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There Should be Stricter Gun Control Laws

Chapter 9
There Should be Stricter Gun Control Laws

STATEMENT OF SENATOR EDWARD M. KENNEDY (1932, D-MA), CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, U.S. SENATE, IN SUPPORT OF THE FIREARMS INFORMATION USE ACT OF 2008,S. 2769, APRIL 9, 2008
JOINT STATEMENT OF MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (1942, NEW YORK CITY) AND THOMAS M. MENINO (1942, BOSTON), CO-CHAIRS OF MAYORS AGAINST ILLEGAL GUNS COALITION, ON THE INTRODUCTION OF THE FIREARMS INFORMATION USE ACT OF 2008, S. 2769, MARCH 14, 2008
STATEMENT OF REPRESENTATIVE CAROLYN MCCARTHY (1944, D-NY), CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, IN SUPPORT OF THE NICS IMPROVEMENT AMENDMENT ACT OF 2007, H.R.240, JUNE 13, 2007
STATEMENT OF SARAH BRADY (1942), WIFE OF FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY JAMES S. BRADY (1939), ABOUT THE VOTE IN THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 230-191, TO REPEAL A LAW THAT REQUIRED GUN DEALERS TO PROVIDE TRIGGER LOCKS WITH HANDGUNS, JUNE 29, 2006
STATEMENT OF SENATOR CARL LEVIN (1934, D-MI), CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, U.S. SENATE, IN SUPPORT OF RENEWING THE ASSAULT WEAPONS BAN, JUNE 23, 2006
STATEMENT OF SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN (1936, R-AZ), CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, U.S.SENATE,IN SUPPORT OF CLOSING THE GUN-SHOW LOOPHOLE (EXCERPT), MARCH 2, 2004
STATEMENT OF SENATOR DIANNE FEINSTEIN (1933, D-CA), CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, U.S. SENATE, IN SUPPORT OF RENEWING THE ASSAULT WEAPON BAN (EXCERPT), MARCH 1, 2004
STATEMENT OF M. KRISTEN RAND, DIRECTOR OF FEDERAL POLICY, VIOLENCE POLICY CENTER, ON LEGISLATION TO IMPROVE AND AID ENFORCEMENT OF FEDERAL GUN LAWS, PRESENTED TO THE CRIME SUBCOMMITTEE OF THE HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE (EXCERPT), APRIL 6, 2000
STATEMENT OF PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON (1946), IN AN INTERVIEW WITH GOOD MORNING AMERICA, MAY 14, 1999
STATEMENT OF SENATOR FRANK R. LAUTENBERG (1924, D-NJ), BEFORE THE U.S. SENATE, OCTOBER 2, 1998
STATEMENT OF HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT ABIGAIL NESSON FROM VERMONT, SUBMITTED TO THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES BY REPRESENTATIVE BERNARD SANDERS (1941, I-VT), AUGUST 7, 1998
STATEMENT OF SYLVESTER DAUGHTRY JR., CHIEF OF POLICE, GREENSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA, AND PRESIDENT OF THE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF CHIEFS OF POLICE, BEFORE THE HOUSE SUBCOMMITTEE ON CRIME AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE,APRIL 25, 1994

This chapter presents a sample of the arguments used by the proponents of strong federal gun control to support their position since the 1990s. Chapter 10 provides arguments put forward by opponents of strong federal gun control.

STATEMENT OF SENATOR EDWARD M. KENNEDY (1932, D-MA), CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, U.S. SENATE, IN SUPPORT OF THE FIREARMS INFORMATION USE ACT OF 2008,S. 2769, APRIL 9, 2008

Madam President, it is a privilege to join my colleagues in supporting the Firearms Information Use Act to repeal the most extreme provisions in the Tiahrt amendment and lift the veil of secrecy that currently surrounds the flow of guns in our country. The act will give law enforcement agencies the support they need to do their job, while protecting information about undercover officers, confidential informants, ongoing investigations, and lawful firearms purchasers. It is a basic open-government measure that is critical for the public safety of communities across America.

The Tiahrt amendment is an appropriations rider enacted in 2003 that restricts public access to information gathered by the Justice Department's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It prevents law enforcement organizations from sharing gun trace data with each other and from obtaining gun trace data outside their geographic jurisdiction. It prohibits such information from being used as evidence in State license revocations, civil lawsuits, or any other administrative proceedings, unless specifically filed by the Bureau. It also prevents the Bureau from publishing reports that use gun trace data to analyze the flow of guns at the national level.

