BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
Mr. INHOFE. First of all, Madam President, let me say, I certainly sympathize with the tragedy that took place and those who lost family members. Having 20 kids and grandkids myself, I am probably in a better position to sympathize with that than many others are.
I have to say I think somewhat of a disservice is being done to some of these families. It is almost akin to saying we are looking at legislation that would have prevented that from happening--and that is not the case--or we are looking at legislation that would preclude something such as this happening again.
I listened to my colleagues on the right side, on the Republican side, and on the left, the Democratic side, and they all have good ideas and they all are sincere in wanting to do something and maybe I am looking at it too simplistically. Because I look at the second amendment, I look at what historically has been our privilege in exercising our right to keep and bear arms--I mean since the very beginning--then I see and I have lived through, on the State and on the Federal level, all kinds of efforts of people to think: We can do something about gun violence, and let's do it by background checks, let's check everybody out there, let's do it, and let's approach the gun shows.
Let's talk about all these things that could be done. We could restrict the number of the cartridges and the magazines and all these things, but it is all predicated on one assumption, which I cannot buy. That assumption is that somehow we think that the criminal element will single out this one law to comply with.
Let's look at the facts. When we look at what they are trying to do, anything that is up that we are going to be voting on in the next 2 or 3 weeks--however long it takes--is going to, in some way, restrict the number of firearms. I think we would all agree with that. Whose firearms will they restrict? They would restrict the firearms of law-abiding citizens. That means the ratio between guns owned by the criminal element versus the law-abiding citizen is going to change.
When they talk about the background checks, I cannot imagine anyone being so naive as not to know that if the criminal element is going to get a gun, they are going to get a gun. Sure, they would kind of like to have some of these restrictions. They would like to have that background check because that eliminates the numbers of guns in circulation. So the criminal element is the only one who is not affected.
I was asked a question not long ago about this. It was on a national TV show. I was actually down at the border at the time, the Mexican border. They asked the question: Why is America so wrong? He talked about a poll that was taken where the results were 90 to 3. The question that was asked was: Do you believe we ought to have stronger background checks?
I said: Fine. If you were to ask that same question--90 percent of the people, by the way, answered: Yes, we need to have stronger background checks. But if you asked the question: Do you believe we should have stronger background checks on the law-abiding citizens and not the criminal element, then I can assure you, it would be like 99 to nothing the other way.
That is the thing. That is the one thing people just overlook. We can pass all the laws we want, and the criminal element is going to sit back and smile. Is anyone naive enough not to think, not to believe that regardless of background checks, a criminal element can find someone who can go and get a gun, make $100, and they have a gun. But the ratio changes and not in a healthy way.
In a way I think it is a disservice to an awful lot of people who have had tragedies in their lives to believe we are doing something that is truly going to change that when, in fact, I do not believe it is.
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT