Mr. President, I come to the floor today to call attention to the tragedies that have been caused by gun violence across our country, including the most recent attack that left at least 26 dead after a lone gunman opened fire in a church in Texas on Sunday. I join my colleagues in mourning for the victims. All of us are affected by what happened in Texas. At the same time, we remember that these heartbreaking events came just 35 days after the deadliest mass shooting in our nation's history when 58 were killed and hundreds were wounded in Las Vegas las month. But as we look ahead, we cannot escape the fact that we can must do more to keep our communities safer. And while no one policy will prevent every tragedy, we need to come together on commonsense proposals that would save lives. And I appreciate the words of my colleagues about mental illness and funding for mental illness. I think that is very, very important. I come from Minnesota, where Paul Wellstone was one of the leaders in making sure that mental illnesses got covered by insurance, and I think we need to do that and more. 

Another area where we have found some consensus in this chamber is on improving background checks. My colleague, Senator Manchin and Senator Toomey, have made that clear, and I supported their background check legislation in 2013. But the fact remains that we didn't pass that bill in the Senate. We fell short, and it was a disheartening day. I remember having the parents of some of the Sandy Hook victims in my office that morning. And yet what happened that day, you have to contrast it with where the American people are. 

Consistently, we have seen, whether it's with public opinion polls or whether it's just when you talk to people that you meet when you're at home, that Americans from across the political spectrum support commonsense proposals to require background checks, such as requiring background checks at gun shows. And they support that by wide margins.

And by the way, I look at this in a state that has a lot households that has guns. We are a proud hunting state. I always think of my Uncle Dick and how he used to love hunting and sitting in his deer stand, and I think, does this hurt my Uncle Dick and his deer stand? And I don't think that Manchin-Toomey bill would in any way. When I look at these things I have to evaluate them that way because I know how many proud and law-abiding gun owners we have in our state. I don't see how closing this loophole would hurt that hunting tradition in any way. When I talk to law enforcement around Minnesota, they stress the importance of having effective background checks to stop felons, doemestic abusers, and people who are prohibited from having easy access to guns from havin gthat access. And if you remember, part of the Manchin-Toomey proposal was to do more on sharing data and getting the data out there. These efforts should not and do not have to infringe on Americans' right to own guns. 

Another sensible measure that came out of the tragedy in Las Vegas that we should take action on is Senator Feinstein's legislation to close the loophole that allows bump stock devices to convert semiautomatic firearms into weapons that work like fully automatic guns. Law enforcement recovered 12 of these devices from the hotel room of the shooter in Las Vegas last month. I hope that we can find some common ground. Some of our colleagues across the aisle have voiced some interest in this, and I hope we can do something when we know that would have been helpful in that shooting.

Another area where we can find common ground is on taking action to protect those who are at the risk of gun violence from domestic abusers. We are reminded of how important this is again as the reports have revealed that the gunman in the Texas shooting had a history of domestic violence, having been court-martialed for assaulting his wife and child in 2012. He was sentenced to 12 months of confinement and received a bad conduct discharge from the Air Force. There are also reports of ex-girlfirends and others that reported similar conduct.

And I'm sure the facts will be unviled, but what I do know, regardless of the what the facts show right now here, is that this connection between domestic violence and stalking and those kinds of activities and some kind of homicidal behavior is something that has been well-established. 

 ACCORDING TO RECENT RESEARCH, MORE THAN HALF OF MASS SHOOTINGS BETWEEN 2009 AND 2016 -- THAT'S 54% -- INVOLVED SOME KIND OF DOMESTIC OR FAMILY VIOLENCE. BEFORE I CAME TO THE SENATE, I SPENT EIGHT YEARS AS THE TOP PROSECUTOR FOR MINNESOTA'S LARGEST COUNTY, SO I HAVE SEEN THAT CONNECTION, AND I'VE SEEN THE CONNECTION BETWEEN A HISTORY OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE OR STALKING THAT LATER LEADS TO A MORE SERIOUS CRIME. THAT'S WHY ITS SO IMPORTANT THAT WE HAVE PROTECTION ORDERS, AND THAT'S WHY IT'S SO IMPORTANT, AS I LOOK AT THE RECORD OF THE SHOOTER, THAT THESE CASES BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY, SO YOU ACTUALLY GET THAT MISDEMEANOR CONVICTION ON THE RECORD, OR YOU ACTUALLY GET A FELONY CONVICTION OR DO YOU SOMETHING ABOUT THE STALKING BEHAVIOR WHEN IT IS REPORTED TO LAW ENFORCEMENT. AND WE WOULD HAVE CASES WHEN I WAS THE COUNTY ATTORNEY IN HEN PEN COUNTY WHEN WE WOULD SOMETIMES PURSUE IT WHEN A VICTIM REPORTED IT AND THE POLICE HAD GATHERED EVIDENCE, EVEN IF THE VICTIM LATER BACKED AWADE AND WAS AFRAID TO TESTIFY, BECAUSE WE KNEW IT HAD HAPPENED, WE HAD THE ORIGINAL TESTIMONY, WE HAD THE EVIDENCE AT THE SCENE BE, WE TRAINED THE POLICE ON GETTING THE EVIDENCE AT THE SCENE, SO THAT WE WERE ABLE TO ACTUALLY MAKE THOSE CASES. AND YOU THINK ABOUT IN THIS INSTANT MAKING THOSE CASES, NO MATTER HOW HARD IT CAN BE SOMETIMES WHEN YOU HAVE A SCARED VICTIM, IS REALLY, REALLY IMPORTANT. SO WHEN I WAS IN THE COUNTY ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, I MADE PROSECUTING FELONS IN POSSESSION OF FIREARMS ONE OF MY TOP PRIORITIES. THEY WEREN'T SUPPOSED TO HAVE GUNS, AND WHEN THEY DID HAVE GUNS, WE HAD TO TAKE IT SERIOUSLY. BUT I WILL TELL YOU THAT SOME OF THE MOST DISTURBING CASES THAT WE SAW INVOLVED PEOPLE WITH -- THAT DOCUMENTED HISTORY -- WITH THAT ULTIMATE DOD HISTORY OF HARASSMENT, OF STALKING, OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE BECAUSE YOU WOULD SEE IT BUILDING AND BUILDING AND BUILDING AND SOMETIMES IT WOULD BE AGAINST ONE VICTIM BUT OFTEN WE WOULD FIND OUT THAT THERE WERE OTHERS AND THAT IT WAS A PATTERN OF BEHAVIOR AND IN ONE HORRIBLE CASE WOULD ERUPT INTO HOMICIDAL VIOLENCE. THERE WAS ONE CASE THAT I HAD HEARD OF WHEREBY A WOMAN WAS SHOT TO DEATH BY -- WHERE A WOMAN WAS SHOT TO DEATHS BY HER BOYFRIEND. HE KILLED HER AND THEN KILLED HERSELF WHILE BOTH KIDS WERE STILL IN THE HOUSE. IT WAS ULTIMATELY HIS 12-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER WHO WENT TO THE NEIGHBORS FOR HELP. THE WORST PART OF THE STORY, IT WOULD HAVE BEEN PREVENTED. IN THE TWO YEARS LEADING UP TO THE MURDER-SUICIDE, THE POLICE HAD BEEN CALLED TO THE BOYFRIEND'S RESIDENCE AT LEAST FIVE TIMES TO RESOLVE DOMESTIC DISPUTES. YET SOMEHOW THE MAN WAS ABLE TO HAVE A GUN IN HIS HAND THE DAY HE KILLED HIS GIRLFRIENDS. I WISH I COULD SAY IT WAS A RARE TRAGEDY. BUT STUDIES HAVE SHOWN THAT MORE THAN THREE WOMEN A DAY LOSE THEIR LIVES AT THE HAND OF THEIR PARTNERS AND OVER HALF -- THAT'S AN AVERAGE -- AND OVER HALF OF THE WOMEN MURDERED BY INTIMATE PARTNERS IN THE COUNTRY ARE KILLED WITH GUNS. MANY TIMES THESE TRAGEDIES BEGIN WITH INCIDENTS OF STALKING. RESEARCH HAS SHOWN THAT