A picture of Representative Louie Gohmert
Louie G.
Republican TX 1

About Rep. Louie
  • Self-Defense Issues of the Day

    by Representative Louie Gohmert

    Posted on 2015-12-03

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    GOHMERT. Mr. Speaker, it was 2 years ago this week that a precious life was cut short tragically. Kari Renee Hunt, a resident of Marshall, Texas, was murdered by her estranged husband in a hotel.

    They were in the hotel room. While the estranged husband was assaulting Kari, her 9-year-old daughter, while witnessing the murder, did what most parents teach their kids to do in an emergency. She dialed 911--and got nothing.

    Because what this precious 9-year-old--and the family hasn't used her name publicly, so I will not either--what the precious girl didn't know is what a lot of folks dialing 911 in that situation wouldn't know, that you have to dial 9 before you can dial 911. In order to dial the 911, you need to dial the 9 prefix in order to get an outside line.

    Mr. Speaker, she didn't know that. She was desperately trying to get help to save her mother before the assault turned into murder. She never got help, not in time.

    Kari's father, Hank Hunt, has worked tirelessly to try to get something done. The State legislature in Texas has enacted a law, but from the Federal Government end, we can make it universal across the country.

    I do thank my friend Kevin Eltife for his work in the State legislature.

    Mr. Speaker, our bill is a little different. I was surprised to find out that, actually, most of the time, there is no cost whatsoever to requiring that a phone be furnished to a business or a home or anywhere where there might be a need to punch 9 to get an outside line--there is no cost to having a default that you can dial 911 without the prefix, and it will go straight to the emergency help.

    Once I learned that, it became clear there was no reason not to have a law that just tells providers, provide the phone so that the default when you dial 911 is to get emergency help, that [[Page H9007]] you don't need a prefix to get an outside line.

    So, today, after a lot of help--again, I am thankful to Hank Hunt for his tireless work--a number of groups have made this easier to come together on language that was acceptable to most. There were a couple of objections, but this is the final language.

    So I want to thank Mark Fletcher with AH&LA, the American Hotel & Lodging Association; FCC Commissioner Pai; and the 911 Association.

    Mr. Speaker, the bill we filed today is H.R. 4167, and, as it says in the bill, the purpose is to amend the Communications Act of 1934 to require multiline telephone systems to have a default configuration that permits users to directly initiate a call to 911 without dialing an additional digit, code, prefix, or postfix. That is the purpose.

    It is a short bill of three pages. If it had been the law 2 years ago, help would likely have gotten there before Kari's murder was final. So, while this legislation will not reverse the heartbreaking loss of Kari, Kari's law should prevent it from happening again. And when it doesn't cost anything, why not? Mr. Speaker, I thank all of those who have helped, and, actually, I want to thank the news media in east Texas for being so helpful in bringing attention to this issue and helping us get to the point where we are.

    Now we have to get through committee and get it to the floor. We have Senators, one in particular, looking at it to bring to the Senate floor so we can get this done and make it law.

    There has been no veto threat on this bill, so I would doubt the President would refuse to sign it if we would just pass it.

    Since the shootings in San Bernardino, I guess it shouldn't have been surprising that so many people would immediately call out for gun control even before they knew how Farouk--the defendants, the shooters, the evil shooters, acquired their guns.

    It is interesting that I believe there were 13 bombs already made, a number of bombs already made. So if guns were completely outlawed in the United States, it wouldn't change the evil in the hearts of radical Islamists who are bent on terrorizing and killing people.

    Mr. Speaker, it gets tiresome hearing people feel like they always have to say, ``All Muslims we know don't feel this way,'' yet they have no conviction and no compulsion, when they condemn Christians as being guilty of crusades, of saying, ``But we know all Christians don't feel this way.'' I would submit, Mr. Speaker, that the fact is I don't know whether that shooter in Colorado Springs was self-described as a Christian or not. He obviously was confused about his gender.

    {time} 1500 Maybe the next thing we will hear is that--since he apparently checked off--or it is reported that he had filed a registration where he indicated he was an unaffiliated female, perhaps the next we will be told is that maybe, if he had been allowed to go into the little girl's restroom in elementary school, he wouldn't have later snapped and did those merciless killings.

    It has also been interesting--and, as a former prosecutor, a judge, also--I don't know if there is anybody else in this body of 435 representatives or anybody in the Senate--I don't know--who has ever been court-appointed to appeal a death penalty conviction as I was.

    Even though I begged the judge not to appoint me, he did. And I do believe in our adversarial system to the point like John Adams said after the Boston Massacre, for our system to work, it requires adversaries on both sides doing the best they can legally and ethically.

    When I got into it, it appeared clear he had not gotten a fair trial. I later convinced the highest court in Texas to reverse his capital murder conviction, which it did. I don't know how many others in this body or the Senate have appealed and reversed a capital murder conviction. People always think I am such a heartless guy, but I do believe in the rule of law and I do believe it should be followed.

    I don't believe it helps the lawlessness that is breaking out across our land to have an administration that picks and chooses the laws that it likes to enforce and have an IRS that abuses their positions in the law, that has Homeland Security that deletes thousands of documents that would help us identify terrorists and then go after the guy that preserved them on his own classified IronKey.

    He is a real hero, but he has now been forced out of Homeland Security. He resigned. But after they empanelled a grand jury to investigate him, became terrorists in the way that the government treated them, not with guns, but with the power of this administration.

    I mean, with somebody as law-abiding as some of our whistleblowers have been only to find that this administration will come after you if you try to stand up for truth and integrity, can we not expect lawlessness to break out? John Adams wrote: This government was intended for the governing of a moral and religious people. It is not fit to govern any others.

    I know the President and others keep saying there is nowhere in the world that has the frequency of shootings like this or mass murders like we do in the United States. But, as I have mentioned before, there was an article by Kyle Becker 4 months ago. He has a chart and says, if you don't compare apples and oranges, if you actually compare the number of rampage shooting fatalities to the number of people in the country, then Norway is first, 15.3 per million; 1.85 per million in Finland; 1.47 per million in Slovakia; 1.38 in Israel; .75 in Switzerland; and .72 per million in the United States.

    The trouble is the loss of even one life is unnecessary, and appropriate steps should be taken to prevent them.

    My friend John Lott has an article out today in National Review. He says--this is John Lott: ``On Sunday, Hillary Clinton slammed Republicans for not being serious about protecting Americans from terrorism. `How many more Americans need to die before we take action?' Clinton asked in response to Friday's shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs. She believes that stopping such attacks involves `common-sense steps like comprehensive background checks, closing the loopholes that let guns fall into the wrong hands.' Within minutes of the attack in San Bernardino, California, yesterday, Clinton pushed again for more regulations.

    ``Clinton also wants to crack down on terrorism by prohibiting people on the no-fly list from buying guns. `If you are too dangerous to fly in America, you are too dangerous to buy a gun in America.' '' And I will insert parenthetically that I have got one of the most patriotic friends I know who is a highly decorated general in the United States Army who lived just outside Marshall, Texas.

    We have had a number of times tried to help the general, this patriotic freedom-loving American, who has put his life on the line repeatedly. We have had to repeatedly work to get his name off the no- fly list because, apparently, there is someone with a similar name. And whoever that person is, this patriot's name is on the list.

    Well, John Lott goes on: ``Are Republicans really putting Americans in danger by opposing new gun-control laws? ``After every mass shooting, Clinton and President Obama have called for `comprehensive' or `universal' background checks, which would apply not only to the purchase of guns from a dealer, but also to private transfers of guns. However, it wouldn't have stopped any of the mass shootings during Obama's tenure. Last weekend, Clinton, Obama, and other Democrats issued their calls for new legislation before anyone even knew how the Colorado shooter had obtained his rifle.

    ``Colorado already had expanded background checks two years ago. So had Oregon before the Umpqua Community College shooting in October. France also has a background-check system. So too does California, which experienced yesterday's attack. Yet, while the existing laws didn't stop shootings of the very kind Clinton claims that they will stop, she uses these failures to justify imposing similar laws on the rest of the country.

    ``The American background-check system is supposed to prevent the purchase of a gun by anyone who has been convicted of a felony or certain misdemeanors. The Feinstein amendment would also ban the sale of guns to anyone who is on the terrorist watch list.

    [[Page H9008]] Now, being on the watch list sure sounds bad, but it doesn't mean that a person has been convicted of anything. In fact, it is pretty easy to get on the watch list; you can be on it simply because the FBI wants to interview you about someone you might know. According to the TechDirt website, about 40 percent of the people on the watch list are considered to be under `reasonable suspicion' even though they have absolutely `no affiliation with known terrorist groups.' ``The number of people on the list has grown dramatically during the Obama administration; by 2013, there were about 700,000 people on the list. As of 2014, about 50,000 people were on the no-fly list. This is a ten-fold increase since Obama became president.

    ``Between February 2004 and December 2014, over 2,000 people on the watch list bought one or more guns. The government has not identified a single one of these people as using a gun in a crime.

    ``Should the government be able to deny you the right to protect yourself simply because it wants to ask you about someone you might know? And that isn't the only problem posed by the proposed expanded background checks. In New York, today's background checks add about $80 to the cost of transferring a gun. In Washington State, they add about $60. In Washington, D.C., they add $200. In effect, these laws put a tax on guns and can prevent less affluent Americans from purchasing them. This disproportionately affects poor minorities who live in high- crime urban areas.

    ``While some people on `no-fly' lists are there because they are suspected of terrorist activity, you can also get added because you are a suspect in a criminal case, made controversial statements or tweets unrelated to terrorism, are the victim of a clerical error, or refused to become a government informant.'' And I might add, last November, as I was leaving London, I had a security person tell me they realized I was a U.S. Congressman and, ``We are very sorry,'' but that our Homeland Security Department here in the United States said I was to be thoroughly personally searched along with my bags.

    I don't know. Maybe they didn't like my questioning of the Secretary of Homeland Security and were threatened by my questions trying to get truth out of them.

    ``Between February 2004 and December 2014, over 2,000 people on the watch list bought one or more guns.'' It is pretty amazing there. But not one of them--not a single one of those people have been accused of using a gun in a crime.

    So even if these people wanted this law to be changed, it would not have changed the outcome in Oregon, Colorado, or California. It seems as if my well-meaning friends proposing tougher and tougher laws to take away our Second Amendment rights mean well, but they are proposing things without even knowing whether they would save a single life. Certainly they will take away rights of law-abiding Americans, but they certainly would not have changed the outcome in Colorado or California.

    ``The error rate for identifying potential terror threats is probably similar to the error rate for background checks on gun purchases. Over 94 percent of `initial denials' for gun purchases are dropped after just a preliminary review. These cases were dropped either because the wrong person had been stopped or because the covered offenses were decades old and the government decided not to prosecute. The total error rate comes to about 99 percent.

    ``Putting people on a list and prohibiting them from legally purchasing guns doesn't really stop them from getting weapons. The fact that people are prohibited from buying certain drugs doesn't mean people can't get them. It's the same with guns. And, incidentally, drug gangs supply both illegal drugs and illegal guns.

    ``Indeed, since Clinton wants to make a comparison to last week's Paris attacks, we should point out that France's strict weapon bans didn't stop the terrorists from getting the AK-47s and explosive belts they used in the attacks.

    Strangely, the Oregon, Colorado, California, and Paris shootings are being used to push for additional gun-control laws of the sort that failed to prevent those attacks.'' That is John R. Lott, Jr., today writing.

    When I proposed and filed Kari's Law today, I had to be sure that it would make a difference and that the added burden would not cause any extra effort, cost money, hardly ever, just something that needed to be done.

    Kari's Law would be a great law for our country, whereas, the laws being hailed as something we must pass wouldn't have saved a single one of the lives that we will pause in silence and for whom most of us will pray.

    {time} 1515 Mr. Speaker, I know that Christians are being reviled. Certainly, in the Middle East, they are being beheaded. Here, in the United States, after leaders talked about praying for the victims' families, there have been belittling comments made.

    But I look at the quote that Thomas Jefferson provided. It is inscribed in his memorial: ``God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? that they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever.'' Jefferson, on March 4, 1805, in his second inaugural, said: ``. . . I shall, need to the favor of that Being in whose hands we are, who led our forefathers, as Israel of old, from their native land and planted them in a country flowing with all the necessities and comforts of life.'' James Madison made many declarations and statements.

    On July 23, 1813, in the National Day of Public Humiliation and Prayer Proclamation, James Madison, who is given credit for being the most prolific author in the Constitution, said: ``If the public homage of a people can ever be worthy of the favorable regard of the Holy and Omniscient Being to whom it is addressed, it must be that in which those who join in it are guided only by their free choice, by the impulse of their hearts, and the dictates of their consciences; and such a spectacle must be interesting to all Christian nations as proving that religion, that gift of Heaven for the good of man, freed from all coercive edicts, from that unhallowed connection with the powers of this world which corrupts religion . . . and making no appeal but to reason, to the heart, and to the conscience, can spread its benign influence everywhere and can attract to the divine altar those freewill offerings of humble supplication, thanksgiving, and praise, which alone can be acceptable to Him . . . '' We have observed a time now in our country's history where we have gone from, not nine Supreme Court Justices--most of the time, it is just five--who have said, even though the Founders have been requiring every day to start with prayer since the beginning of the new Constitution, we don't think you should have prayer in public places.

    That was a shocker. It would have been a shocker to the Founders since they started with prayer in the very beginning and have continued through to this day.

    The Supreme Court goes on to say that they don't think you should talk about Jesus. You can talk about Mohammed, and you can talk all about Islam, but you can't talk about Jesus Christ. We have even had Federal judges say you can't mention the name ``God'' in your graduation ceremony. Our judicial system has a small group of judges who has run amuck, who has lost its way, and it has taken the country with them.

    Abraham Lincoln said: ``It is the duty of nations as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions, in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.'' It is remarkable that this is 2 years and 40-something days before his assassination.

    Abraham Lincoln, with people dying all over the country, put this in print [[Page H9009]] in his National Day of Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer Proclamation.

    Abraham Lincoln said: ``We have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self- sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.

    ``It behooves us then to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.'' I will just share one more, Mr. Speaker.

    William Howard Taft is the only man in U.S. history to have been President and Chief Justice--or any Justice--on the Supreme Court.

    In 1908, William Howard Taft said: ``No man can study the movement of modern civilization from an impartial standpoint and not realize that Christianity and the spread of Christianity are the only basis for the hope of modern civilization and the growth of popular self-government. The spirit of Christianity is pure democracy. It is the equality of man before God, the equality of man before the law, which is, as I understand it, the most godlike manifestation that man has been able to make.'' Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.


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