BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
Mr. YOHO. I'd like to thank the gentleman from Indiana for his time. Mr. Speaker, I'd like to thank you for allowing me to rise here today.
Mr. Speaker, I rise to address this body tonight about a subject that weighs heavy on the minds of many of my constituents and many Americans. It is a subject and a right that has been granted to us by our country's founding principles, the Constitution, not by government. It is the birthright of any law-abiding citizen of the United States of America, and it is their choice to exercise that right. It is the role and duty of government to protect those rights.
In my 2 months as their Representative, more people in the Third Congressional District of Florida have reached out to me with their concerns over how Congress will address our Second Amendment after the much-publicized, tragic event at Newtown, Connecticut.
This, indeed, I think we all agree was a senseless act of violence. This is not a time to make a knee-jerk reaction and challenge our Second Amendment and restrict our rights as law-abiding citizens. This is not a time to play partisan politics. This is a time to come together.
This is a time to go after the cause of this despicable act, the individual and the cause of gun violence. I stand 100 percent with President Obama and all others that want to curb gun violence so long as it does not interfere with our Second Amendment. The Second Amendment states:
A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
This is necessary to protect the Third Amendment:
No soldier shall in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
Those who commit the unspeakable crime we've witnessed a few months ago should not be able to hide behind any amendment or law in this country. But the real issue is gun violence, not the gun. We must be vigilant in using the laws already available to the fullest extent possible and look at why people are doing these crimes. Before we punish or infringe upon the rights of the law-abiding individual, we should look more at causes of mental health issues that lead to these crimes.
This point is illustrated by the Department of Justice's own internal memo that we're discussing tonight, which notes that the greatest number of guns used in crime comes from straw purchases, those being purchased by someone for someone else or by theft of a gun, not by the person that abides by the law.
Laws that place even more restrictions on law-abiding citizens who only want the right to own a gun for any legal activity they determine will not deter the person intent on doing harm. People with bad habits tend to do bad things.
The first week of this Congress, I joined many of my colleagues here on the House floor in the reading of our Constitution. We took an oath at that swearing-in ceremony to uphold the Constitution. I carry a copy of our Constitution with me everywhere I go. Any and all we do in this body, and our colleagues in the Senate, should be done to uphold, to protect, and to strengthen this document; and by doing this, we strengthen America. Our Constitution has set America apart from every other country in the world, and I aim to keep it that way.
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT