Student Success Act—Conference Reportby Senator Amy Klobuchar
Posted on 2015-12-08
KLOBUCHAR. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to speak for 7
minutes. I understand that wasn't in the original request.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
Ms. KLOBUCHAR. Mr. President, when I was a prosecutor, we had one straightforward goal: Convict the guilty and protect the innocent. To me, that simple mission still holds true. We must make our world safer by rooting out evil in our midst, while still protecting the rights of people who mean no harm. Those 14 people in San Bernardino, that American aid worker killed in Mali, those innocent families whose plane exploded over Egypt, and those young people killed and maimed in Paris deserve nothing less.
That means, of course, taking out evil at its roots, increasing our efforts, and leading an international coalition against ISIS, and it means keeping our homeland safe. Part of that is tightening the Visa Waiver Program, and some of it is the work that must be done on encryption. But there is one commonsense way to get at this terror that I join my colleagues in supporting today--commonsense action to close a dangerous loophole that allows suspected terrorists to illegally buy guns in the United States.
Incredibly, current U.S. law does not prevent individuals who are on terror watch lists from purchasing guns. A total of 2,233 people on the watch list tried to buy guns in our country between 2004 and 2014, and more than 2,000--or 91 percent of them--cleared a background check according to the information from the Government Accountability Office.
I am a cosponsor--and have been before these tragic events of the last few weeks--of Senator Feinstein's bill to close this loophole. During last week's budget debate, I joined 25 of my Senate colleagues in offering an amendment that would also have stopped these dangerous individuals from buying firearms and explosives.
Passing legislation to ensure that suspected terrorists cannot buy guns has bipartisan support in the House of Representatives, where Republican Congressman Peter King of New York has long advocated for this change.
As we work to fight terrorists abroad, as we work to stop the recruitment in our own country--which I know well from my own State of Minnesota, where we have over a dozen cases and indictments against those who were trying to go to fight with ISIS and others who were going to fight with al-Shabaab--we have been very aggressive in going after those cases as well as working to prevent recruitment from occurring in the first place.
This is all a piece of a very difficult puzzle, but to close our eyes and say that people on a terror watch list can go out and buy a gun is wrong. We need to do everything we can to ensure that those suspected of terrorist activities cannot buy guns in the United States. I am hopeful the Senate can come together to advance this commonsense national security measure to keep lethal weapons out of the wrong hands.
Thank you, Mr. President.
I yield the floor.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Connecticut.