9-13-04 - Jim McDermott
Mr. MCDERMOTT. Mr. Speaker, in the one minute it will take to read these remarks, an Uzi can fire off 1,700 rounds. Uzis and similar assault weapons are about to be legal again, as if we don't have enough to worry about in America. For the past ten years, the assault weapons ban has protected Americans from these lethal, military-designed guns. These weapons are not used for hunting animals. They are used to kill human beings. The assault weapons ban has bipartisan support, both in Congress and across the nation. Seventy-five percent of Americans want to see the ban extended. Even two-thirds of gun owners favor renewing the ban. Yet the Republican leadership has refused to take action. Now, these killing machines will be back in circulation. Good and decent people won't buy them. Those who hate us will, and we have just made it easier. The President says he favors the ban, but he made no effort to get his Republican leadership, which controls both the House and Senate, to bring the issue up for a vote.
Mr. FARR. Mr. Speaker, today I come to the floor to protest the Republican leadership's refusal to renew the assault weapons ban. I have heard from law enforcement agencies across the country and citizens from my district urging Congress to take action and renew the assault weapons ban. It is unconscionable that this ban has been allowed to lapse and that we may again see assault style weapons on our street corners.
The assault weapons ban did not have to expire. There are several bills in both the House and Senate that would have extended the assault weapons ban and continued to protect our law enforcement officers from these dangerous weapons . I am a cosponsor of H.R. 2038, the Assault Weapons Ban and Law Enforcement Protection Act of 2003, and H.R. 3831, Assault Weapons Ban Reauthorization Act of 2003. Either of these bills would have successfully and seamlessly continued the protection established by the original assault weapons ban in 1994.
The Assault Weapons Ban has proven remarkably effective in reducing the use of assault weapons in crime. Since 1994, the proportion of assault weapons traced to crimes has fallen by a dramatic 66 percent. In addition, opinion polls show that 75 percent of the public supports the renewal of the assault weapons ban. This legislation takes a commonsense approach that successfully protects the rights of those who collect or hunt and use weapons for legitimate recreational purposes, while also guarding the safety of our law enforcement officers.
On this issue, the Congressional Republican leadership has ignored the will of the public, the professional opinion of law enforcement agencies across the country, and even the views of President Bush who publicly stated his willingness to sign an extension of the assault weapons ban into law. I am saddened by this failure and I will continue working to reinstate the assault weapons ban and to provide our law enforcement officers with the greatest protection possible.
Mr. ROTHMAN. Madam Speaker, I rise today to call on the House Republican leadership to allow us to vote on H.R. 2038 and H.R. 3831, which would allow us to decide whether we should let the assault weapons ban stay in effect or disappear from America.
This Monday, September 13, the assault weapons ban will expire, unless the House Republican leadership allows us to vote on whether to keep it in effect or let it expire.
Madam Speaker, the second amendment to the United States Constitution allows individuals to own firearms. The question is, where do we draw the line? Should people be allowed to have shoulder-fired rocket launchers that down airplanes? Of course not. Well, you do not need a 20-round-a-minute assault weapon to take down a deer.
Madam Speaker, I ask the House Republican leadership to allow this Congress to allow us to vote on whether we should extend the assault weapons ban or should we just, because they will not let us vote, have it expire. The assault weapons ban works. Since it went into effect, these crimes have gone down 66 percent.
Mr. MORAN of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to draw attention to an issue that has languished here in the House and in the other body.
Ten years ago, Congress, at the urging of then-President Clinton, enacted sweeping reforms in an effort to crack down on crime. 100,000 officers were added to the law enforcement ranks. Background checks and waiting periods to purchase firearms were made mandatory. And perhaps one of the most important pieces in this omnibus anti-crime initiative, the Assault Weapons Ban (AWB), was brought into effect.
These reforms have worked. In the ten years since enactment, crime in the U.S. has gone down dramatically. Firearm deaths have decreased by 25 percent. The use of semi-automatic guns in crimes has lowered by nearly 50 percent.
But on Monday, September 13th, one of the key policies that has made the past decade an anti-crime success story will be dismantled. Despite campaign promises in 2000 that the law would be reauthorized, President Bush has not lifted a finger to save the Assault Weapons Ban. At the same time, the House and Senate Majority Leadership have consistently opposed efforts to bring the bill up for a vote.
Despite this unwillingness to act, the sad fact remains that the banned assault weapons and copycat versions that gun manufacturers issued to legally circumvent the law lead to gun deaths. Assault weapons are being used in one out of every five killings of law enforcement officers in the U.S. These guns have no use for hunters and very limited use for sport shooting. To most people, this is a common sense public safety issue. Polls have consistently shown that nearly three-fourths of the public support extending the AWB.
On Monday, if we lose the assault ban, which appears to be the case barring a legislative miracle, then we will have lost both a symbolic and practical tool in the fight against gun violence in America. Our streets will once again be less safe. Police officers will have a greater reason to worry about their safety, and gangs, terrorists, drug dealers, and criminals of every description will have greater access to weapons enabling their activities and putting the safety of all Americans at risk.
Mr. Speaker, I call on this body to listen to the American public and do its duty to protect the safety of our citizens. The Assault Weapons Ban should be brought up for a vote immediately.
Mr. LEVIN. Mr. President, in less than one week, the 1994 assault weapons ban will expire and our Nation will once again be vulnerable to guns known to most in the law enforcement community as ``the weapons of choice for criminals.'' If the ban is allowed to expire on September 13, potential criminals, including terrorists, could have access to 19 of the highest powered and most lethal firearms capable of being produced. These guns have no sporting purpose and no place on our streets.
In addition to banning 19 specific weapons , the current ban also includes prohibitions on semiautomatic weapons that incorporate a detachable magazine and two or more specific military features. These features include folding/telescoping stocks, protruding pistol grips, bayonet mounts, threaded muzzles or flash suppressors, barrel shrouds, or grenade launchers. Common sense should tell us that there is no reason for civilians to have easy access to guns with these features.
Los Angeles Chief of Police Bill Bratton has said the following about these weapons : ``Since the Assault Weapons Ban was passed in 1994, we have seen a 66% decline in the frequency of assault weapon use in crime. Violent criminals love these weapons because they give them far more firepower than conventional weapons that greatly increases their capacity to kill. We cannot allow these weapons to get back into their hands.''
It is important to listen to Chief Bratton and other law enforcement officials who support an extension of the assault weapons ban. The ban is important for the safety of all Americans but is especially important for the safety of our police officers.
In 1994, I voted for the assault weapons ban and in March of this year I joined a bipartisan majority of the Senate in voting to extend the ban for 10 years. Unfortunately, despite Senate passage of the amendment, it appears that this important gun safety law will be allowed to expire. The House Republican leadership opposes reauthorizing the law and President Bush, though he has said he supports it, has done little to keep the law alive.
Time is running short. We should support our law enforcement officers and reauthorize this common sense ban on assault weapons . Congress needs to act immediately to reauthorize the ban. I ask unanimous consent that a list of some of the organizations supporting this legislation be printed in the RECORD.
There being no objection, the following material was ordered to be printed in the RECORD, as follows:
International Association of Chiefs of Police
Major Cities Chiefs Association
Police Executive Research Forum
International Brotherhood of Police Officers
National Association of School Resource Officers
National Fraternal Order of Police
National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives
Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association
[Page: S9072] GPO's PDF
National Black Police Association
National League of Cities
US Conference of Mayors
National Association of Counties
US Conference of Catholic Bishops (GRRRRRRRR)
National Education Association
American Bar Association
Americans for Gun Safety
Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence United with the Million Mom March
Church Women United
Episcopal Church, USA
American Academy of Family Physicians
American Public Health Association
Family Violence Prevention Fund
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
National Network to End Domestic Violence
National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems
National Association of Social Workers
Physicians for a Violence Free Society
American Association of Suicidology
Mothers Against Violence in America
Child Welfare League of America
Alliance for Justice
------ MORE LENIN
Mr. LEVIN. Mr. President, in a matter of hours, the assault weapons ban will expire. That moment will mark a turning point--to the wrong direction--in our effort to reduce gun violence. Criminals, and potentially terrorists, will once again have easy access to 19 of the highest powered and most lethal firearms produced. I am disappointed that, despite broad bipartisan support for the ban, the Republican congressional leadership opposes it and President Bush has done little or nothing to support this important legislation.
At midnight tonight, 19 currently banned assault weapons will become legal once again, as well as firearms that can accept detachable magazines and have more than one of several specific military features, such as a folding/telescoping stock, protruding pistol grip, bayonet mount, threaded muzzle or flash suppressor, barrel shroud or grenade launcher. Common sense tells us that there is no reason for civilians to have easy access to guns with these features.
Over the past year, I have repeatedly urged the Congress to act. I believe that allowing gun manufacturers to restart production of these dangerous weapons will increase their number and availability on our streets and lead to a rise in gun crimes committed with assault weapons .
