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Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 2013 - Motion to Proceed

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. LEE. I appreciate the cooperation and friendship of the senior Senator from Vermont.

Mr. President, yesterday on the floor I discussed an initiative I launched this week called Protect2A to give voice to the millions of second amendment supporters around the United States who are very concerned about Congress enacting any new gun control measures.

I am pleased to announce that we now have over 3,000 responses from citizens all across this country who are sharing their stories, their experiences, and their opinions about why they feel we should do everything in our power to protect their second amendment rights. I had only a brief time to share some of those stories yesterday and wish to use a few minutes today to share a few more.

Kathy from the State of Virginia writes:

My husband and I are senior citizens. He is a veteran of the U.S. Army. Over the past several years, we have seen our constitutional rights trampled and twisted, until we no longer trust that our government has our well-being as its primary concern. Last year, for the first time in our lives, we bought a gun, not only to ensure our safety against criminals, but to protect and defend our God-given rights as citizens. The most basic right of all mankind, the right to life itself, no longer exists in this country. Protecting our rights, the few the government has left us, is of the utmost importance to us and we will do everything necessary to hold onto those rights, regardless of the source of the threats against them. God bless America.

Emily from Pennsylvania writes:

I am 19 years old and I want to protect myself as soon as I am legal to. As a young female living in Allentown, PA, I don't like walking in the city because I'm afraid of something happening to me. I believe in the power of the Constitution and especially my second amendment rights. I am a strong conservative who believes that the Constitution is our guiding power and not the cronyism that seems to blanket DC. The founding fathers knew what they were doing. As soon as I am legal, I want to take gun safety classes and purchase a handgun of my very own. I like to think that I can protect my own life as well as another person whose life may be in danger. Gun control doesn't solve anything. Criminals will get guns no matter what. I want to be able to protect myself as well as someone else. Please don't take away my second amendment rights.

Well said, Emily.

William from Connecticut submitted the following statement:

On Tuesday, February 11, 2003, my brother was confronted by three armed thugs in a parking lot. Out of their stolen car, with a stolen shotgun, they tried to rob him. Much to their surprise, my brother had his legally owned pistol (with a legal carry permit). He thwarted this and saved his own life and held them at bay until the police arrived. Without this second amendment he would've been another victim to the growing street crime that these bills do not address.

These are the rights we are trying to protect by requiring a 60-vote threshold on any new gun control legislation. In so doing, we are trying to prevent the ability of Members to push through legislation before anyone has had time to read and evaluate the language and then tell the American people what that language means for them, what the language would mean for their rights. Unfortunately, this is exactly what we are faced with today.

Yesterday Senators Toomey and Manchin announced a new proposal that is widely expected to replace the current language on the background checks in this bill. Yet, as of this morning, this very moment, not a single Senator has been provided the legislative text of this provision. Because the background check measure is the centerpiece of this legislation, it is critical that we all know what is in the bill before we vote on it.

As I have argued on this floor, in the national media, and back home in my home State of Utah, we should not be legislating by negotiating closed-door, backroom deals away from the eyes of the American people. We should not be voting before we read and understand exactly how these proposals will affect the rights of law-abiding citizens and whether we can say with any level of certainty they will reduce crime. This is exactly why we need more debate and why I ask my colleagues to vote no on cloture--so Senators and the American people may fully understand the consequences of this legislation.

To be clear, the vote we will have this morning will be to end debate on whether the Senate should take up a bill, the very heart of which is being concealed from the Senate and concealed from the American people as of this very moment. Proponents say the people deserve a vote. Don't they deserve to know what they are voting on? I think they do.


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