Grassley statement at Judiciary Committee Business Meeting, Mark-up of Gun Violence Bills What we are talking about now is freedom. Freedom not only guaranteed in the Constitution, but what the Supreme Court recognized is a preexisting right of self-defense.
PoliticalNews.me - Mar 08,2013 - Grassley statement at Judiciary Committee Business Meeting, Mark-up of Gun Violence Bills
Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee
Executive Business Meeting
Mr. Chairman, what happened at Newtown shocked the entire nation. We will never forget where we were and how we reacted when we learned that 20 very young children and 6 adults were killed that day. I cannot imagine how anyone would commit such an evil act. And I cannot even begin to know what it would be like to be a relative of one of those slain children.
We pray for the families who continue to mourn the loss of their loved ones. We pray for all victims of violence, gun or otherwise.
This Committee and a Subcommittee have held three hearings. While I believe that addressing violence requires examining more than guns, guns were the near exclusive focus of those hearings and will be the near exclusive focus of the bills the Committee has seen fit to mark up.
All of us were strongly affected by what happened at Newtown. All of us want to take effective action to prevent future tragedies. But we have different, deeply held approaches to do so.
What we are talking about now is freedom. Freedom not only guaranteed in the Constitution, but what the Supreme Court recognized is a preexisting right of self-defense. Individuals do not need the government’s permission to defend themselves.
Today, gun violence rates are at their lowest levels in 50 years. This is a tremendous accomplishment. There are many reasons for it, including longer incarceration of dangerous criminals, abolition of parole, and police practices. This drop in gun violence has occurred even as there are more guns in the country than ever before. It has occurred after the Supreme Court has found the Second Amendment to be a fundamental right and after many states have increased the ability of law-abiding citizens to own guns. The drop has also occurred despite any new federal gun control enactments in almost 20 years.
But a majority of the Committee seems determined to impose more gun restrictions on law-abiding citizens. Consider the assault weapons ban. This bill represents the biggest gun ban proposal in our history. A similar ban was enacted in 1994. And the Justice Department’s own studies failed to show that the ban had any effect.
Some of my colleagues speak like Donald Rumsfeld on this point – “absence of evidence isn’t evidence of absence.” But the assault weapons ban did not work. And just this year, the Deputy Director of NIJ wrote that “an assault weapon ban is unlikely to have an impact on gun violence.”
But rather than trying something different, the first bill on the agenda is an assault weapons ban. It is based on how the guns look. An AR-15 is prohibited while a mini-14 is exempt because one has a wooden stock and the other a plastic one. Other guns that are more powerful than the prohibited guns are exempted. The guns that it bans