ONE IN SIX WOMEN HAS EXPERIENCED STALKING SOMETIME DURING HIS LIFETIME AND THAT 76% OF WOMEN MURDERED BY INTIMATE PARTNERS WERE FIRST STALKED BY THEIR PARTNER. IT'S FOR THIS REASON THAT A NUMBER OF YEARS AGO I INTRODUCED A BILL CALLED THE PROTECTING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND STALKING VICTIMS ACT TO CLOSE SOME OF THESE LOOPHOLES IN OUR EXISTING LAWS. MY BILL WOULD MAKE SURE THAT THOSE WHO ARE CONVICTED OF STALKING MISDEMEANOR CRIMES ARE NOT ABLE TO BUY GUNS. IT WOULD ALSO EXPAND THE DEFINITION OF A DOMESTIC ABUSER TO INCLUDE DATING PARTNERS. THE SECOND PART WHEN WE HAD A HEARING ON THIS BILL AND THESE ISSUES IN THE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE, EVEN THE REPUBLICAN WITNESSES THAT WERE CALLED SUPPORTED THE DATING PARTNER IDEA BECAUSE SO MANY STATES HAVE STARTED TO DO THAT. I INTRODUCED THIS LEGISLATION THIS TIME -- IT HAS BEEN BIPARTISAN IN THE PAST, BUT THE REPUBLICAN SENATOR ON THE BILL IS NO LONGER IN THE SENATE, ALTHOUGH IT IS BIPARTISAN IN THE HOUSE. BUT THIS TIME I INTRODUCED IT WITH SENATOR HIRONO AND SENATOR FEINSTEIN, THE ONLY OTHER TWO WOMEN ON THE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE OF OVER 20 MEMBERS. CONGRESSWOMAN DEBBIE DINGELL FROM MICHIGAN IS LEADING THE SAME BILL IN THE HOUSE, AND HER BILL, AS I NOTED, IS BIPARTISAN. IN 2014 WE HAD A HEARING ON MY BILL, AND AS I SAID, EVEN THE REPUBLICAN WITNESSES AGREED THAT A MAJOR PORTION OF THE BILL WAS A GOOD IDEA. AT THAT HEARING, WE HEARD FROM SHERIFF CHRISTOPHER SMALING FROM WISCONSIN. HE TESTIFIED ABOUT THE CONNECTION BETWEEN STALKING AND GUNS BEING USED IN VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN. IN HIS TESTIMONY, HE TOLD THE STORY OF ONE WOMAN FROM WISCONSIN THAT HE SAID HAD CHANGED HIS CAREER. THIS WOMAN ENDURED THREE YEARS OF A VIOLENTLY ABUSIVE MARRIAGE BEFORE DIVORCING HER HUSBAND. SHE THEN TOOK OUT MULTIPLE RESTRAINING ORDERS AGAINST HIM OVER SEVERAL YEARS. THAT HORRIBLE DAY IN 2004 HE THREATENED HER WITH A HANDGUN, BEAT HER WITH A BASEBALL BAT, BOUND AND GAGGED HER, AND LEFT HER IN A STORAGE UNIT TO DIE. THROUGH WHAT HE DESCRIBED AS SOME GOOD BREAKS AND SOME GREAT LUCK, THE SHERIFF AND HIS PARTNER RESCUED TERRY BEFORE SHE DIED. AS A RESULT OF THE ORDEAL, SHE HAD A MISCARRIAGE AND HAD TO HAVE HER TOES SURGICALLY REMOVED. IN HIS TESTIMONY, THE SHERIFF TALKED ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF MY BILL'S PROVISION TO EXTEND THE PROTECTIONS IN CURRENT LAW TO INCLUDE DATING PARTNERS. SO THAT ABUSERS WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO BUY A GUN IF THEY ARE CONVICTED OF BEATING UP THEIR GIRLFRIEND OR BOYFRIEND REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THEY LIVED TOGETHER OR HAD A CHILD. AS THE SHERIFF SAID, DANGEROUS BOYFRIENDS CAN BE JUST AS SCARY AS DANGEROUS HUSBANDS. THEY HIT JUST AS HARD AND THEY FIRE THEIR GUNS WITH THE SAME DEADLY FORCE. THIS IS A SIMPLE POINT THAT YOU WOULD THINK WE COULD ALL AGREE ON. BUT SADLY, WE STILL HAVEN'T BEEN ABLE TO PASS THIS BILL. AND I'M GOING TO PUT IN THE RECORD THE WRITTEN TESTIMONY OF THE SHERIFF, MR. PRESIDENT. IF I COULD PUT THIS IN THE RECORD, THE WRITTEN TESTIMONY OF THE SHERIFF. Show Less Text