Numerous mayors, law enforcement officers, and researchers have spoken out against these restrictions. The International Association of Chiefs of Police recently emphasized that we can reduce gun violence in our communities by making gun trace data publicly available.

In a 2006 report, the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence documented the harmful consequences of the Tiahrt amendment. The Brady Center found that the amendment had an immediate chilling effect on the Bureau's activities, that academic researchers have already found their work stymied, and that the amendment has crippled efforts by law enforcement to investigate patterns of gun trafficking on a nationwide basis and to identify sources of guns used in crime. The report unequivocally concludes that the Tiahrt Amendment is a transparent attempt by the gun lobby to shield the public, as well as government and law enforcement agencies, from the truth about guns and crime.

In spite of these criticisms, the amendment has been included in the Justice Department appropriations bill every year since 2003, and even more restrictive versions of it have been proposed in recent months. By enacting the Firearms Information Use Act, Congress can restore sanity to our policy on gun trace data. Scaling back the Tiahrt amendment will give our State and local officials the information they need to halt gun trafficking and the reckless dealers who facilitate it. Whatever one's views of the second amendment, surely we can all agree that it does not confer a right to sell firearms illegally. I urge all of my colleagues to support this legislation.

JOINT STATEMENT OF MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (1942, NEW YORK CITY) AND THOMAS M. MENINO (1942, BOSTON), CO-CHAIRS OF MAYORS AGAINST ILLEGAL GUNS COALITION, ON THE INTRODUCTION OF THE FIREARMS INFORMATION USE ACT OF 2008, S. 2769, MARCH 14, 2008

This bill would erase the soft-on-crime Tiahrt restrictions from federal law. We applaud Senators Menendez, Clinton, Feinstein, Kennedy, Lautenberg, Reed and Schumer

for putting forward a bill to restore access to the aggregate trace data that police officers, prosecutors, and others use to identify illegal gun trafficking patterns. This bill is exactly what criminals are afraid of: police officers with better information and leads. We hope the Senate takes it up and passes itthis year.

Last year, our bipartisan coalition of mayors waged a campaign on Capitol Hill that resulted in the removal of some of the Tiahrt restrictions and the release of more trace data. This bill (S. 2769) goes further, removing the Tiahrt restrictions entirely. Its passage would help cities and states around the country in their fight to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, including the new regional data sharing initiative recently launched at a coalition conference in Baltimore, Maryland. The bipartisan coalition of Mayors against Illegal Guns, which has nearly 300 members representing more than 52 million Americans, supports this common sense effort to repeal the Tiahrt restrictions, as do many law enforcement organizations whose members would greatly benefit.

STATEMENT OF REPRESENTATIVE CAROLYN MCCARTHY (1944, D-NY), CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, IN SUPPORT OF THE NICS IMPROVEMENT AMENDMENT ACT OF 2007, H.R.240, JUNE 13, 2007

Mr. Speaker, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS, is deeply flawed. Millions of criminals' records are not accessible by NICS, and millions of others are missing critical data, such as arrest dispositions, due to data backlogs. The primary cause of delay in NICS background checks is the lack of updates due to funding and technology issues in the States. Many States have not automated the records concerning mental illness, restraining orders or misdemeanor convictions for domestic violence. Simply put, the NICS system must be updated on both the State and the Federal level.

According to a Third Way report, over 91 percent of those adjudicated for mental illness cannot be stopped by a background check due to flaws in the system. But this issue allows other barred individuals to purchase firearms. Twenty-five percent of felony convictions do not make it into the NICS system. That is why I introduced the NICS Improvement Act with Mr. Dingell.

My bill will require all States to provide the NICS system with the relevant records needed to conduct effective background checks. It's the State's responsibility to ensure that this information is current and accurate. They must update the records to ensure that violent criminals do not have the right to own firearms.

However, I recognize many State budgets are already overburdened. This legislation would provide grants to States to update their records into the NICS system. States would get the funds they need to make sure records relevant to the NICS are up to date.

While the NICS system does have major flaws, it is responsible for preventing thousands of barred individuals from purchasing firearms. Approximately 916,000 individuals have been prohibited from purchasing a firearm for failing a background check between November 30, 1998, when the NICS system began operating on December 31 of 2004.

During this same period, nearly 49 million Brady background checks were processed through the NICS system. By improving upon the system, we can stop criminals from falling between the cracks. Today we are one step closer to bringing the records of millions of barred individuals into the NICS system. No system will be perfect, but that does not mean we should not make improvements to make it better. This is good policy that will save lives and should be passed by the House.

My legislation imposes no new restrictions on gun owners and does not infringe on the second amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.

STATEMENT OF SARAH BRADY (1942), WIFE OF FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY JAMES S. BRADY (1939), ABOUT THE VOTE IN THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 230-191, TO REPEAL A LAW THAT REQUIRED GUN DEALERS TO PROVIDE TRIGGER LOCKS WITH HANDGUNS, JUNE 29, 2006

Last year, in one of the few sound moves taken by Congress, a law was passed that said gun dealers should provide locks when they sell handguns. This was an effort to reduce the number of Americans, thousands each year, who are killed or injured because guns are not locked up. The measure passed the Senate 7030 with overwhelming bipartisan supporteven reliable gun lobby allies like Senators Rick Santorum, Lisa Murkowski, and Sam Brown-back voted for this sensible public safety measure.

Last night, in a tragic display of how many Members of Congress will do anything the gun lobby tells them to do, a majority of the U.S. House voted to repeal the law. As someone who knows so many victims of unintentional shootings, and as a mother, this makes me ill.

In a nation where gun violence takes such an enormous toll, this vote is disturbingly backwards. Every year more than 30,000 Americans are killed by guns, including more than 2,800 young people. So many health advocates, law enforcement officials, and others have urged Americans to more safely secure and store guns. But in the millions of American homes where children and firearms are present, 40 percent had at least one unlocked firearm.

Americans should ask Representatives who voted to repeal the safety lock law why they've lost their senses.

And we must all urge the Senate to reject this irresponsible and shameful maneuver.

STATEMENT OF SENATOR CARL LEVIN (1934, D-MI), CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, U.S. SENATE, IN SUPPORT OF RENEWING THE ASSAULT WEAPONS BAN, JUNE 23, 2006

Mr. President, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, crime statistics indicated a growing threat posed by military-style semiautomatic assault weapons in the hands of criminals. A 1994 report by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, ATF, determined that while assault weapons made up only 1 percent of the guns in circulation in the United States at that time, they accounted for up to 8 percent of the guns used in crimes, thus making them preferred by criminals over law-abiding citizens 8 to 1. The ATF relied on data such as this to support the establishment of a federal ban on assault weapons. Such a ban was enacted by Congress as part of the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act and was signed into law by President Clinton.

Following the enactment of the assault weapon ban, the National Institute of Justice, an agency within the Department of Justice, conducted a study that was mandated by Congress on the short-term impact of the statute. The study found that crimes involving assault weapons dropped 20 percent in the year following enactment of the law. Additional research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found deaths caused by guns dropped from 38,505 in 1994 to 29,573 in 2001.

Ten years after the assault weapons ban was passed, Los Angeles Chief of Police Bill Bratton said:

Since the assault weapons ban was passed in 1994, we have seen a 66 percent decline in the frequency of assault weapons 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.

On May 8 of this year, two Fairfax County police officers were shot to death by an 18-year-old armed with multiple guns, including an AK-47-style assault rifle. Unfortunately, assault rifles like the one reported in this attack, as well as many other similar assault weapons, are once again being legally produced and sold as a result of the expiration of the assault weapons ban.

In 1994, I voted to establish the assault weapons ban and 10 years later I joined a bipartisan majority of the Senate in voting to extend the ban for another 10 years. Unfortunately, despite the overwhelming support of the law enforcement community, the ongoing threat of terrorism, and the bipartisan support in the Senate, neither the President nor the majority's congressional leadership acted to protect Americans from assault weapons like the one used in the attack on the Fairfax County police station. As a result, 19 types of previously banned military-style assault weapons are once again on the streets and in the neighborhoods of our cities and towns.

Congress must take up and pass common sense gun safety legislation to help prevent such tragedies from occurring in the future.

STATEMENT OF SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN (1936, R-AZ), CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, U.S.SENATE,IN SUPPORT OF CLOSING THE GUN-SHOW LOOPHOLE (EXCERPT), MARCH 2, 2004

Why do we need this amendment? Some might point to tragedies such as Columbine, but as horrific as the massacre at Columbine was, where 11 young people needlessly lost their lives, that is not what drives the need to close the gun show loophole. We need this amendment because criminals and terrorists have exploited and are exploiting this very obvious loophole in our gun safety laws. We need this amendment because our second amendment rights do not extend to criminals who violate our laws and terrorists who hate this country.

We need this amendment because, according to the NRA, hundreds of thousands of unlicensed firearms sales occur at gun shows each year. We need this amendment because ATF has identified gun shows as the second leading source of firearms recovered from illegal gun trafficking investigations.

We also need this amendment because my law-abiding constituents who attend gun shows in Arizona should not have to rub shoulders with the scum of the Earth who use this loophole to evade background checks to buy firearms to peddle to God knows who. We need this because every one of the 15 leading gun trafficking States in America has not taken action to close the gun show loophole. Conversely, 11 of the 15 States with the lowest level of interstate gun trafficking have taken action to close the gun show loophole.

When discussing the topic of gun safety, I often hear my colleagues say things such as, let's enforce existing law before we make new ones. I completely agree and that is exactly what we are seeking to do today. We are seeking to strengthen existing laws by closing an enormous, dangerous loophole.

STATEMENT OF SENATOR DIANNE FEINSTEIN (1933, D-CA), CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, U.S. SENATE, IN SUPPORT OF RENEWING THE ASSAULT WEAPON BAN (EXCERPT), MARCH 1, 2004

The issue of assault weapons is near and dear to my heart. It is not about politics or polls or interest groups. In my view, it is about real people and real lives. It is about

the ability of working men and women and children to be safe from disgruntled employees or schoolmates who show up one day at a law firm or school or a place of business and fire away until the room becomes filled with dead and wounded colleagues.

Unfortunately, in this society, we are always going to have some people who are prone to grievance killing. It is my belief the assault weapon, the military-style semiautomatic assault weapon, has become the weapon of choice for grievance killers.

It is about the ability of children to learn, play, and grow without the fear that someone such as Dylan Klebold or Eric Harris would show up at Columbine High School with assault weapons and fire until the school is literally littered with bodiesa dozen students and a teacher murdered, more than two dozen others injured.

It is about making sure our law enforcement officers can safely go about their duties and return home to their families at the end of the day, instead of finding themselves confronted, such as Officer James Guelff found himself in 1994, with assailants wearing body armor and firing from an arsenal of 2,000 rounds of ammunition and a cache of assault weapons.

The officer was gunned down after 10 years of service, and it took 150 police officers to equal the firepower of a gunman clad in Kevlar carrying assault weapons.

I first raised this issue in 1993, when I was a new senator. I was determined to try to pass the assault weapons legislation as an amendment to the crime bill. Members told me: Forget it; the gun owners around here have too much authority. We would never be able to enact assault weapons legislation. I was told the NRA was simply too strong. Senator Biden, then-chair of the Judiciary Committee, said it would be a good learning experience for me, and, in fact, it was.

It was the will of the American people, it turns out, that was stronger than any lobbying organization, even the National Rifle Association. And today, 77 percent of the American people and 66 percent of gun owners believe this legislation should be reauthorized.

STATEMENT OF M. KRISTEN RAND, DIRECTOR OF FEDERAL POLICY, VIOLENCE POLICY CENTER, ON LEGISLATION TO IMPROVE AND AID ENFORCEMENT OF FEDERAL GUN LAWS, PRESENTED TO THE CRIME SUBCOMMITTEE OF THE HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE (EXCERPT), APRIL 6, 2000

The VPC [Violence Policy Center] is of the strong opinion that three elements are essential if efforts to reduce firearm-related crime are to be successful. First, effective enforcement measures must be in place to prevent criminals, children, and other prohibited persons from gaining access to firearms. Second, those who violate the law must expect and receive appropriate punishment. And third, individuals convicted of felonies should be prohibited for life from obtaining firearms once they are out of prison.

