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Public Statements

Assault Weapons Ban

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. JOHNSON of Georgia. Mr. Speaker, today I rise to express my heartfelt sorrow and condolences to the victims and their families and the community of Aurora, Colorado, a great tragedy. Words are inadequate to describe it. And it's certainly a reminder to everyone that no time is promised to any of us. And we never know what will happen in the next second or the next minute or the next hour and certainly the next day. So we give praise that we were able to wake up this morning, come to the floor of the House and talk about an issue that is going to take a lot of time to heal.

But while we are healing, we have work to do in this Congress. You see, the assault weapons ban, in place for 10 years, expired in 2004. And after the expiration of the assault weapons ban, it's been open season.

Now, I know that there are people who hold the Second Amendment dear. And it is established clearly in law that citizens have a right to bear arms. Beyond that, the Constitution is silent. So it leaves it up to us to address issues concerning the reasonable regulation of that right. Should we not have any regulations, or should we have regulations that are reasonable?

Now, I just heard some of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle talking about the numerous bills that we will be considering this week having to do with stopping regulation in its tracks in all areas, whether or not it be child safety, food, drugs, car safety, whether or not it be air, water, food, drugs. I have heard talk that regulations stop jobs from being created. That is one that I disagree with; but nevertheless, we will be considering it today.

But there are some regulations governing the affairs of people that are reasonable, and that includes restrictions on who can bear arms and what kind of arms they can bear. To say that we should have no regulations on weapons, particularly weapons of mass destruction, to me is unwise. I don't understand why someone who has a gun in their home for protection needs to have a magazine that is capable of rapid fire, a hundred rounds in a couple of minutes or in a minute. I don't understand why someone needs that kind of firepower to protect their home.

I know people love to go hunting. I, myself, will one day have the opportunity to do that. I have never done it before, but I respect those who wait until hunting season begins on their particular prey of choice. They exercise that right and get a lot of joy and satisfaction out of it, and also bring home some food. I can't disagree with that, and we do need to cull our deer population and other populations. We have reasonable regulations on that. But you don't need an AK-47 to go deer hunting.

My 5 minutes went by very quickly, but I think you all understand what I'm saying.

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