01:30:42

Amy Klobuchar

Amy Klobuchar

I ALSO NOTE THAT A JUSTICE FROM THE SUPREME COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA ALSO TESTIFIED THAT DAY, AND HE WAS A REPUBLICAN WITNESS. AND EVEN THOUGH HE DIDN'T AGREE WITH EVERYTHING IN THE BILL, HE ALSO SAID I ABSOLUTELY AGREE THAT WE SHOULD HAVE BOYFRIENDS, DATING PARTNERS AS A PART. WE HAVE IT IN PENNSYLVANIA, OKAY. IT'S IMPORTANT. THEY CAN, AS THE SHERIFF SAID, THEY CAN SHOOT AND THEY CAN BEAT UP PEOPLE JUST LIKE ANYBODY ELSE. AND THAT WAS ACTUALLY THE REPUBLICAN WITNESS AT THE HEARING. THAT'S WHY I'M HAPPY THAT IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, IT IS A BIPARTISAN BILL. BUT I'D LIKE TO SEE IT BE A BIPARTISAN BILL HERE IN THE SENATE. BUT WE DO HAVE AND HAVE HAD, AND MAYBE THEY WILL RECONSIDER THIS NOW JUST AS THE N.R.A. HAS SAID THAT THEY WERE LOOKING AT THE BUMP STOCK ISSUE, MAYBE THEY'D BE WILLING TO LOOK AT THIS ISSUE, BECAUSE THEY WROTE KIND OF A FAST MEMO ON THIS. IT'S ONLY A PAGE LONG. BACK WHEN WE HAD THE HEARING AND WE WERE GAINING SUPPORT FOR THE BILL. AND THE LETTER SAID THAT THE LEGISLATION -- AND REMEMBER, THIS IS VERY NARROW LEGISLATION FOCUSED ON MAKING SURE DATING PARTNERS ARE COVERED AND ALSO PEOPLE WHO ARE CONVICTED. NOT CHARGED. CONVICTED OF STALKING. SO WHAT THEY SAID ABOUT THE BILL WAS THAT -- LET ME GET THIS TO THE RIGHT POINT HERE. THEY SAID THAT THE LEGISLATION, QUOTE, MANIPULATES EMOTIONALLY COMPELLING ISSUES SUCH AS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND STALKING SIMPLY TO CAST AS WIDE A NET AS POSSIBLE. SO I WANT TO MAKE THIS VERY CLEAR THAT I'VE NEVER ADDRESSED THIS ON THE FLOOR BEFORE, BUT THIS WAS REALLY FOCUSED NARROWLY SO THAT WE COULD GAIN REPUBLICAN SUPPORT. I DIDN'T REALLY THINK THE N.R.A. WOULD SUPPORT IT, BUT I THOUGHT MAYBE THEY WOULD BE NEUTRAL. AND SURE ENOUGH THEIR WITNESSES AT THE HEARING SUPPORTED IT. WE'VE HAD REPUBLICAN SENATORS SUPPORT IT IN THE PAST. AND WE ALSO HAVE REPUBLICAN HOUSE MEMBERS SUPPORTING IT. AND SO TO GO AFTER THE BILL BY SAYING IT MANIPULATES EMOTIONALLY COMPELLING ISSUES, I WOULD AGREE THAT I'M SURE A LOT OF PEOPLE SHED TEARS WATCHING WHAT HAPPENED IN TEXAS. AND I'M SURE THEY SHED A LOT OF TEARS WHEN THEY HEAR THE STORIES OF PEOPLE IN THEIR OWN COMMUNITIES, OF VICTIMS, OF WOMEN THAT DIED AT THE HANDS OF A DOMESTIC ABUSER AFTER YEARS OF ABUSE. IF THEY WANT TO CALL THAT EMOTIONALLY COMPELLING AND MANIPULATIVE, THAT'S UP TO THEM. BUT I CALL IT THE TRUTH. THE OTHER THING THEY SAID ABOUT THIS BILL, AND THIS WAS EVEN MORE INTERESTING, IT'S THE PART ABOUT THE STALKING, WHICH IS A MAJOR PART OF THE LEGISLATION AS WELL. THAT PART