Many in the law enforcement community have called the currently banned assault weapons ``the weapons of choice for criminals.'' This is what the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police has said about the expiration of the assault weapons ban:
We are disappointed in the lack of political will to extend a ban that has apparently worked. In the ten years of the ban's life, there has been a 66% reduction in assault weapons traced to crime.
The MACP has informed me that 14 police officers have been killed in the U.S. by assault weapons already this year. Unfortunately, that the number will likely rise as the assault weapons ban is allowed to expire.
Last week, Police Chief Ervin Portis of Jackson, MI, came to Washington, DC in support of reauthorizing the assault weapons ban. Accompanying him on this trip was David Harvey, retired chief of police of Garden City, MI. Chief Harvey was chief of police on December 31, 2002, when an armed assailant set out to execute a police officer from Garden City. His intended victim was Officer Rodney Donald. Officer Donald was shot 7 times with a semi-automatic rifle that contained a magazine with a capacity of 100 rounds. Officer Donald is now permanently disabled and unable to perform duties as a police officer. The clip used in this attack is currently banned, but, like many of the assault weapons it was designed for, the clip will again become legal at midnight.
As many of my colleagues know, law enforcement support for the assault weapons ban is broad. Supporters include the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Major Cities Chiefs Association, the Police Foundation, the Police Executive Research Forum, the International Brotherhood of Police Officers, the National Association of School Resource Officers, the National Fraternal Order of Police, the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, the Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association, and the National Black Police Association.
On the other side are lobbyists of the National Rifle Association and their allies in Congress and the White House. The NRA has said that the ban is ineffective and unnecessary. But this assertion is not supported by the facts. According to statistics reported by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, from 1990 to 1994, assault weapons named in the ban constituted 4.82 percent of guns traced in criminal investigations. However, since the ban's enactment, these assault weapons have made up only 1.61 percent of the crime-related guns traced. It is disturbing that the President has sat back rather than standing up with our Nation's law enforcement community in support of this critical piece of gun safety legislation.
The Senate majority leader was quoted in a New York Times article on September 9 as saying, ``I think the will of the American people is consistent with letting it expire, so it will expire.'' I am aware of no facts to support that statement. In fact, numerous polls have found that large majorities of adults support a reauthorization of the ban. In the very same New York Times article, the House majority leader is quoted referring to the Assault weapons ban as ``a feel-good piece of legislation.''
On March 2 of this year, I joined with the majority of my colleagues in passing an amendment to reauthorize the assault weapons ban for another 10 years. The bill to which it was attached, however, was later derailed.
Despite the overwhelming support of the law enforcement community, the ongoing threat of terrorism, bipartisan support in the Senate, and the pleas of Americans who have already lost loved ones to assault weapons tragedies, it appears the ban will expire at midnight tonight, as neither the President nor the Republican congressional leadership is willing to act. Unfortunately, tomorrow morning Americans will wake up less secure than they are today.
I ask unanimous consent that the New York Times article titled ``Effort to Renew Weapons Ban Falters on Hill'' be printed in the RECORD.
Ms. WOOLSEY. Mr. Speaker, today, this Congress committed a shameful act of omission. When today's congressional session ended, so too ended the assault weapons ban that has helped to keep our streets safe for the past decade.
In 1994, President Clinton bravely ushered the assault weapons ban through Congress. This act took its political toll on not only President Clinton but also the Democratic Party, but he stuck to his guns, so to speak, and strongly supported passage of this important legislation.
As a result, the use of military-style automatic weapons in crimes dropped from 4 percent in 1995, before the ban had taken effect, to 1 percent in the year 2002. In fact, according to the Department of Justice, the proportion of banned assault weapons traced to crimes has dropped by 66 percent since 1995.
The refusal by the House Republican leadership to bring up an extension of the assault weapons ban and the failure of President Bush to push for its renewal is about much more than gun control. This issue is about nothing less than the very security of our Nation.
Today's failure to extend this important law will make Americans less safe. In fact, al Qaeda, in their training manuals that were recovered from Afghanistan, specifically cited the ease of obtaining automatic rifles and machine guns in the United States. To many terrorists around the world, America is known as the great gun bazaar.
Let us break down the facts: First, al Qaeda, our worst enemy, has specifically instructed terrorists on how to exploit America's gun laws to obtain the weapons they intend to use to kill Americans.
Next, the United States had a proven and effective law on the books that made it difficult to purchase these deadly weapons , and this law needed to be renewed.
Finally, President Bush, who claims to be a huge homeland security supporter, stayed silent. Why did he remain silent? Why did the President not act? I believe the answer is really pretty simple.
The National Rifle Association, the NRA, refused to support President Bush's reelection bid until after the renewal date for the assault weapons ban came and went, that was today, came and went untouched by the White House. This President has been cowed by the NRA. The sad irony is that last week Vice President DICK CHENEY made the outrageous claim that it is absolutely essential on November 2 that Americans make the right choice because if we make the wrong choice, then the danger is that we will get hit again. I quote that from the Vice President's remarks.
This misleading connection in addition to insulting the intelligence of the American people wrongly asserts that a vote for John Kerry and John Edwards is a vote for terrorism. Instead, al Qaeda will be poised to hit us again because in large part on September 13, 2004, today, the Republican leadership has allowed Islamic militants and others to once again purchase American machine guns, all for the reelection of the President. How very, very shameful that is. If we truly want to secure our homeland, we need to pursue policies that are smarter than those that would decriminalize deadly weapons to elect someone to office. By the way, virtually every major law enforcement organization in the United States of America supports extending the ban.
That is why I have introduced a new SMART security platform for the 21st century. H. Con. Res. 392 is legislation to create a sensible, multilateral, American response to terrorism. SMART security is stronger on national security than President Bush claims to be. SMART security will stop the sale of weapons to oppressive regimes and regimes involved in human rights abuses. SMART security will pursue enhanced inspection regimes and regional security arrangements to ensure that state sponsors of terrorism do not get ahold of more light weaponry, or even deadlier chemical or biological weapons .
Let us talk for a moment about presidential flip-flops. When it comes to keeping assault weapons out of the hands of terrorists, George Bush speaks out of both sides of his mouth.
Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. Mr. Speaker, first of all, let me rise to acknowledge and offer my personal sympathy to the many, many families in this country who since we have been on the work recess have lost their loved ones in Iraq and Afghanistan. I think it is important as we proceed in what is going to be probably a very vigorous and adversarial 6 to 8 weeks of legislative business to let all Americans know that those of us who have vigorously opposed the policies of an undefined war and lack of an exit strategy no less have the greatest amount of respect and sympathy for those who are willing to give the ultimate sacrifice.
In the last 48 hours, we lost 7 marines in the tragedy of a car bomb in Iraq. So I wanted to make clear, as I proceed and will be debating these questions of the 9/11 Commission, how important it is to reflect upon those servants who have given their lives.
I also want to mention this evening, Mr. Speaker, the importance of the next couple of weeks and days and to focus tonight on what I think is the week's outrage.
Six days from now on September 13, 2004, this Congress and this President will allow the assault weapons ban to expire. I think that if we were to think with a deal of consciousness and be reflective, people of reason would ask the question, why.
Why, when the assault weapons ban has seen a 60 percent decrease in the use of assault weapons in crime; why, when we have seen a decrease in the number of school shootings we had just 4 or 5 years ago, when children were being shot by automatic weapons ; why, in the backdrop of an automatic weapon shooting today, why would you imagine that the Republican leadership of the House and Senate refuse to do what is right? When our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan cannot even get flak jackets to protect them against bullets, why would we want to have in the United States of America the idea of war weaponry on the street?
Is the Speaker aware that the gun companies are now taking people's credit cards over the Internet so that on the sunset of September 13 they can simply ship these guns out en masse?
Why is democracy being denied in the very place that democracy is supposed to be enhanced? Why are we refusing to allow a vigorous and fair debate on the question of whether or not the assault weapons ban should continue? Why are we being denied the very privilege of having this legislative initiative being placed on the floor of the House and Senate simply to allow those who have differing opinions, who represent millions and millions of Americans who have pleaded with their legislators to again enact the assault weapons ban, why is the leadership refusing to acknowledge this legislative initiative?
Why is the President of the United States, who has indicated his consent and approval of the assault weapons ban, not lifting a single finger? Is this what my colleagues call flip-flop? Is this what my colleagues call indecisiveness? Is this what my colleagues call saying one thing and doing another?
It seems very clear to me. It is a tragedy. Whose child will be next that will be shot by an assault weapon ? Whose employee is next? Whose employer is next; what law enforcement officer, what first responder, whom we pretend to be so supportive of, when most of the law enforcement agencies in America have asked us to extend the assault weapons ban?
This is an absurdity, this is an outrage, and we will continue to be on the floor every single day to shed the light of day, to pull the covers back to let everybody know the masquerading that is going on here in Washington, the flip-flopping, the outrage of deceit by suggesting that there is some support for the assault weapons ban, and yet the leadership of this House, dominated by the Republicans, and the Senate, refuse to allow us to have a simple debate on this question.
I believe in life over death and peace over war, and I see no conflict in the second amendment in the constitutional right to bear arms with any desire and need to carry an automatic weapon . I would support my law enforcement officers, the peace of our community and peace of this Nation over any gun manufacturer any day. Come out and show yourself. We are the truthsayers in the place. I ask for a debate on the assault weapons ban, and I ask for it to be extended.
Feinswine and Kennedy
Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Mr. President, some of us have come to the Chamber today: Senator Schumer, who handled the assault weapons legislation 10 years ago in the House of Representatives as a member of the Judiciary Committee; Senator Kennedy, who has been steadfast in support of this legislation for literally decades; and myself, as the Senate author of the bill. Ten years ago, the Senate, the House of Representatives, and the President of the United States stood up for the safety of the American people and against the National Rifle Association, and we passed one of the most important public safety measures this country has seen, the Federal ban on assault weapons .
That legislation was designed to dry up the supply of assault weapons over time. That legislation was designed so that no legitimate gun owner would lose their gun, nor have any.
The assault weapons ban, although not perfect, represented the best we could do to stem the growth and spread of these weapons throughout our cities and our States. That legislation is going to expire in 5 days.
A couple of months ago the Senate took a vote. We know we have 52 votes for its reauthorization for another 10-year period. Senator Warner of Virginia joined me in sponsoring that legislation on the floor of the Senate. We also know that the legislation has been effective because gun traces to crimes committed with assault weapons have declined by two-thirds in these past 10 years.
The American people have supported the ban and their support has never waived. Today almost three-fourths of the American public supports the ban, as do more than two-thirds of gun owners.
Law enforcement supported the ban in 1994, and their support has never waived either. Every major law enforcement organization in the country supports renewing this ban, and countless individual chiefs of police, sheriffs, and line officers have put themselves on the line to express their support, too. In fact, many of these same officers are in town today to let Congress know how important the assault weapons ban is to the safety of those who face these guns in the line of duty day in and day out.
This chart illustrates the percentage of banned assault weapons used in crimes, down by nearly two-thirds since passage of the 1994 act.
The NRA will say: The bill is cosmetic. It hasn't done anything. It has been ineffective.
Then why do they make this legislation and its demise their No. 1 priority? This chart shows that they are wrong. In a moment, I will cite testimony from a former BATF analyst that says this legislation has, in fact, been effective.
Presidents Clinton, Carter, Ford, and Reagan, and even Bush, have all expressed support for renewing the ban. President Bush stated his firm support in his 2000 campaign. He has never publicly wavered from that stance. But 5 days from today, none of this support will matter. The assault weapons ban will be history, one more victim of the powerful, selfish NRA and its brutal lobbying tactics.
Because the President has steadfastly refused to put his money where his mouth is and help us renew the ban, it is going to expire without so much as even a vote in the House of Representatives. We have asked the President: Please use your leadership to convince the Speaker of the House of Representatives to bring this bill to the floor. Please use your leadership to twist some arms. If you support this, if you know the American people support it, if you believe it makes for a safer America, please help us.
We have cried out in vain. There has been no response from the White House. Instead, the President quietly awaits September 13 and hopes that after he lets the ban expire, he can once again receive the endorsement of the NRA, because the NRA is not going to make their endorsement until the ban expires.
This is truly a dark day in the Senate's history, as we let this ban, which has worked so well and has saved lives, simply fade away.
I mentioned earlier that what the ban does is prohibit the manufacture of large-capacity ammunition magazines, clips, drums, or strips of more than ten rounds. It prohibits the manufacture and sale of 19 specific types of military-style assault weapons as well as a number of other guns based on a simple test to determine whether the guns were hunting guns or weapons of war.
Come next week, companies will once again begin to churn out large-capacity ammunition devices, and powerful, easily concealed military weapons , all for civilian use. The NRA will try to hail this as a victory for hunters, but the fact is, no hunter has lost their weapon , and no hunter has been limited by the assault weapons ban. The law specifically, by name, exempts 670 hunting guns entirely.
It is also important to note that the ban grandfathered in every gun made before 1994. No innocent gun owner lost their weapon . There was no confiscation component to the bill. But by banning the future manufacture of these guns, prohibiting the sale or transfer of any newly manufactured gun, the bill's intent was to gradually dry up the supply of these guns overtime.
I mentioned I would give you some Department of Justice data. I mentioned the proportion of assault weapons used in crime has fallen more than 65 percent since the ban took effect. Let me give you an analysis that was conducted by Gerald Nunziato, who for 8 years served as the special agent in charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, the BATF's, national tracing center. This is not some fly-by-night study. This is by the one person who knows what these numbers mean better than anyone. He found two things. First, as indicated by this chart, he found that:
Assault weapons banned by name in the Federal Assault Weapons Act have declined significantly as a percentage of guns ATF has traced to crime, and in absolute number of traces, since the Act was passed. Had this decline not occurred, thousands more of those banned assault weapons would likely have been traced to crime over the last 10 years.
He also said:
The gun industry's efforts to evade the Federal Assault Weapons Act through the sale of ``copycat'' guns has not substantially undercut the positive effect of the statute in reducing the incidence of assault weapons among gun crimes.
In other words, even though craven gun manufacturers tried to evade the ban, those copycat guns did not replace banned guns in equal numbers, at least when traced to crimes.
I want to spend a couple of minutes and explain to you about a shipment that was recently found by Italian customs. Some 8,000 AK-47 assault rifles were on their way from the Romanian port of Constanta to New York City, according to press reports and BATF information, apparently bound for a gun store in Georgia by the name of Century International Arms.
These guns had a value of more than $7 million--8,000 AK-47s.
It is believed by some that these guns were being shipped to the United States in anticipation of the expiration of the assault weapons legislation. Though this shipment may very well have been illegal in any case under a 1989 Executive Order, think of one gun store buying 8,000 AK-47s in anticipation of 5 days from today. Think of where guns like these are going to go. Some are going to go to legitimate gun owners. Others are going to go to gang bangers. They are going to be sold out of the backseats of automobiles and on street corners to criminals. They have become the weapon of choice for those who go up against the police. Mr. President, that is 8,000 AK-47s in one shipment coming into the United States.
One advertisement now running in gun magazines is from a company called ArmaLite. They make postban rifles. As one can see from this advertisement, ArmaLite is now offering a coupon for a free flash suppressor for anyone who buys one of their guns. A flash suppressor is used to prevent the flash of the gun when it is fired. So if you are using it, no one can see where you are, particularly at night, by the flash of the weapon .
Let me read what this says:
And by the way ..... ArmaLite's rifles are made to be easily retrofitted with your flash suppressor and your other pre-ban features so you don't have to wait if you're choosing an ArmaLite.
They are giving a coupon for a free flash suppressor with every new weapon to keep in your pocket as a reminder to work with the NRA to get out the vote and to keep writing and calling your legislators. That is what we are up against: flash suppressors for votes in this country. It makes me sick to my stomach.
The ad states:
It is not legal to install this on a post-ban rifle until the assault weapons ban sunsets.
That will happen in 5 days.
A recent study by the Consumer Federation of America discovered that manufacturers are also gearing up to manufacture large-capacity ammunition clips.
This is the danger. Just yesterday in Geneva, OH, somebody stood in the main thoroughfare and fired more than 50 rounds from a big clip. No one could get to him to disarm him. Three people were wounded. He just stood there and fired the weapon indiscriminately.
One manufacturer told a caller from the Consumer Federation of America that there is a pent-up demand for 50-round clips and larger. Who needs a 50-round clip? Hunting laws in every State restrict the number of bullets in a clip to under 10. Who needs a 50-round clip?
It is clear that time has run out. It is clear the President of the United States will not help, and this is truly a sad day for this Nation.
My hope is if the ban expires and these guns and high-capacity clips once again start to flood our streets, some common sense will return to Washington and we can then put the ban in place. But I want this Senate to know, Mr. President, that I do not intend to give up. Next year, I will put a better law on virtually any bill I can find to do so, and we will come back and back and back, and we will have armor because no doubt tragedy will ensue.
The assault weapons legislation has worked. No legal owner has been denied a weapon . No weapon has been confiscated. Yet the supply of these weapons on the streets have declined. A dominant majority, upwards of 70 percent of the American people, support its reauthorization. We have bipartisan support in the Senate for its reauthorization. President Bush, please, if you care, if you are listening, do something. The House can pass this. We have had the debate in the Senate. It will only take a few minutes for the Senate to cast the same vote again, and then you can sign a piece of legislation that we know makes this Nation safer.
Mr. President, how much time remains of my time?
The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Four minutes.
Mrs. FEINSTEIN. I thank the Chair. I withhold the remainder of my time and yield the floor.
The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from Massachusetts.
Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. President, I again congratulate my friends and colleagues, Senator Feinstein and Senator Schumer, for the strong leadership they have shown on this issue and their continued perseverance and persistence in urging the House and Senate and the President to act. Unless the President and Congress act, the current Federal ban on assault weapons will expire in 5 days.
Semiautomatic weapons are killing machines with utterly no redeeming value in any sane community, and lifting this ban will put these weapons of death back in the hands of criminals and will give terrorists a new tool to attack America.
We know terrorists are now exploiting the weaknesses and loopholes in our gun laws. A terrorist training manual discovered by American soldiers in Afghanistan in 2001 advised al-Qaida members to buy assault weapons in the United States and use them against us.
The failure to renew the ban this year will drastically undermine the safety of our streets, our neighborhoods, and our schools, and strengthen terrorists and other criminals. It would be a tragic and senseless blow to the security of our homeland.
Terrorists already here in sleeper cells or coming in from abroad will be able to buy assault weapons without background checks at gun shows and wreak terror throughout the Nation.
How can we possibly allow this essential protection against crime and terrorism to expire? How can we deliberately put the security of our communities in such new and needless jeopardy?
The need for Presidential leadership has never been greater. We know we have the votes for renewing the assault weapons ban in the Senate because we passed such an amendment in March by a bipartisan vote of 52 to 47. The Republican leadership in the Senate, however, refuses to bring the ban back for another vote, and the House Republican leadership refuses to act at all.
In the 2000 campaign, President Bush specifically pledged to renew the ban, but now as the ban is about to expire, the silence from the White House is deafening. It is long past time for President Bush to live up to his commitment.
President Bush has shown that when he wants something from this Republican Congress, he gets it. When he wanted tax breaks for the wealthy, he got it. When he wanted another round of tax breaks, he got them, too. We need that same commitment from President Bush when it comes to protecting our families and securing our communities from deadly assault weapons .
President Bush, the time to act is now. Congress awaits your call.
Mr. BLUMENAUER. Mr. Speaker, next week, the assault weapon ban expires. This ban, enacted 10 years ago, on some models has been supported by past Presidents Ford, Reagan, Bush I, and President Clinton. It has been supported by police chiefs and officers across America, and the majority of the public. Even candidate Governor George Bush 4 years ago said he supported extending the assault weapons ban.
Today, we stand poised in 120 hours to see the assault weapons ban expire because of a lack of leadership on the part of President Bush and of the Republican leadership in Congress. It appears that there is no intention to stand up to the National Rifle Association and bring forward an opportunity for the men and women in this Chamber to be heard on this critical issue.
I suppose this should not come as a surprise when we saw the administration, President Bush, Attorney General Ashcroft cave in to the NRA when it came to eliminating within 24 hours the previous gun registration records that would have been available to this administration, to law enforcement authorities, to help in the fight against terrorism. Having the NRA trump this potentially important tool in the fight against terrorism in this country is unfathomable to most of the people I represent. But sadly, it makes sense in the upside-down way that we deal with politics and the politics of gun violence in this Chamber and in the American political system.
America has the worst record of gun violence of any developed country. There are a wide array of simple, commonsense provisions that would help deal with gun violence that would not in any way deny any legitimate hunter an opportunity to use their weapons to go out and hunt, to target shoot, legitimate collectors. There are, however, people who resist any effort at record-keeping, at enforcement, at dealing with the most simple, direct, commonsense, and nonintrusive proposals.
Does anybody think in America that we are going to be safer if the assault weapon ban expires and there are more opportunities to have assault weapons in the United States? There are people ready now to market, if the ban expires, to market new gun lines. There are people that have kits to convert weapons to make them, previously illegal, that would be lawful if the ban expires, to have these kits so they can make the conversion.
I would find it disappointing on several levels if this tragedy occurs. First, we are not going to be safer. I hear repeatedly from the people I represent that sports people do not need assault weapons to hunt game in this country. There are lots of opportunities for target shooting, for sportsman activities. Assault weapons are designed to shoot with great firepower very quickly and to generate maximum carnage on people. We will not be safer.
It will be a blow to the credibility of the political process if candidate Bush can make a promise that President Bush is not going to deliver on.
Finally, it continues the chipping away at our ability to function here with real live legitimate problems. Gun violence is a legitimate problem. There are legitimate policy options, and we are taking them off the table.
I would hope that President Bush remembers what candidate Bush said 4 years ago and takes a small step to provide real leadership that he had promised in coming out in support of extending the assault weapon ban and calling upon the Republican leadership in Congress to follow through, allowing a vote to prevent that expiration. We have 120 hours left. I hope that the American people will avail themselves to dealing with these candidates who are out around the country to have that conversation with President Bush to follow through on his commitment.
