Student Success Act—Conference Reportby Senator Richard Blumenthal
Posted on 2015-12-08
BLUMENTHAL. Mr. President, we talk in this Chamber every day
about the threat of terrorism and many associated terrorist threats
with airplanes and explosives, but we have seen in recent horrifying
events in Paris and in San Bernardino how much tragic carnage can be
wrought by a small number of people using firearms designed for war.
They are using assault weapons that have the purpose to kill and maim
human beings--no other purpose. For me and for the American people,
common sense says a person too dangerous to be permitted on a plane is
too dangerous to be permitted a gun. No fly, no gun. No check, no gun.
That ought to be the rule. It is a commonsense rule.
When I talk to people in Connecticut and they say to me ``Why didn't the Senate approve that rule?'' there is no commonsense explanation. The reason given by colleagues on the other side that there is some due process violation is nonsense. I hesitate to say it is that frivolous, but it is because, No. 1, there is a right to challenge the designation on the no-fly list through the Department of Homeland Security, which has to provide reasons and an opportunity to challenge it. Also, under Senator Feinstein's bill, there is an additional safeguard to constitutional rights because it can be challenged through the Department of Justice, which is required to establish an administrative process and then an appeal--a right of appeal to the Federal courts. Anybody denied permission to buy a gun has a right of appeal. So the rule no-fly, no gun is based on common sense and legal, constitutional rights.
No right, in fact, is absolute. Whether it is the First Amendment or any other right, there is the guarantee in the Constitution that there will be reasonable restrictions, when necessary, to protect the public interests, and here is a case of the public interests clearly deserving this protection. If there are problems with any individual being on the list, challenge it, but clearly having to wait 72 hours for that check and for the denial of permission to go forward is unreasonable.
I urge that we move forward with this commonsense protection for the public. I am hard-pressed to think of a more clear and staggering example of the gun lobby's influence than the defeat of this bill.
Plainly, the vote last week showed that the gun lobby unfortunately still has a staggering stranglehold on this process. When it comes to law enforcement, they are on our side.
I urge our colleagues to heed this reasonable request: No fly, no gun. If you are on that no-fly list, if you are too dangerous to fly and to board a plane, the Constitution says this reasonable restriction should be adopted.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The time of the Senator has expired.