Unfortunately, the gun violence debate is too often presented as a false choice. Those who argue for tougher enforcement usually insist that no new gun laws are needed. Moreover, some who support passage of new gun laws fail to take into account the essential role of vigorous enforcement of existing laws. A dispassionate evaluation of the nature of gun violence in America leads to the inescapable conclusion that we need both. That is why the VPC prefers the ENFORCE bill [H.R. 4066, a bill to close loopholes in gun laws that enable minors and criminals to get firearms and to increase the personnel needed to enforce existing laws] to the Project Exile legislation. The Project Exile legislation creates incentives for states to adopt specified minimum sentences for criminals carrying or using a firearm in the commission of a violent or serious drug-related crime. But the bill deals with gun criminals only after they have committed their crime. The Project Exile bill would do absolutely nothing to prevent criminals from acquiring firearms, nor would it prevent convicted felons from getting guns once they are out of prison.

If one steps back to ask the question whether the Project Exile proposal is an appropriate response to the massacre at Columbine High School, the limitations of the measure become crystal clear. The deterrent effects of harsh sentencing could have had no impact on Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris; two teens prepared to commit suicide upon completion of their rampage. Instead, we must adopt a variety of measures designed to strengthen, expand, and vigorously enforce our nation's gun laws. ENFORCE provides a much more balanced and constructive approach to enforcement. ENFORCE would help prevent gun crimes from being committed in the first place. It would also ensure that convicted felons would never be able to legally obtain firearms once they are out of prison.

STATEMENT OF PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON (1946), IN AN INTERVIEW WITH GOOD MORNING AMERICA, MAY 14, 1999

I think the Brady Bill has made a real difference; having the background checks matters. We know that 250,000 people, from the time I signed the Brady Bill in '94 until last year, were unable to get handguns. We know just since the Insta-Check went in last year, another 36,000 people have been denied the right to get handguns. So closing the gun show loophole matters.

You knoweven the NRA says, well, we ought to prosecute crimes. Well, we ought to make the right things crimes, and we ought to make it unlawful for children to possess these weapons; we ought to make it unlawful for people to sell them to them or to transfer to them; and we

ought to close the loopholes in the law. And as we do that, we will make a difference.

This is not just about school shootings, although they're very important, but 13 children are killed every day by guns on the streets, in the neighborhoods and various circumstances.

So I think there are basically three problems. You have more kids that are kind of at risk of violence. You have a culture that desensitizes and glorifies violence, and desensitizes people to it. And it's way too easy to get guns.

STATEMENT OF SENATOR FRANK R. LAUTENBERG (1924, D-NJ), BEFORE THE U.S. SENATE, OCTOBER 2, 1998

As a result of the Brady Act, we have helped prevent thousands of guns from getting into the hands of the wrong people. Since the Brady Act went into effect in 1994, more than 242,000 handgun purchases have been denied to convicted felons, fugitives, drug addicts and other dangerous persons. The Domestic Violence Gun Ban in the Brady Act has prevented more than 6,800 firearms sales to people convicted of abusing a spouse or child.

However, the Brady Law has not completely stopped the flow of handguns to those who should not have them. Gun traffickers continue to supply an illegal gun market by buying large quantities of guns in states with lax gun laws and then reselling them on the streetsoften in cities and states with strict gun laws.

If these traffickers can not legally buy a gun themselves, or if they do not want to have their name turn up if the gun is later found at a crime scene, they find others to make the purchases for them. The trafficker pays a straw purchaser, in money or drugs, to buy 25, 50 or more handguns at a time and then resells the guns to those who otherwise could not buy themsuch as convicted felons, drug addicts, or children.

In fact, the Maryland State Police official testified that multiple guns purchased by straw purchasers were the source of the majority of firearms used in the commission of violent crime.

My bill would make it far more difficult and less profitable for traffickers to conduct their deadly business, by prohibiting an individual from buying more than one handgun a month. We know this approach works because three statesVirginia, Maryland, South Carolinahave passed one-gun-a-month laws and the results have been dramatic. Gun trafficking from these states has plunged.

For instance, officers from the Virginia State Police testified that after Virginia passed its one-handgun-a-month limit in 1993, the number of crime guns traced back to Virginia from the Northeast dropped by nearly 40 percent. Prior to one-gun-a-month, Virginia had been among the leading supplier of weapons to the so-called Iron Pipeline that feed the arms race on the streets of Northeastern cities.

In 1995, the Virginia Crime Commission conducted a comprehensive study of the one-handgun-a-month limit to determine if the law had achieved its purpose. That study found, and I quote, Virginia's one-gun-a-month statute has had its intended effect of reducing Virginia's status as a source state for gun trafficking.

Maryland and South Carolina showed similar results. In South Carolina, according to the same Crime Commission report: Prior to the passage of the one-gun-a-month law, South Carolina was a leading source state for guns traced to New York City, accounting for 39% of guns recovered in criminal investigations. Following the implementation of the law, South Carolina virtually dropped off of the statistical list of source states for firearms trafficked to the northeast.

Maryland passed its law in 1996 and has already seen the results. According to testimony from the Maryland State Police:

In 1991 Maryland was nationally ranked second in terms of suppliers of crime guns to the City of New York. By 1997, one year after the passage of Maryland's one gun a month law, Maryland moved out of the top ten suppliers of crime guns to New York City.

And most significant is the drop in crime that has followed enactment of limits on handgun sales. For example, in Virginia, the number of murders, robberies and aggravated assaults committed with a firearm significantly dropped after 1993 when the limit went into effect.

Limits on handgun purchases, while disrupting gun traffickers, have little or no effect on the sportsman or law abiding citizen because a very small percent of all handgun purchases involve multiple sales. For example, in 1991, Virginia State Police reported only 6% of handgun purchases were multiple sales. But of these, nearly 75% were semi-automatic weapons, the weapon of choice among gun traffickers. Mayor Rendell testified that less than 1% of handgun purchasers in Philadelphia bought more than 12 handguns in a twelve month period.

STATEMENT OF HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT ABIGAIL NESSON FROM VERMONT, SUBMITTED TO THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES BY REPRESENTATIVE BERNARD SANDERS (1941, I-VT), AUGUST 7, 1998

I believe that our forefathers had the right idea. Their wish was to create a safe and free nation for all of us to live in, and they wrote this to prove it: We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do

ordain and establish this Constitution of the United States of America.

I am here today to talk to you about guns. The widespread availability of these weapons is frightening and wrong. Thousands are killed every year in our country by guns bought legally, guns made not to hunt animals but to hunt humans. Many have killed or have been killed by the time they reach my age, if they ever do.

I am a strict constructionist when it comes to the preamble and the Second Amendment, meaning I believe that our forefathers wrote just what they meant. They meant for the Constitution to increase domestic tranquility and general welfare and, especially, common defense. I believeI knowthat the guns that are available today do none of these things. I believe and I know that our forefathers would agree, because I refuse to think that the intention of the ones who wrote the Constitution was to put lethal weapons in the hands of every person who wanted one. That is not a well-regulated militia. No, their intention was to ensure that safety and freedom for us, their posterity.

I propose that we follow the words of the preamble and of our constitution. I propose that we take a step to make our nation safe again, for me and for the children I want to have some day. I propose we remove the guns from our streets, our homes, and our hands.

STATEMENT OF SYLVESTER DAUGHTRY JR., CHIEF OF POLICE, GREENSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA, AND PRESIDENT OF THE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF CHIEFS OF POLICE, BEFORE THE HOUSE SUBCOMMITTEE ON CRIME AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE,APRIL 25, 1994

On January 25 of last year in Langley, Virginia, an individual with no criminal record went on a shooting spree outside CIA headquarters, killing two and wounding three. On the other side of the country, on July 1 of last year, another individual with no criminal record entered a San Francisco law firm with over 450 rounds of ammunition, eventually killing eight and seriously wounding six. With these examples, the argument by gun control opponents that we will be restricting the rights of law-abiding citizens rings very hollow. As we have said, we in law enforcement cannot make such a simplistic and dreamy distinction.

The reason there is no decrease in gun-related mayhem as a result of stringent state and local gun control laws is that guns are easily purchased in less stringent locations and brought into the stricter areas. As you can imagine, chiefs do not have a patrol to prevent firearms purchased elsewhere from entering and being used in our jurisdictions. This is one of the logical reasons why the IACP [International Association of Chiefs of Police] supports federal legislation in the area of gun control. Gun control will work only if all the states are required to observe it.

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