this tragedy. so i am pleased that we now have the opportunity to begin work on this public health crisis. you know, it's our turn to set the agenda. and to listen to the american people. so i appreciate all of the witnesses who are here and
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especially the young people, who are in the audience, who have spoken up, across the country, with passion, and eloquence, and it's your energy that has helped us be here today. i do have a question ms. thomas, about a study that was done by every town for gun safety. they reviewed an online firearms marketplace, and according to their report, they found that almost one in nine prospective gun buyers from this web site poo woo not have passed a background check. they gave one example of a customer in georgia who was looking to buy a handgun immediately, he said within 24 hours, and a public records request showed he had multiple felony convictions, including one for child molestation, he was currently under indictment.
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this was someone who shouldn't have a gun. he wouldn't have passed a background check. and yet, he was able to obtain it through this unlicensed seller on the internet. and that apparently is happening at rates seven to one, the users of this web site, people know they can avoid the background check. what can be done to make sure that people online and looking for guns are not able to avoid a background check? >> that's exactly why we need to pass hr-8. because the reference to private sales doesn't acknowledge that private sales now, unlicensed sellers, include on line sales, include many sellers at gun shows, and includes sales that are happening on the street. hr-8 would address this gaping loophole in our background check laws and ensure that all gun sales, including sales online, are run through a licensed gun dealers with a background check. >> thank you very much.
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dr. sockran, in the early 1970s, congress passed legislation, spurred by a call to action, surrounding a public health crisis, and shortly after congress acted, president richard nixon signed the public health cigarette smoking act, which bans cigarette ads from airing on television and radio, in response to evidence highlighting the causal link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer. now gun violence in this country is a public health crisis that claims the lives of 100 americans every day. and juries hundreds more every day. resulting in a nation of gun violence survivors with the trauma that that leaves them with. gun violence in any form can have a lasting impact on individuals, not only emotionally but physically, and financially. now, do you agree that gun
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violence is a public health crisis in america? and how could we address the public health implications of gun violence similar as was done with smoking? >> thank you for that question. and that's such an important question. because one of the things that we haven't done when it comes to gun violence is treated it like a disease. treated it like the public health crisis that it is. and the tobacco analogy is great. but it is also, you know, you can talk about obesity and so many other things. and as clinicians, we have a responsibility to be talking to our patients about things like safe storage and other aspects, and what can we do? i think one of the biggest gaps, and we heard about this, is a lack of funding. there's been essentially a moratorium on federal funding when it comes to firearms prevention research. and when you talk to folks like dr. redfield, who is a cdc
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director, he will say i'm happy to study it, as long as congress appropriates those dollars. so i think that is one thing that is so critical. >> thank you. and my time is just about up, but i would be remiss if i did not thank my colleague from california, mike thompson, for the years that he has spent leading our gun violence task force. he's here in the audience today, and thank you, mike, for your hard work. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman and i do appreciate all of the witnesses being here today. and i'm thrilled will is so much interest in this, there is so much interest in this issue, as vince said, i know everybody here wants to stop the gun violence, and as a former prosecutor, and defense attorney, and a judge, felony judge for over a decade, ife tried to remember any case, i
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can't remember any significant case i had out of the thousands where somebody went through the process of getting a gun legally to inflict the violence. we all want to stop the gun violence. i haven't heard anybody talk about the breakdown of the home, the breakdown of moral teachings, those certainly have had an effect, and i know one of the most quoted numbers that we often hear, and we've heard again today, is that background checks have stopped over three million people from getting guns that shouldn't. that's the initial stop. it's difficult to get through all of the data. but it appears the best estimate
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is somewhere over 96% of those three million end up being able to get guns. that's just the initial stop. and in fact, a good indication is 2010 numbers. these are sometimes difficult to get the exact figures but from 2010, we know there were 76,000 denials, and the obama administration only found 44 that actually were committing a crime by trying to get a gun illegally. so we want to all get to the same place. here in dc, where they have incredibly strict gun laws, it cos costs $125 to privately transfer a gun. people that are law-abiding, they'll pay the $125.
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criminals will not. they will not stop, it will not stop the transfers among criminals, and that's really where we get -- in baltimore, we heard about, it is $250. heck, in illinois, apparently, it's $450 to get qualified to have a concealed carry, and if hr-8 became law, and somebody called me, or anybody and said i'm scared to death, my former spouse or live-in, or whomever, has threatened me, and i think he's going to be coming sometime this week, with the law under hr-8 requires before you can do a private transfer, before you can take them a gun to help them protect themselves, there has to be an imminent threat, so for
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someone to take a gun to somebody they love, so they can protect themselves that week, they have committed a crime, because you can't have an imminent threat for a week. so there are issues here, we all want to get to an end of gun violence, but i would like to ask dr. -- and by the way, for victims, i mean my heart goes out to you, whether it is a shooting, it's sexual assault, i mean there were so many times that as a judge, i had to stoically do my job, but i would go back to my office with a broken heart for the victims. we know who does the real suffering, and we want to stop it. and i am thrilled that we have so many people that care so deeply. but dr. malcolm, in your
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information, you indicated 2018, the fbi reported some 26,181,000 requests background checks to purchase a gun. has that increase in the number of requests led to an increase in violence? >> no it hasn't. in fact, for more than 20 years, the rate of gun homicides has gone down. it's gone up slightly the last couple of years. mostly because of these suicides. and while the number has gone up, the rate hasn't. so far more people are now allowed to conceal carry across the country and get a certificate to have a gun, but that hasn't resulted in what it was supposed to do for those people against it, they thought there would be shootouts, ox k corral on every corn are and
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people are responsible, and they are responsible in that right and using it to protect themselves. >> thank you. >> yield back. >> the time of the gentleman has expired. ms. jack son lee. >> i thank the chairman. let me likewise add my appreciation for all of the witnesses and victims are in all of our hearts. but we are reminded that you are seeking action. let me thank march for our lives and the members who have encountered these horrific tragedies. i also want to acknowledge chairman thompson for the years of work, i've had the privilege of working with him, and that we've come to this point is very much attributable to his persistence, and i thank him, i thank ms. kelly as well, and having visited her district, ms. lattimer, as you well know, i
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have been at the memorial, and i will never forget, and we owe you a great deal of gratitude. i thank you so very much. let me, mr. thomas, i may not get to ask you a quet but i do want to indicate that the gifted center has been the mainstay of data collection so i want to remind everyone that the numbers that we have cited have come from this great work, 100 americans dying every day. so that means as we sit here today, there are americans being killed by guns. i believe your sfisks of three million people effectively being stopped. through gun checks. and the universal background check bill is a bill of common sense. that's all we've asked for. i want to ask professor thomas, let me do. >> this the second amendment is, the language in particular, allow me to read from the
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constitution, it indicates, a well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people, to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed. a simple process of background check, and i don't have a lot of time, ms., professor malcolm, to direct the question to you, what in the second amendment is impacted through a simple straightforward background check? >> basically -- >> how are you stopped from getting a gun? would you be stopped from getting a gun through a background check? >> i would not be stopped. but the people who are likely to misuse the gun would not go through a background check. so the background check is really affecting those people who are law-abiding citizens for the most part and not those people on the streets. >> but the law-abiding citizens would not be blocked from getting a gun through a background check, is that correct? >> if you make the background check cumbersome enough, like
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this new bill will, then i think -- >> you're not answering the question. you're not answering the question. the question is, what in the second amendment is infringed upon by a background check? we're not asking about the process and cumbersome. that has to be tested. this is a bill that indicates universal background check. >> the process does interfere with people being able to get. it we've heard that there are expenses -- >> we have no data to prove that. so i think you are not connecting, i would like to hear you say, just the existence of a universal background check, not process, would violate the second amendment. is that a yes or no? >> the background check is a process, really and you can make it cumbersome? >> does it violate the second amendment? does it stop people from getting guns? it's not the point of who will not go through the process, is will it stop people from getting guns that you say are law-abiding citizens. >> one of the member, one of the republican members of your committee has pointed out that there are expenses in the states
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that have universal background checks. >> i don't think you're answering the question. >> and poor people cannot afford -- >> let me go to chief acevedo. i thank you very much, professor. i don't think you're answering the question. it does not infringe upon the second amendment. chief acevedo, and dr. sackrin, two questions, and i really want to caution all of the witnesses, but let me be very clear. chief acevedo, you're on the streets with your law enforcement, you believe in relational policing, how much guns impacting your officers but also, as you walk the beat, impacting neighborhoods, and mothers, and fathers, and children, that's my question to you, and i just want to get the question for dr. sackrin. dr. sackrin, years ago i introduced a bill where the chief of surgeon from texas, trauma from texas children hospital said at that time it cost them $67,000 to treat a gun victim, a child, that was 20 years plus ago. would you be able to answer monetarily just, maybe not specifically, but the depth of
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cost, both in human tragedy, but dollars, that we lose, by not responding to gun violence in america? chief, would you answer the question, please. and i ask the indulgence of the chair. yes, chief. >> thank you for the question. the gun violence impacts all big cities across the country and suburban america as well. and if you think about domestic violence, and the city of houston last year, we had tragically 279 homicides, it went up by ten, and the driver, the greatest driver, 38% increase, in domestic violence homicides. domestic violence murders. where we don't have enough tools across our country for police officers in those situations to temporarily remove firearms, to keep women safe and families safe, and children safe, and so it is a significant problem. i think all you have to do is turn on your television, listen to the radio, listen to the scanners, and go to our emergency rooms and you will see it is a significant problem. >> dr. sackrin? >> yes, thank you so much for
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that question, because -- >> the time of the member is expired. and answer after the time the member has expired. >> their, mr. chairman. >> you're welcome. >> >> chief acevedo spoke after the time had expired. our next witness, questioner is, is it mr. -- >> before mr. goetz, i want to announce that the committee will recess at 12:30 for one-half hour for lunch. we will resume at 1:00. and we will continue until there will be votes which we expect on the floor sometime after 2:00 and if necessary we will reconvene right after those votes. mr. goetz. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> ronald silver was standing with a friend in his driveway when he was shot and killed by an illegal alien who had been previously deported. agnes give ny who was desilva's mother who says the guy who
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killed my sentence has a determinant sentence in prison i have a lifetime prison of pain. an illegal prison of mexico murdered grant with a gun. >> the meeting will come to order. we will continue with questioning the witness. >> mr. chairman, before we continue -- >> seeking recognition. >> i would like to make a clarification. i know at the end, there was some discussion concerning the effectiveness, or lack of effectiveness by who or may not have received funds in a certain time and i think one of the things we got to be very careful of here is every witness that comes here will come representing who they represent, and from the areas that they do. and some of the witnesses here would not have been probably called if they had not been participants in the political process for your side of the aisle or possibly my side of the aisle. these are things that happen and they are disclosed. i think throwing that out there, especially to witnesses, or even
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other members, implying that something changes for them, i think we need to be very careful of. otherwise, we can just start admitting the records of donations from groups that are testifying here today on contributions and everything else. we just need to keep this on level with people from their back ground, knowing their background and let's have an honest argument without questioning the motives of or the trajectory of the motives of the folks that we have here. and with that, i'll yield back. >> >> i now recognize the gentleman from north dakota, mr. armstrong. >> thank you, mr. chairman and in my never-ending quest to educate people about the way we live in north dakota, earlier this morning, in hr-1rk i was explaining that we're the only state in the nation without voter registration. so in the quest to solve problems in other areas we actually make it more difficult to do things in my state. and i will continue, i think, a little bit here.
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and i am going to talk particularly about the exceptions. and it's obviously, obvious to someone who has spent his entire life hunting and whether it is bow hunting, upland game hunting or rifle, or big game hunting, that when people write exceptions to laws like this, we do it in a way that actually doesn't take into account the rural nature of places where i live. and north dakota is a beautiful place. i invite anybody to come there whenever they can. probably not today. it is 35 below wind chill. but when we're talking about how we designate exceptions to this hr-8, we're talking about exclusively at shooting ranges, shooting gal ris or other designated areas. and in the noble goal of trying to end gun violence in other area, i just want everybody to be aware that we are creating felons out of every ranch, federal felons out of every ranch and farm kid in north dakota. we do not have designated
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shooting ranges. we do not have shooting galleries. we borrow our buddy a rifle to shoot in a stubblefield. it would be prior to them going hunting, or whether it is fess and the hunting, whether it is deer hunting, whether it is any of those areas, so when we are dealing with these issues, i want to make it perfectly clear that we are also creating significant burdens on a way of life to the entire midwest population, not just in north dakota. and i actually want to thank congress for a couple of things. and i can do this because i wasn't here when these passed, so it's not self gratifying. hr-4477, which was the fix nix act of 2017, was passed. and this is how we approach gun law. north dakota has incredibly pro second amendment law but what we do do with our law enforcement and our state policy, is absolutely go after prohibited people. we do everything we can to make sure law-abiding citizens can use their second amendment rights. but we continually work with
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domestic violence groups, law enforcement, to ensure that prohibited people don't have access to the firearms they are supposed to to. and the fix nix act was something that we, even as pro-second amendment state as north dakota, we have been utilized. also, hr-4909, which is the stop school violence act, has provided programs that are utilized in north dakota right now. our rural school, some of them have been built in 1950s, and when we deal with school safety, we often times don't have, it's not a matter of whether we have a school resource officer in one school in the community, we often zoo have law enforcement that can respond within 45 minutes of some of our rural towns. so these grants help us provide school safety, and divided into these snare i don't remembers in which, scenarios in which they exist at that point in time. i would like to thank congress for those. and i would argue that the concealed carry reciprocity act which passed the house and hasn't gotten through the senate
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is also a way to help deter more gun crime. and finally i would say as somebody who has practiced criminal defense in federal court, i think as a matter of statutory construction, we should be a little careful about the number offed a jek tives we use in the criminal code. adjectives are a petry dish for trial lawyers and purely outside of any partisanship or anything else, when we use a lot of "ly" words, they tend to be litigated in front of 12 people very extensively. but i do have one question for ms. thomas. and when you were talking to congressman kline earlier, you were talking about this being an important act, and that without a registry, it doesn't matter. and under president obama, the obama administration, they referred a white paper from greg ridgway and essentially the white paper says that these gun laws do not work without a national registry. so my question is, was the obama administration wrong? >> i'm not sure exactly what you're asking, but if your
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question is whether or not it is appropriate to pass hr-8 without a registry, and my answer would be yes, it is absolutely incumbent upon us to pass hr-8 even though it prohibits a registry from being formed because it will encompass a larger majority of background checks on all gun sales than what we have in place now. >> and forgive me, because my old criminal defense attorney mind is coming in place, but that without the registry, how is it enforceable? >> because every sale and transfer of a gun requires a background check so when guns are recovered in crimes it will be much easier for law enforcement to a discover if guns had a back ground check on them, and to trace them back to their original source and in that instance, it would be very easy to know if there was no background check conducted. >> i'd ask fore unanimous consent to offer this summary of select firearms violence firearm strategies by greg ridgway into the record.
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>> without objection, the document will be entered into the record. >> and i yield back my time, mr. chairman. >> thank you. and i recognize the gentleman from maryland, mr. raskin. >> mr. chairman, thank you very much. i want to first recognize my wonderful constituent andrea shambley who is here today, she lost her husband john mcnamara in the terrible massacre that took place in annapolis, he was a reporter, and a celebrated editor of the capitol gazette. thank you for joining us andrea, and you stand for hundreds of people here today who have lost family members and friends and hundreds of thousands of across the country who are begging us to do something. mr. nadler, thank you for this hearing which is proeproerd bec is the first hearing on gun violence in more than eight years in the house of representatives. in that time, we have seen not only the daily grueling mounting death toll in every community across america where 96 people die from gun violence every day, and 246 every day are shot and
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wounded, where eight children or teens die from gun violence every day, and where 39 young people are shot and wounded. but over the last eight years, we've seen six of the ten worst gun massacres in the history of the united states of america. the las vegas massacre, with 58 dead, the pulse nightclub massacre with 49 dead. sandy hook, 20 kids, and six grownups. stoneman douglas, 17 adults. on and on. and to the wonderful people who have assembled here today, taking time off from school, off from work, to come to bear witness to the people you've lost in your lives, i want to say that you are the repositories of the memories of your loved ones, but we are the repositories of the legislative memories of what had happened, what has happened here. and we must never forget. i have only been here for two years. but i want to tell you in that time, i saw several of those massacres, including the vegas massacre and the stoneman douglas massacre, and we had not a single hearing on a universal criminal background check.
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we had three hearings in this committee with diamond and silk to talk about imaginary offenses online. and they brought us two bills. one, the aforementioned bill, the concealed carry reciprocity act, a complete misnomer. it has nothing to do with reciprocity. it would demolish every state's concealed carry law so that if you can get a gun in the most permissive state in the union which i think is still florida, where a million and a half people have the right to carry a loaded concealed weapon, then you can go anywhere in the country. that's what they brought us. oh, and they brought us one other bill which was to legalize silencers in america. that sounds not like a common sense public safety agenda. that sounds like a mafia agenda. to legalize silencers across the country. that is what we have dealt with in this committee. which is why today is such a remarkable breath of fresh air and why americans across the country are looking at the house of representatives with hope today. now, the universal criminal
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background check is backed by more than 95% of the american people. the vast majority of democrats, the vast majority of republicans, independents, gun owners, everybody thinks that you should not be able to purchase a firearm in america if you can't pass a simple criminal and mental background check. so we're screening out felons and fugitives, people who are violently unstable, undocumented aliens, these are the people that we're trying to catch. and what do we hear from the other side? we hear, well, this punishes law-abiding people. shoe go after the criminals. that's precisely what we're trying to do. we're trying to keep them from getting guns in the first place. we are trying to close the loopholes here today. now, we're hearing that there is a lot of second amendment verbage floating around the room, and yet i have yet to hear a single argument that this legislation in hr-8 is unconstitutional. not one. now, the distinguished ranking member of the committee i think was offended by the gentleman
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from new york's line of questioning about professor malcolm's background and the character of her professorship, at george mason, fine, if you're not interested in trying to determine the sources of income for her chairmanship, let's lead that to the side, let's go to the content of professor malcolm's testimony. professor malcolm, i'm a fellow professor of constitutional law. so i was all excited for your testimony, because before i was a member of congress, i loved nothing more than to be able to do a legal analysis and bring it to congress, and say here's my understanding of what the law is. but i searched in vain your entire testimony, for any legal analysis of the second amendment constitutionality of hr-8 and i'm wondering have you written a separate law review article or separate legal analysis because i understand this is more of a policy statement. >> i have not written an analysis of this particular bill. but i would like to say that i deeply resent the assertion that i am a wholly owned subsidiary. >> i didn't say anything about that. >> i know you didn't. >> i'm sorry, i will reclaim my time, because we have very
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little time. let me go to this question. do you have an opinion as the second amendment shareholder at the george mason antonin scalia school of law do you have a legal opinion that you have formed even without an analysis that is written as to the constitutionality of hr-8. >> i have a legal opinion that the constitutional right that is associated with the instant background check as it now stands is constitutional. it just doesn't work very well. >> okay. we will go to the atf for their thoughts on that. you're saying as a constitutional matter, the legs lation before is perfectly constitutional today. and dr. sackron do you agree with that, that hr-8 is perfectly constitutional? >> i'm not a lawyer and i'm here in my capacity as a trauma surgeon but you know, we currently have licensing that is actually evaluating people for background checks. so this is just talking about ensuring we close those loopholes and expand that to the
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rest of the public. >> and it doesn't deny anybody the right to access a gun who has a second amendment right to get one. it is only the people that justice scalia enumerated in heller decision as not being eligible because they might be mentally defective or felons or fugitives or so on. >> yes. >> i field back, mr. chairman. thank you very much. >> thank you, gentleman. i now recognize the gentle lady from washington. the gentleman from california. >> thank you, mr. chairman. first of all, i want to thank you for holding this most important hearing. and of course, i want to also thank all of the young people in the audience today. this is your day. i'm glad you're here in force to show that you care about this issue. a lot of you here have also been painfully touched, personally touched by a loss, due to gun violence, and thank you also for being here. i think the panelists also,
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thank the panelists also for your expert testimony today. and ms. linquist, i want to personally thank you today for your bravery for being here to tell us about that horrible experience of yours. a half dozen years ago, my wife was attacked, mugged, and like in your situation, somebody came up behind her, and grabbed her, and threw her down, and beat her up. and i can tell you for many, many months, i was there nursing back, helping her nurse back her wounds, not only the physical, but the emotional that she still carries. we don't wish that on anybody. very, very tough issue here. professor malcolm, you're absolutely right. this is going to make it expensive for somebody to purchase a weapon, the bureaucratic issues involved are going to slow down the process. so i think about this bill, i think back to my district, where
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i've had to attend many funerals, way too many funerals of young people, very young teenagers, being the victims gang violence. and as i think about your testimony here, is that going, is this bill going to stop somebody from buying a gun illegally? >> i don't think so. i can't see how it will. >> i don't think it does. i don't think it does. yet, as i think about society today, what goes on in our streets, i'm going to come back to something that mr., the chief said, the question in my mind is, will this legislation save a life? will it save one life? because when i have constituents that have been touched, that have been hurt, by gun violence, my question is, chief acevedo, is this bill going to save one
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life or many lives? or none at all? >> thank you for the question. this bill will definitely save lives. there's no doubt about it. what this bill does is not keep guns out of the hands of law-abiding americans or -- >> what was that, what did you just say? >> it will not keep firearms out of the hands of law-abiding americans of sound mind. what it will do is make it more difficult for those that use these loopholes, at gun shows, on the internet, straw purchasers, that are driven by greed, that then go out and mr. chairman, purchase these firearms and then sell them to the crooks. that is going to make it more difficult for the bad guys. we are going to support the good guys with guns and we're going ta talk about other good guys with gun, we also need to talk about what do we need to keep the guns out of the bad guys with guns an that's why the
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mayors have been very vocal, prosecutors have been very vocal and i would like to tell you, to the folks that are in our emergency room, thanks to the medicine, the quality of the medicine that we have today, the scourge of gun violence and the deaths from it would be quite, quite more horrifying than we experience. i want to say to the trauma docs, you are in your lane. stay in the lane. which is saving lives. not selling guns. >> thank you very much. the same question to major tap harper. both of you have been on the beat. you are where the rubber meets the road. you've seen that violence. will this bill, will this legislation, hr-8 save lives? >> thank you for your question, sir. and our primary responsibility is preservation of life and i stand arm in arm in the chief, yes, i believe that we will save lives. >> and so this legislation is really a major step forward in keeping guns away from those that are really not qualified to
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own a gun. mr. chair, i yield. >> thank you, gentlemen. mr. richmond is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. dr. malcolm, i believe two people earlier said that none of these bills would do anything to save a life. but if we look at the charles loophole, wouldn't that have prevented the perpetrator from purchasing that gun? >> excuse me, what -- >> the charleston loophole, the loophole says that if your background check doesn't come back in 72 hours you automatically can purchase the firearm and in his case the background check came back after four days and what came back would have prevented him from being able to buy the gun which in mind may have prevented the
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emanuel church massacre and the loss of nine lives. my question is, that is, closing that the loophole, would have saved nine lives. >> in that one case, it probably would. but there are very few people like that man who actually go through the whole process, knowing that they're planning to misuse a firearm. >> well, may be or may not, because i think he had a bad address, so logic would tell me that if you go in and you give a little bit of bad information, like an incorrect address, that may delay the background check from coming back. the goal is for the background check to come back after 72 hours, and you can purchase your gun. also, people like to point out the assault weapons ban and what effect that had. let me tell you what effect it had because i was young in those days and i lived in the hot streets during the '90s. that assault weapons ban made the price of an uzi go up from
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$400 in a store to $1500. and therefore, that mad person may have had $400 in his pocket but not $1500 and it delayed the time in which he could get his hands on a gun illegally or illegally, which allowed for a cooling period to happen. and i hear many people say that this may put a burden on lawful gun owners. which i'm one. and when i went to purchase my gun, i did not need it immediately. if i had to wait two days, that was okay. the person who needs a gun right then and there is probably the person we don't want with a gun right then and there. but let me just remind this committee of what i believe was a missed opportunity back in 1990, the same time when the streets were hot because of crack cocaine. this body, this committee, this congress, decided that it would
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treat the crack cocaine epidemic in a different way, that it would find the cure to it in mass incarceration. what we didn't do is treat it as the substance abuse problem that it was. had we declared it a health epidemic back in 1990, guess what would have happened. we would have substance abuse clinics and infrastructure all across this country. and the opioid victims that we see today would have a place to go, because we would have responded correctly back in 1990. now, the question is, why am i saying that? because we have an opioid epidemic. and the president just declared it a public health crisis. and last year, opioids, we lost 14,000 individuals. synthetic opioids, 28,000.
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heroin, 15,000. it is a health epidemic. last year, we lost 39, 773 people to gun violence. which is a health epidemic. and the question becomes, let's assume i'm wrong, dr. malcolm, let's assume it's not, but what harm is there in trying to figure out the link between guns and the violence and let the cdc and nih, smart people who are doctors who are smarter than me, what's wrong letting them study it to come back to us with recommendations because that's what we're doing with the opioid epidemic. i don't want us to come here in 20 years, like i'm doing now, and somebody saying they had a chance to remove the diggy amendment, allow nih, cdc, and experts to study it but they didn't do it during that time, because the pressure was too hot, and now 20 years later,
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some, we've gone down a road and we're losing so many kids, so please tell me, what's the harm in studying it? >> guns are not a disease. they should be studied by people who are law enforcement, who know more about crime on the streets of all other kinds of possibilities. and also, there is a right, a constitutional right for ordinary people to protect themselves with firearms. there is no right to have an opioid. and it's a good jd that there isn't because you're right, it is a terrible epidemic, but doctors are not the best ones to be studying the best solutions for gun control. what i would like to see on this committee or at least the congress is taking it up in the past, is something more done to help people who are dangerously mentally ill. and i think that would be a tremendous help, because most of the people who have committed these mass murders are people who really need some kind of help. and we have dismantled our
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health establishment and not really put anything very good in its place. and while it is not a very sexy subject, i think it would be a tremendous help. >> mr. chairman, can i ask unanimous consent to enter into the record, it's annotation from dr. sackron's testimony, where it says firearm injury and death in america is not only a disease, and it references what i would like to enter into the record is, by learner hoggarten, gun violence, a bio psycho social disease. >> without objection, the material will be entered into the record. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and i want to start by saying thank you to all of you, i know it has been a long day but i especially want to thank those of you in the audience who are survivors of the gun violence, who are family members, i want to thank you, allaya, for your excellent testimony. the reality is, you all are
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putting this issue on the map, and i am so deeply grateful for that. i just have to, before i get into my questions, say to professor malcolm, with all due respect, seatbelts were not considered a public health crisis initially, cigarettes were not, either, but we took on smoking, we took on seatbelts, as dr. sackron said, and that is what we need to do with gun violence. every day, we know 109 people are killed by gun violence. hundreds more are injured. and i wanted to call attention to the fact that every 16 hours a woman is killed by an abuser, with a firearm. and in the united states, today, 4.5 million women have been threatened by an abuser with a firearm. i'm proud to be from washington state, where we have consistently passed some of the most sweeping gun reform pieces of legislation and initiatives, including comprehensive background checks in 2014. in 2016, allowing courts to
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issue extreme risk protection orders, as many of you have spoken about. and then most recently in 2018, raising the legal age to purchase a semi-automatic rifle to 21, and requiring safe storage. in 2014, we passed a law allowing courts to ask domestic violence perpetrators to surrender their firearms when judges determined that they're a credible threat. seattle and king county established a regional domestic violence firearms enforcement unit that in 2018 collected over 466 firearms, potentially saving the lives of countless survivors of domestic violence and others. i read, professor malcolm, that you have said some things that imply, or perhaps outright say that repossession of firearms could lead to the government repossessing other things, such as fire extinguishers. that so-called slippery slope argument is really a tremendous disservice. so i just wanted to give you a chance to tell me, if you believe that repossessing firearms from people under court
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order, to surrender their firearms, is going to result in the police repossessing fire extinguishers. >> i never wrote that. >> that is untrue. >> you do not believe in that argument? >> no. >> you have also asserted that women should carry guns for their own protection, because, and i believe this is your quote, government can't protect everybody, people have to be able to protect themselves. is that correct? and again a yes or no answer. >> yes. >> yes. okay. let me turn to you, major tap harper, as the commander of the domestic violence unit for the baltimore city sheriff's office, do you agree with professor malcolm's position, that victims of domestic violence will be safer if they have guns? >> i would like to point to what the national statistics say on this. and specifically, what dr. jacqueline campbell says. and what she says, quote, is, and what about the notion that that if women were armed they
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would be safer. in a survey of women in a shelter, fewer than one in 20 abused women who had access to a gun reported having ever used it in self-defense against their abuser. in another national study, owning a handgun neither increased nor decreased abused women's risk of being killed by a partner. and a third study showed that among california purchasers, of handguns, women who purchased handguns, had a 50% increase in risk of homicide. all of which could be attributed to homicide by an intimate partner. while this study -- >> let me just stop you right. >> there i'm sorry, i'm running out of time. but that was just what i was looking for. and so let me just ask a question of dr. sackron. last year, when we became the first state in the country to pass a bill allowing people at high risk of suicide to voluntarily register themselves
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to temporarily suspend their ability to purchase a firearm, i want to go to that. in your experience, as director of emergency general surgery at johns hopkins, do you think there is more that we should be doing to prevent suicide by firearm? >> thank you for that question. so this is such an important piece, because i think it has been glossed over during the discussion this afternoon. actually, most firearm deaths are from suicide. and people keep dismissing that. suicide is actually a violent death that we, or people commit to themselves. when you look at the health care community, we actually often don't see a lot of these victims. because they're going straight to the morgue. why is that? because there's such a high case fatality rate that exists when we try to commit suicide, using a firearm, versus if you're taking, you know, pills and trying to overdose. it is completely despair at.
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and absolutely there needs to be done more. and our communities need to be involved in that process which is why pieces of legislation like you've done in washington is useful. >> thank you very much. and mr. chairman, i yield back and i'm looking forward to much more work on this topic. >> thank you. >> it's been eight years, and hundreds of thousands of lives lost to gun violence since the last time congress held a hearing on this issue. and while congress has shirked its responsibility to address the epidemic of gun violence, the grass roots demand for action has taken root, and been so well represented here today. we're at a critical moment where we can save the lives of thousands of americans, and if we can, i think we must. this isn't a second amendment issue. this is a public health crisis. as the gentleman from maryland and florida pointed out, the common sense measures that
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congress is considering all pass constitutional muster. even under the restrictive reading of the constitution espoused by the late justice scalia. i grew up in a family where responsible gun ownership was common. a family of veterans. and hunters. who understood the value of safe gun policies. but those aren't the individuals we're talking about here today. we're talking about the background checks we need to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals and gun traffickers. keeping weapons of war off the street. and keeping illegal guns out of our community. and as several people have suggested, how we can help keep guns out of the hands of those who represent a danger to themselves, or others. we need a multi-faceted approach to address a multi-pronged public health program. one that in the terms of the breadth and depth of its impact on americans, could legitimately be declared a national
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emergency. it's a problem that demands a research-based and data-driven response, as suggested by the law enforcement and medical professionals who have testified here today. i want to take a moment to address two of my constituents attending today's hearing, who have turned their personal tragedies into advocacy. beverly wright, lost her son to random gun violence, when he was just 23 years old. she has since started support groups for families in my district who have been impacted by gun violence. i was struck last night, and again this morning, when beverly and other families of gun violence victims greeted each other with hugs, as though they were close associates, but then i realized that's exactly what they are, they're members of an ever-growing club that no one wants to be a member of. i want to thank them for their tireless advocacy to make sure that their club does not keep
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growing. my other guest is malcolm yates, who was just seven years old when he survived a shooting at a philadelphia candy store that claimed the life of his 5-year-old brother. he has since started a foundation and a community center in his brother's name and has become a community activist. i was proud to have malcolm and beverly at mize guests at the state of the union last night and i'm even prouder that they're here today that the historic hearing. they know what some still refuse to acknowledge. that thoughts and prayers after shootings are not enough. that gun violence has become a sk constant in too many of our kmurnts, places of worship and our schools. it's time for us to drive legislation and for that legislation to become law. before i get to my questions, i want to echo my colleagues in
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thank the chairman for having this important hearing and thanking our witnesses for being here and sharing their stories and expertise. to that end, major tapp-harper, my district is in southeastern pennsylvania and as such we're impacted by what some call the iron pipeline. seeing guns from southern states with weak gun safety laws travel to our city streets in pennsylvania. can you speak to our better tracking of lost or stolen guns can help prevent this phenomenon and decrease gun violence? >> i think universal laws that i talked about earlier and strengthening those federal laws is the way. i think that's the way to keep everybody safe, as i mentioned earlier. >> okay. and chief, how account federal
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government including the atf be more active in stemming the problem of guns? how can we help local law enforcement? >> i'll speak loud, how's that? >> you move that other mike over there perhaps? >> no. >> or that one. >> you have to slide the brown box over. >> sorry about that, i'll fix it here in second. oh, thank you. you get an assist. first of all, we need to get atf up and running. it is it an open secret amongst law enforcement circles that congress has handcuffed the atf. it congress is interested in fighting gun violence, we need to properly fund the atf, increase the number of agents on the ground in atf and go off all the illegal guns. they're a phenomenal partner.
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i think they're underappreciated but stadly i don't think the american people know what a great asset that organization is and how much it's being underutilized as a result of a lask funding and support from congress. >> thank you. i yield back. >> thank you. mrs. garcia of texas. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank the audience. i know we started out at 10:00 and here we are. we can koh do the manning, abth five hours. thank you for hanging with us. and ms. lindquist, thanks for sharing. i know it takes a lot of courage to come before us and share injuyour stories. we were touched and we certainly stand with you in trying to make changes in both of the areas that you talked about. chief, i wanted to start with you. i know this is not an immigration hearing, although it began to sound like one earlier. but there was a comment made
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about criminal aliens, which of course is a word, as my colleague from houston that i find very offensive, and there was a question that -- there was a statement had that implied that unauthorized immigrants that come to this country quickly goes to get a gun and starts committing some heinous crime. i know you track a lot of this because i've heard your stats in houston. could you tell us, comparatively speaking in terms of crimes committed by unauthorized immigrants versus nonimmigrants? >> well, thank you. i mean, first i really was starting to think it was an immigration hearing when he started speaking earlier. then i thought i was being forgotten like the children have been taken from their mothers seek asylum in the united states that we can't seem to find or account for. but let me be clear. every study that we've seen will show than you documented immigrants are underrepresented in terms of their commission of crimes.
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most of those individuals are here to seek a better way of life like every one of our ancestors. mr. gets gave us a handful and attributed them to undocumented immigrants, yet i had mass shooting in the united states a crime between june, 2015, to january, 2019. >> you have the whole list? >> yes. >> that included 41 mass shootings with 251 americans killed, 1,095 injured and to my knowledge, i don't believe a single one of those shooters were undocumented immigrants. i think we need to keep that in mind. having said that, undocumented immigrants should not be able to have, possess, or actually purchase guns. and by not supporting this legislation, we're not only making it easier for those undocumented immigrants that are actually criminal immigrants or that actually prey or other immigrants and others and
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tearists from getting firearms. if we want would to keep firearms out of the hands of undocumented immigrants, we know if we build the wall they're going to go over the wall, under the wall, and through the wall but we're not going to keep them out. so we need to do everything we can to keep firearms in the hands of law abiding citizens of sound mind and that's what this legislation aims do. >> thank you, chief. now to the doctor, i read in your written testimony that you suggest there's about a 221 billion, and that's billion with a "b" in economic costs to the medical healthcare system in dealing with the violence and the trauma care you provide. i must tell you that i signed up for a doctor for a day program with a hospital in houston. i'm sure you know it's a well-known trauma center. and i got to be in the surgery room when a gunshot victim came in. and i watched the whole surgery,
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i think they were surprised because a lot of people see blood for the first time and they faint. i did not faint, i got through it. what's the economic impact? is that the latest figure or when? and about how much is it like per victim that comes in? >> well, thank you for that question. i'm glad that you had the opportunity to experience what we're seeing, you know, every day when it comes to these gunshot wound victims. when you look at -- if the human impact is not enough, there is an economic impact, as you allude to. economic impact actually is very difficult to narrow down. so we did a study just published last year in health affairs that essentially found that about the cost is about $2.8 billion. and this is just the cost of patients that are coming to the
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hospital after having been shot. when you look at the societal cost, that's even more tremendous and there's figures over $220 billion that is out there in the literature that's stated. so it's hard to, you know, kind of narrow that down because there's a lot of things that you have to take into factor. can they go back to work and other societal aspects. but it's a significant economic impact to our healthcare system and to our country. >> so not only is it a public health issue, it's an economic issue? >> absolutely. some of those figures, they're more than some of our departments and administrations are actually spending when you look at department of education and so forth. so just think about that for a second and think about all of that, you know, essentially economic funds that are going to waste, not to mention people not being able to get back and integrate into society. >> thank you and thank you so much for staying in your lane.
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>> thank you. the time of the gentle lady has expired. >> thank you, mr. chairman for hosting this important hearing and thank you for the witnesses, the survivors, the many folks who are gathered here today and particularly the young folks, the activists with moms demand action, so many people that have been highlighting this issue. we appreciate your activism and your service. i also want to make sure i recognize a constituent of mine back home, the founder of moms demand action, shannon watts who happens to live in boulder, colorado, where i represent and hail from and who has led on this issue for so many years and i'm prayed to represent her and so many others in colorado that have been touched by this issue. i,s i, as i mentioned, have the great honor of representing colorado and we have had multiple countless tragedies of gun violence in our state. some folks earlier mentioned columbine high school in 1999
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which killed 15 to the shoug in the movie theater in aurora in 2012 which 12 people perished along with countless others every day, incidence of gun violence. at the time of the shooting at columbine i was 14 years old. i lived ten minutes away and ten miles away from that high school. but it's not my story that i want to share today. there are many survivors who have waited quite some time to have their experiences heard and acknowledged and true recognition given to this issue. so i just want to share one of theirs stories before i jump into my questions. a young man, daniel mouser, was killed in the columbine shooting. he was roughly my age, 15 years old at the time. this april 20th in just two months will mark the 20th anniversary of the tragedy at columbine high school in littleton, colorado. i spoke to daniel's father yesterday, tom mouser. and he recounted the story to me that just two weeks before the tragedy 15-year-old daniel asked his father a question at the
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dinner table reflecting on a conversation in his debate class. he said, dad, did you know there are loopholes in the brady bill? two weeks later daniel was skilled at columbine high school with a gun purchased through one of those loopholes. daniel's father, tom, remains haunted by that question today and by the hole in our gun laws that allowed his son to be killed. he has commit dollated his life championing this issue. when he first began sharing his store story, he wore his son's shoes telling people that he had taken his son's place in the great debate about gun violence. months after the columbine tragic dip, colorado voters voted to close the background check loophole and many other states have since followed suit. the american people understood that we need to keep firearms out of the wrong hands. and yet it is 20 years later and we at the federal level have shamefully done nothing about this issue. that is why i'm so excited to support hr-8 and so grateful to
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the sponsors, to representative thompson, the folks in the gun violence intervention task force for leading on this issue. with that, i want to ask a question around extreme risk protection orders and red flag orders. i know it's been discussed at some length by the committee. as some folks may know, my home state of colorado will soon take up similar legislation and i support that legislation. i'm hoping we can work on that issue in this committee. but my question is for major tapp-harper, you know, as a state that has enacted similar legislation, if you could speak to some of the impacts that the lemg slati legislation has had in your state. >> right. so this past year maryland just got the extreme risk protective order and the importance of getting that it now gives law enforcement officers and other individuals the option of getting protective orders. where in the past it was limited
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to certain family members. and individuals who were married to a person. otherwise, it would have to be a peace order. so that was very important. and the other thing is if law enforcement officers see certain behaviors distributed, they can then go and get a protective order for that individual and they can get the weapons from the home. so that's really important for us. >> thank you, major tapp-harper. with that, mr. chairman, i'd like to yield the rest of my time, with your approval, to my colleague ms. mcbeth as i believe her story is certainly one that we need to hear and i want to make sure she has ample time do so. >> the gentle lady is recognized. >> thank you very much to my colleague. during testimony before this senate judiciary committee, just a couple weeks ago attorney general nominee william barr said these words. he said we need to push along extreme risk protection orders so that we have these red flag
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laws to supplement the use of background checks to find out if someone has a mental disturbance. this is the single most important thing that we can do in the gun control area to stop these mass shootings from happening in the first place. and i'd also like to say that senator graham and senator blumenthal introduced a bipartisan federal extreme risk law in the senate last year that i also plan to develop for introduction in the house with my colleagues hopefully very soon. >> ms. mcbeth, the gentleman's time has expired, but i will go ahead and recognize you for your time, the gentle lady's recognized for five minutes. >> thank you very much. >> major tapp-harper, do you agree with the attorney general nominee that extreme risk law should be the top priority for gun violence prevention? >> i do agree that extreme risk protective order laws are very important. there are several states that already have them. and the ones that don't, just as
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i mentioned earlier, with those federal laws we need to become consistent as a country. and we need to get those laws in effect across the nation. so, yes, i do think it's very important. >> thank you. >> and mr. chairman. do you want know -- go ahead. okay. also, and, all right, thank you. and the binkleys know that florida already has an extreme risk law in place when they're daughter was murdered. this was the couple i spent time with last night at the state of union address, they were my guests. they still believe in the potential of the extreme risk orders, they still believe in the potential alongside officer training and more research into authentic makers of the dangerousness of these laws. dr. sakran, how could congress support the implementation of extreme risk laws?
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>> well, i think one thing that is important to recognize is, you know, passing the legislation is one piece, but also raising education and awareness that actually is present is another. you know, thousand oaks is another example where, you know, that could have potentially been enforced. you know, california has the erpo laws and these laws have been used in the past to, you know, prevent suicide and other forms of gun violence. and we have other states where we've seen this like vermont where, you know, two months after the parkland massacre when it was implemented they actually stopped an 18-year-old kid from, you know, proceeding with a mass shooting that was going to happen at a high school. and that was all documented. so i think passing the legislation is important, but also ensuring that we're raising awareness about it and people understand it and they know how
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to proceed and enacting it is very critical. >> thank you. and ms. eastman, i'm so sorry i was out of the room earlier when you gave your testimony and i do apologize for not having been here. but i'd just like to thank you so much for your bravery. i cannot tell you how important your being here and all of the students and gun violence survivors and i applaud you for being here. i just wanted to give you another chance to speak if you had anything else that you wanted to say because your voice is extremely critical and we need to hear more from you. >> thank you. i do believe that it's important that we continue to have eergs like this and i strongly urge you guys to have the hearing again but particularly to address gun violence in urban communities because that hasn't been touched upon nearly enough during this hearing today. again, black and brown are disproportionately impacted by gun violence and we cannot
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continue to have hearings and not address those issues. so i do urge you guys to have another one, particularly for gun violence in marginalized communities. thank you. >> thank you. mr. chairman, i yield back my time. >> gentle lady yields back. thank you very much. i recognize the gentleman from arizona, mr. stanton for five minutes. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. thank you for holding this hearing today. it's been a great hearing with outstanding testimony. it's my honor to serve in this committee and to sit next to congresswoman mcbeth and when this congress finally does pass hr-8, which i think we will, it will honor you, congresswoman giffords, survivors of gun violence, it will honor the family and friends of victims of gun violence and it will be the right thing to do. before i join this distinguished body, i spent six years as a big city mayor, mayor of phoenix, arizona. there's a lot of big challenges in that job and even a few fears. but there is nothing that i feared more than i get a call of
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a mass shooting in my city. we were lucky in phoenix. many other communities were not. aurora, newtown, san bernardino, orlando, las vegas, parkland, pittsburgh, thousand oaks, the list goes on and on. and it pains me, mr. chairman, that between the time when the first shot rang out at newtown to today this body has not held a single hearing. not a single hearing on what we can do to reduce gun violence until today. the american people deserve better. my community, like every american community, is not immune from gun violence. i can tell you that my darkest and hardest days as mayor were delivered at the hand of gun violence. police officers were murdered by those who shouldn't have had a gun. women and children were gunned down in acts of domestic
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violence by someone who should not have had a gun. i've mourned with family members who've lost loved ones to gun violence. i've worked alongside survivors and and video indicates whose lives have been torn apart and stitched back together again after encountering their worst fears. our nation stops when there is a mass shooting. but here's the cold reality. gun violence happens every single day in america. it takes lives every single day. but it has become so commonplace that it doesn't make headlines. we're here today to examine a public health crisis in our nation throughout my public service i've met with people from all walks of life. people from both sides of the aisle and they all agree that we must do something to stop this violence. to stop innocent people from
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dying. democrats and republicans alike respect gun rights and are in favor of common sense gun laws. these are not competing values. 97% of americans support background checks for every gun sale. 97%. that means gun owners, republicans, they all support background checks and that support is overwhelming. background checks on all gun sales are the backbone of any comprehensive gun violence prevention plan. and for me, this is where we come together to make a difference. as difficult as it has been to hear the powerful testimony from our witnesses here today, we have a responsibility to listen and to not look away. there is a thread that we use these experienced together. too many guns are being used
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against innocent people and too many ill gotten guns are being used against innocent people and we must put an end to it. and that's high this hearing is important and the action that this committee is going to take in the next few days and weeks is very important. i do have time for maybe one or two questions. ms. thompson, i'd ask you about the nix act and the attempt to fix it or some loopholes remaining in that that hr-8 would fill in. i wanted to inform this committee and maybe the public as to how hr-8 would help fix some of those loopholes. >> well, part of the problem that we're dealing with with background checks is that while you go to a licensed gun dealer and the dealer conducts a background check, interests so many places where unlicensed dealers it's often called private sales but the truth is it's not just private sales, it's any sale by someone who's not choosing to be a licensed dealer. those sales have really spread to the point where we don't know exactly where they're happening. we certainly know that they're
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happening through online sales like arms list which was referenced earlier. we know they're happening at gun shows, anyone who's been to a gun show knows that there are tables that say no background check required where unlicensed dealers sell their guns and you don't need a background check, and they can be sold legally out of the trunk of a car on the corner without background checks in most states. so ha this law does is it requires whether you air private seller, whether you're selling online, at a gun show, whether you're a licensed dealer, all of those transfers happen through a licensed dealer and include a background check, he will help us keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people and then enable us to look at next steps. enforcing something like an extreme risk protective order also requires universal background checks because without that in place, it's very difficult to keep individuals from acquiring new guns. so it is basically the floor that allows to us then look at all the other ways that we need to regulate guns in order to keep our community safer. >> thank you so much. >> thank you, time of the gentleman has expired. ms. dean of pennsylvania.
