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Jackie S.
Democrat CA 14

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  • Gun Violence

    by Representative Jackie Speier

    Posted on 2013-02-27

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    SPEIER. Mr. Speaker, I'd like to compliment the gentleman from Wisconsin and the freshman Members who participated in the last hour for a job well done in underscoring what the sequester means to Americans across the country.

    I'm going to shift gears now as I'm joined by my good colleague from Virginia (Mr. Moran). We're going to talk about gun violence.

    Those of us who've been victims of gun violence see horrific pictures in our minds over and over again. Mine was over 30 years ago, but I am still haunted by visuals of that day: my leg being blown up, my arm being blown up, and really thinking that I was going to die.

    When you look death in the eye, there's a certain clarity that comes to you, a certain clarity about what's important, a certain fearlessness to deal with issues that maybe you wouldn't have dealt with under other circumstances.

    Now I am haunted by more recent events in Newtown. I'm haunted by the story told by Veronique Pozner about little Noah, her son.

    Little Noah was shot 11 times. A little child was shot 11 times. She made a point of having an open casket at his funeral for one reason, because this is not just about numbers. This is about human beings. This is about visualizing what happens when someone is gunned down.

    She had an open casket, and she invited the Governor of Connecticut to the funeral because she wanted the Governor to see this little cherub face. She said it's not little angels going to Heaven. This little boy had his mouth blown off and his jaw gone and his hand gone. She wanted the Governor to remember that little face when legislation came to his desk.

    It's time for all of us here in this House to stop thinking about numbers and start thinking about people. Yes, over 1,800 people have died since Newtown, and over 500 of them have been children. If we do nothing else but focus on the children in this country, that should call us to action.

    I'm going to talk about a child, a child from my district, an infant, a 3-month-old infant. This infant was named Izak Jimenez. He was just a little tyke. His parents had come from the baby shower, had put him in his car seat, and the mother and the father with the 4-year-old child were in the front seat.

    {time} 1810 It was mistaken identity. Gang members--two young kids, 16 and 17 years of age--came and shot up their truck. They killed this little baby. They killed him. The parents were shot. The 4-year-old was spared. They were 16- and 17-year-old kids. When they were found, they had extra handguns. They're not legally allowed to have those handguns, but somehow they got them into their hands.

    We are not debating the Second Amendment when we talk about gun [[Page H698]] violence prevention. The Second Amendment is secure. It's even more secure since the Heller decision, when the Heller Court said: The Second Amendment guarantees every American the opportunity to have a gun for recreational purposes and to protect themselves in their homes, but having said that, it also provides government with the right to provide certain levels of regulation.

    So what are those certain levels of regulation? Why don't we start with something really simple, really straightforward, and that is universal background checks. Don't we want to make sure that people who go to gun dealers to buy guns legally have the right to buy the guns? That they're not felons? That they're not ex-felons? That they haven't been charged and convicted of drug trafficking? That they haven't been convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence, or that they haven't been adjudicated by a court as being mentally incompetent? Of course we do, and this number says it all. A Quinnipiac poll this month said that 92 percent of Americans believe that we should have universal background checks.

    Why can't we come together--Republicans and Democrats, parents of small children and older children, people who have encountered on one level or another gun violence--and say, certainly, we can do this; certainly, we can have universal background checks so that guns don't get in the wrong hands, so that 16- and 17-year-old kids don't get a hold of a gun and then shoot up an innocent family? So what does Wayne LaPierre say about that? This is pretty interesting.

    Back in 1999, after Columbine, Wayne LaPierre was really clear about universal background checks. He said: On behalf of the NRA, we think it's reasonable to provide mandatory instant criminal background checks for every sale at every gun show--no loopholes anywhere for anyone.

    That's what he said in 1999.

    Now, mind you, a recent poll by Frank Luntz--a Republican pollster-- of just NRA members and non-NRA gun members, found that 74 percent of NRA members and 83 percent of gun owners support a universal background check. So did Wayne LaPierre in 1999.

    What is he saying today? Today, before Senator Leahy, when asked, ``You don't support background checks in all instances at gun shows?'' Mr. LaPierre responds, ``We do not because the fact is the law right now is a failure the way it is working. None of it makes any sense in the real world.'' I would submit to my good friend Mr. Moran that this is the real world and that we are dealing with real people. I know that you would like to comment, from your perspective, on the state of gun violence and the lack of gun violence prevention in this country.

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