Ms. McCOLLUM. Mr. Speaker, Congress has three legislative days to vote before the ban on military assault weapons expires and weapons of terror, like the AK-47, will be legal in America. The Republican leadership won't even allow the 136 bipartisan supporters of the ban a vote on the House floor. Just last night, Congress could have voted to extend the ban, but instead Republican leaders decided it was more important to name four post offices. While I support the post office bills, I oppose the Republican's misdirected priorities. As a result, I chose to vote present on these post office bills.
On September 14th, either the ban will be extended and our communities will remain safe or the weapons used by terrorists around the world will be legal on America's streets.
President Bush and Republican leaders have a choice: allow Congress to vote an opportunity to extend the ban or do nothing and allow assault weapons to be used to terrorize police officers and our families.
Mr. CASTLE. (RINO) Madam Speaker, I rise this morning to express urgency and remind the House that the existing ban on semiautomatic assault weapons will expire in only a few days, this coming Monday, September 13.
Reports continue to show that 70 percent of Americans believe that the ban should be maintained. In fact, the law enforcement community, the health care community, and the administration all agree that this ban should be allowed to continue to protect our communities from our increased vulnerability associated with allowing semiautomatic weapons back on our streets.
Some say that we do not have the votes to extend this ban, but Americans deserve a full debate and a House vote before we allow the expiration date to pass.
There is no reason not to go forward at this point; we have only 5 days left.
Do people need an assault weapon to protect their home? No. Do people need an assault weapon to hunt? No. Do people need an assault weapon to target shoot? No. But criminals use assault weapons to kill.
The ban should not be allowed to expire. I implore leadership to let us vote on continuing the ban.
so all of this stuff, with the absurd innacuracy is in the congretional record??
btw, does any aspect of the awb have anything to do with grenade launchers?
It's all about trying to make the Republicans look bad to the uninformed.
This is something they can twist, and squeeze, and manipulate to make sound to the ignorant, that the Republicans are out to arm the terrorists, criminals, and children of the ghettos, as a special favor to their number one special interest group - the NRA. (How was that for a run on sentence!)
"It's politics man, politics."
The choice is between either:
A) getting a part of our Second Amendment rights back and listening to them b***h, moan and complain, or--
B) not getting a part of our Second Amendment rights back and listening to them b***h, moan and complain about something else.
I choose A.
But, dude, you live in the PRK.
Out of everything that I've learned in the past 3 years, this is the one thing that still puzzles me the most.
How is it that the foundation of our lawmaking process, that is elected legislators writing and passing bills into law can stand on the floor of the House or Senate and LIE in order to sway votes to their bill?
How can the system allow people to PULL INFORMATION FROM THEIR ASSES, envoke hysterical retoric and totally dismiss any factual and provable information that may be presented?
The upshot of this insanity is that we have thousands (tens-of-thousands?) of laws on the books that are unwanted, unneeded and in reality only serve to fuck up law abiding citizens who find themselves trapped in a nightmarish web of intertwined rules that make it IMPOSSIBLE for ANYONE to complete a normal 24 hour period of their lives without violating one or more of these FRAUDULANTLY CREATED LAWS.
I know that the REAL answer is to vote the bastards out, but if you look at the system they've created it's nearly impossible to do so. Politics and lawmaking has now become the exclusive realm of the "Elite Classes". You must have access to wealth and power in order to exercise ANY influence on those that write the laws (or to become one of them).
We started a Revolution over things that were TRIVIAL compared to what the American Citizen of today is shafted with on a daily basis.
I really, in my heart, know that it's all going to have to come apart before it can be put back together. I just wonder if it will be in my lifetime?
This just in from the House:
Oh man, am I glad I wasn't eating when I read that!
How is it that the foundation of our lawmaking process, that is elected legislators writing and passing bills into law can stand on the floor of the House or Senate and LIE in order to sway votes to their bill?
Consider them as you do the news media... if they are lying about the things YOU know about, why should you not assume they are lying about EVERYTHING else?
Man, are those fucks sore loosers or what?
Yeah, life's a bitch all right.
Go ahead dims, make an election year issue out of it seein' how it worked so good for Y'all in '94
They should be upset. The Dems expend a lot of political capital on this ban, and it is one of the reaons that they lost control of Congress in '94. Normal pro-gun Dems Jack Brooks & Speaker of the HOuse Tom Foley lost their seats.