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>> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to join my colleagues in saying that today is a day of action and it's a day of extraordinary hope. i want to thank all of you for being here and for those who don't know, there's an overflow room of other members who came, activists, family members, victims who came. they wanted to be a part of this, so i thank you, knows in the ante room for being here and remaining all these hours. i think about it and i think about the time of our work in this day. and from the time we got up this morning until the time we'll go to bed tonight, another 300 people in this country will be shot, wounded, or killed. 100 people today will die of gun violence as we do our work or as we fail do our work. 200 more will be wounded literally caught in the crossfire. that's not just today, that's yesterday, that's tomorrow, and yet last night we listened to a
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state of the union address by the leader of the free world, the leader of this great democracy that mentioned nothing about gun violence, about the scourge of gun violence that wounds or kills a total of 120,000 people a year. it is stunning. and for somebody who to have testified that there's just been a small uptick in violence and in gun deaths when two years ago there were 33,000 people who died of gun violence, last year it was 40,000 people died. more than half to suicide. i don't call that a small uptick. 'it's one more it's not a small uptick if it's my family member. i want to thank in particular my guest who came with me last night, ms. jamie amo. jamie is a survivor of columbine. she was a fresh nan fateful day
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and she described to me the fear, the sounds, the haunting hiding and trying to figure out where was a safe haven. and she is now a young mother of three and advocate and i'm so proud of you, jamie. here's why i'm proud of you. because as abraham lincoln said, public sentiment is everything. with public sentiment nothing can fail. without it, nothing can succeed. public sentiment is on our side, mr. chairman, and i thank you for holding this hearing. i thank the champion chairman thompson. i now want to thank ms. east mond eastmonde, may this body hear you, pass this legislation, get it to the senate, send it to the president, and begin to save lives. ms. whittaker, i am mystified that the folks, my colleagues on the other side of the i'll
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instead of approaching this hearing today by saying you're right, we have a problem, what with can we do about it? instead they're step immediately out of the box was this isn't a good move. you're not going to saveny lives th any lives this way. let me tell you how background checks save lives and as i end it in my statement i want to pivot to the chief and major to talk about the efficacy of background checks. let me talk about my state. pennsylvania, as we know nearly 40,000 people were killed by gun violence in 2017. over 1600 took place in my state of pennsylvania. 91 of those lives were lost in my single district. weapon in pennsylvania have not only the nix system but we have a robust overlay, the pennsylvania instant check system. and i will ask at the end of my time, mr. chairman, for unanimous consent to put in a report of the 2017 picks annual
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report showing the ef case cyst two systems. here's some of the numbers. between its inception in 1990 eight, this is run by the pennsylvania state police heroically, franklin, with such duty and care. since its inception till 2017, picks referred more than 26,000 investigations were responsible for more than 7,000 arrests, almost 4,000 convictions as a result of prohibited purchasers attempting to purchase. and failing background checks. and of those, picks has been responsible for the apprehension of more than 2,200 individuals with active arrest warpts. warrants. so for those who would have you believe the bad guys aren't ever going to try to buy a gun, nonsense. utter nonsense. the good news about the picks system is it does not suffer the
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charleston loophole. instead of a default when we can't get an answer of a yes or no, a default to okay, we'll sell you the gun, there's no default. the default is to no and the purchaser move must appeal and find clarity in that background check. having said those things, and just being so proud that this committee's going to do something about this, that this congress is going to do something about this and it's because of all of you, i wanted to ask you please, can you comment also on the efficacy of robust and complete background check systems? >> time of the lady has -- the gentle lady has expired. witness may answer the question. >> i would simply say that in states where we have robust regulation, states like pennsylvania that have moved to fill some of the loopholes and federal law, states like california, connecticut, new york, we are seeing a far greater reduction in gun violence and gun injuries. when you look at states with strong laws, you see much lower gun death rates. states with weak laws have much higher gun death rates. so we know that when states like
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pennsylvania and others take action to fill those loopholes, gun violence and gun death in that state is reduced. it's not enough. we need a federal system that doesn't create a patch worveg laws. something like hr-8 that actually fills the gaps that lead to trafficking. the iron pipeline was mentioned before up to states with federal gun laws. but in the meantime without it states are taking action and they're seeing positive results from it. >> thank you. mr. chairman. >> yes. >> seek unanimous consent to enter into the record the pennsylvania check system report. >> without objection the report willing entered into the record. >> thank you. >> the time of the gentle lady has expired. the gentle lady from florida. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you especially for holding such a critical hearing. i think it's been long overdue. the first hearing discussing the effects of gun violence in over a decade. thank you to all the witnesses
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for being here with us this afternoon. some of you may already know the issue of gun violence is deeply personal to me. and unfortunately it's very personal for too many americans now. gun violence is the leading cause of death in american children. and i want all of us to think about that just for one moment. far more children die in this country because of a bullet than because of cancer. my father was a victim of gun violence. when i was 24 years old, i received a phone call. i was getting my masters degree to be told that my father had been shot and killed by a criminal with a gun. the pain that i feel when we discuss this issue here today when i hear the news of the mass shootings in parkland, orlando,
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vegas is there. my father never had the chance to walk me down the aisle. he never met my children. and i want all of you to know that when i took the oath of office, i made a promise that i would not stop until we finally past common sense gun reform. because i owe it to my father, i owe it to my sisters, to so many parents that have lost their children and my community. and i owe it to all of you here today. sometimes people say that this tragedy happens in ecuador and that this is america, so why should that matter in the context of gun violence here in the united states? and i can tell you why.
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the trauma inflicted upon families is not -- is always the same, no matter where you are in the world. we are united not by the place where we were born but by our own personal experiences. my family was devastated in ecuador and so too were many family members in my community. and i want to remind all of you and tell you a little bit about someone that lost his life in my community. cornell williams thomas was only 2 years old when he was playing outside of his apartment complex building. he was shot and killed by a stray bullet. i met his parents who every day mourn the loss of their toddler. the mother knowing that every year that passes she'll never be able to see him going through elementary school, graduating
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from middle school, high school. there are so many steps that we can take to address the source of gun violence across this country. universal background checks will not prevent all deaths, but they are a very important first step. and i know that somehow it's changing because when i see all of you hear todre today, i know finally we'll be able to pass common sense gun reforms. i wanted to also just briefly answer to some of the comments that i've heard here today that are extremely offensive and insulting, i know that some people believe that the criminals that are killing and committing all these murders are immigrants. i am an immigrant and the research is clear that immigrants are significantly less likely to commit crimes than u.s.-born citizens. whether documented or
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undocumented. and i also want to remind that we need to be respectful of those who have lost their lives to gun violence, we have two people in parkland who were immigrants. with that, i would like to ask ms. thomas, if you could just elaborate on -- i know that you've done research on this topic. on the increase of mass shootings with assault weapons after the ban was lifted, if you could talk to me a little bit about that research. >> i'll just very briefly say that if you look at high fatality mass shootings, which are mass shootings of six people or more, in the years after the expiration of the assault weapon ban in 2004, high fatality mass
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shooting injuries went up by more than 200%. if you look at high fatality mass shootings during the time of the ban, those were down by almost 40%. so while it's difficult to mesh you're the impact on a one i had bun basis, if you look at those mass shootings that really are the most impactful, there is a significant difference during the ban and since the ban took' infect. and those numbers have continued to rise year after year after year. so we're seeing more and more of these types of shootings as thee very lethal weapons proliferate more. >> have i -- >> time of the get will lady has expired. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> gentleman have a consent request? >> yes, mr. chairman. >> i ask that the -- us davis health study entitled study population level changes and fire homicide or suicide rates in california continues after comprehensive background check and policies enacted be admitted without -- >> without objection the document willing admitted into
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the record. mr. lue is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chair. according to the center for disease control latest figures, 109 people die from gun violence every day, that comes out to nine people every two hours, so since this hearing has started over 23 people in america have been shot and killed by guns. and no community semimun from gun violence. in my hometown of torrance one month ago three people were killed at a bowling alley. in 2017, in las vegas, the mass shooting a number of my constituents were killed. it does not have to be this way. and all of us are entitled to our opinions, i thank many of you in this room for your advocacy and for the witnesses being here. but when we legislate we should do it on facts. so i'm just going to talk about some studies and then put them into the record. in 2018, researchers at johns hopkins university and uc davis
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published a study called association between firearm laws and homicide in urban counties where they found that right to carry and stand your ground laws are associated with increases in firearm homicide. while permit to purchase laws in those prohibiting individuals convicted of violent misdemeanors have been associated with decreases in firearm homicide. second study. in 14 researches of johns hopkins unit published effects of repeal in the purchaser law on homicides. they found that it repeal missouri's law was associated with a 25% increase in firearm homicides. in 2018, researchers published a study where they found that strong state firearm policies were associated with lower homicide rates and strong interstate policies were also associated with lower homicide rates. they also found that strong firearm policies were associated with lower suicide rates as well. and then in 2017 researchers at
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duke university did a study where they analyzed connecticut's extreme risk law and found that for every ten to 20 risk warrants issue one suicide was prevented. and i would like to enter these into the record with the chairman's consent. >> without objection the documents will be entered into the record. >> i do note that some of these studies do mention suicide and if you look at the overwhelming number of gun deaths they occur because of suicide. three of five gun deaths are a result of suicide. my first question is to dr. sakran. wanted to see if you had any ideas to solutions as to how we could better address the number of people being killed by suicide by gun. >> so thank you for that question. when you look at suicides and it's important when we're looking at deaths in general to break up these different populations because actually suicide deaths are primarily an older white male. and in this population, specifically there has been
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association from a mental health perspective. some of this stuff that we're hearing about, access to mental health, is absolutely correct and it's true. but the way we have to approach this and think about this is from a system's perspective. and we can't just have one necessary solution. so another aspect is the, you know, extreme risk protection order policies that we've been talking about. enabling families and law enforcement to actually be proactive and preventing these from happening. >> thank you. ms. thomas, do you think extreme risk laws would help prevent suicides? >> absolutely. you know, extreme risk protective orders are intended to be used by law enforcement and family members and very often family members have warning signs and indicators that a loved one is showing signs of distress or crisis and they know often when their loved ones have guns. so being able to utilize that process to protect their loved
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ones from causing harm to themselves is an incredibly valuable tool for preventing suicides along with things like safe storage laws. >> thank you. and let me conclude by noting that earlier in testimony one of the republican witnesses, proffer malcolm had stated that had shooter cruz in park land but put on a background list he would not have passed the background check and would not have gotten a gun. so i'm pleased you acknowledge that the background system could have prevented him from getting a gun. i note that it wasn't quite accurate because cruz could have walked into a gun show and gotten a gun. that's what hr-8 will do, it will prevent people from doing that. so i look forward to your such hr-8. and with that i yield back. >> thank the gentleman and ms. demings of florida is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you so much, mr. chairman, and to all of our witnesses. thank you so much for being here
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with us. i know it's bane loeen a long, day to the add crowe video indicates, survivors and supporters and to the audience. we appreciate you. we appreciate you to be here to hold us accountable. this is a tough subject i think for everybody -- well, most people in the room. i spent 27 years as a law enforcement officer and i served as the chief of police in orlando. and i got to tell you, i'm sick and tired of watching sons and daughters and husbands and wives and mothers and fathers die through gun violence by someone with a gun who should have never had a gun in their possession in the first place. my colleagues on the other side of the aisle can't tell me a
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daggone thing about rights. because you know what? i can't help but think about the rights of the victims who died at the hands of someone with a gun who should have never had a gun in the first place. my goodness! in a country that we say is the greatest country in the world, we are 25 times more likely to be killed through gun violence! in a country that we say is the greatest country in the world, my god, you ought to be able to go to school, go to church, go to synagogue, go to a concert, go to a movie theater, go to a nightclub not just in orlando, but in any city in this country and not have to worry about somebody walking in with a gun. ronald reagan, republican
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president said legislation would be worth passing if it meant even small reductions in gun violence. which -- which life? tell me which life, if it saves one life, which life is not worth saving? which -- which life? and so i'm sick and tired of sitting here, i thank god that we're at least having a hearing because we haven't had one in eight years and there's been a lot of talk about national emergencies and crises and national health emergencies. well, doggone it, when mass numbers of people die in this country, i would consider that daggone it a national emergency. it's time. and congress, we sit here with the ability and the power to do
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something! and history will not be kind to us if we continue to allow the gun lobby to buy us and sell us! now is the time for change! if you don't have the guts or the courage to do something about this issue and send a message to the american people who desperately turn to us, then it's time for you to leave! >> yes. [ applause ] >> it's really time for you to leave. and i want to talk to my law enforcement colleagues, i still consider you colleagues, and to the emergency room doctor. you deal with this every day. you've not only had to break bad news to families who loved ones weren't out doing the wrong thing, they were in the right place, a place they had the right to be doing the right thing, not only have you had to break that bad news, but you've also had to bury your own
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because they died as a result of someone who shouldn't have had a gun in the first place. i talked to an memergency room doctor who shared to me the difference in the victims of the person who were shot with an assault rifle versus those with a handgun. chances of survival are almost zero when you're shot with an assault rifle. so, please, in the little time we have left, major and chief, if you would please just talk about gun violence in your community and why this issue is so important to you and then we'll end with the doctor. >> thank you for that -- those comments, they're just really well taken. but i just want to say real quickly, it is a scourge, it's ongoing, it's daily. and in our city, one of the problems we're having now is the department of justice legal team decided that fugitives can't be in the system. so we have 500,000 people that we know are wanted for a serious crime that would make them prohibited purchasers and let me
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give you the example of how that can get women and children killed. my people go to a house, they find a woman that's been abused, the perpetrator of the crime is not there. we go out, we get a warrant. and if we can't enter that person into the system, that individual can go out, buy a firearm, come back and finish the job. and so there are a lot of loopholes that you're addressing and i want to tell you all, thank you for your courage and thank you for speaking out. and, again, i love prayers, i welcome prayers, but, look, i've said before, the american people -- my mayor has me in my job to fight crime and i think the american people have elected you not to just pray, but to actually lead and pass legislation to save lives. >> thank you. >> yes, ma'am, thank you. i just wanted to mention real quick i have 13 deputies in my unit and in 2015 they recovered 65 guns, 2016 67 guns, 2017 51
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guns, 2018 81 guns. so i find that these numbers continue to increase and i just try to keep them encouraged. 13 people serving protective orders. >> thank you. >> thank you. this concludes today's hearing. i want to thank our distinguished witnesses for attending. i want to thank the members of the audience for the most part observing the decorum of the committee and a very -- and a very emotional issue. without objection all members will have five legislative days to submit additional written questions to the witnesses or additional materials for the record. with that, the hearing is adjourned.
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tomorrow on c-span 3 the house ways and means committee holds a hearing on legislation that would require the president and vice president to release their tax returns. president trump has not released his tax returns. before president trump all presidents since richard nixon had publicly released their
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