OF THE BILL, AS I MENTIONED, JUST TAKES WHAT WE KNOW AS SUCH A SIGNAL FOR TROUBLE IN THE FUTURE AND VIOLENCE IN THE FUTURE. AND YOU ACTUALLY WOULD HAVE TO BE CONVICTED OF STALKING TO HAVE THE GUN PROTECTIONS APPLY. SO THE EXAMPLE THEY USE, THEY SAID IT DIDN'T MAKE ANY SENSE TO INCLUDE THIS, WAS THEY SAID IF TWO MEN OF EQUAL SIZE, STRENGTH AND ECONOMIC STATUS -- IT'S THE ONLY EXAMPLE THEY USE -- JOINED BY A CIVIL UNION OR MERELY ENGAGED OR FORMALLY ENGAGED IN AN INTIMATE SOCIAL RELATIONSHIP, COULD BE SUBJECT TO THIS PROHIBITION FOR CONVICTION OF SIMPLE ASSAULT RISING FROM A SINGLE SHOVING MATCH. SO THIS ACTUALLY, THIS PART APPLIES TO THE, TO THE DOMESTIC PARTNERS, WHICH I THINK THAT THEY ARE REALLY TAKING THIS IN A WAY THAT SURPRISED ME SINCE WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT ARE BOYFRIENDS AND GIRLFRIENDS AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE BUT THEY CHANGED IT INTO A SHOVING MATCH IN A BAR WITH PEOPLE THAT MIGHT HAVE SOME KIND OF SOCIAL RELATIONSHIP. BUT IT JUST SHOWS YOU THAT I JUST DON'T THINK THIS IS A VALID REASON FOR MY COLLEAGUES, MY REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES TO OPPOSE THIS BILL. AND I'M GOING TO KEEP BRINGING THIS UP BECAUSE IT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE TO ME. AND SO THEY ALSO SAY -- THEY END BY SAYING WHATEVER THE CASE MAY HAVE BEEN 30 YEARS AGO, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IS NOW TAKEN SERIOUSLY BY THE LEGAL AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM. SO THAT WAS THE REASON THEY GAVE FOR OPPOSING THE BILL. REALLY? BECAUSE LOOK AT WHAT WE JUST FOUND HAPPENED IN THE LAST WEEK WHEN THIS WAS NOT JUST A MINOR EXAMPLE OF DOMESTIC SEXUAL ASSAULT. IT WAS A FELONY, AND THE PERSON WAS COURT-MARTIALED. AND THE PERSON WAS PUT IN BASICALLY WAS DETAINED FOR A YEAR. AND SOMEHOW THIS WAS NOT TAKEN SERIOUSLY ENOUGH TO OUR ENTIRE SYSTEM TO SHOW UP ON A RECORD CHECK. OR HOW ABOUT ALL THE REPORTS THAT WERE MADE BY PREVIOUS GIRLFRIENDS AND OTHER PEOPLE ABOUT HIS BEHAVIOR, AND NOTHING SEEMED TO COME UP? AS I MENTIONED IN MANY CASES WE HAD IN OUR OFFICE, EVEN WHEN THE VICTIM GOT SCARED AND DECIDED SHE DIDN'T WANT TO PURSUE ANYTHING, WE FELT WE HAD AN OBLIGATION TO HER AND TO OTHER WOMEN THAT WE KNEW WOULD COME AHEAD TO PURSUE THOSE CASES. AND MANY TIMES WE DID THAT. IF THE POLICE HAD BEEN TRAINED AND THEY ARE ABLE TO GET THE EVIDENCE AT THE SCENE AND SOMETIMES THERE WERE CHILD WITNESSES AND OTHERS, AND WE WERE ABLE TO PURSUE THOSE CASES AND WIN THEM, AND WE DID. AND SO TO SAY THAT YOU DON'T WANT TO SUPPORT MY BILL BECAUSE YOU THINK THAT THE SYSTEM IS SO GREAT AND WORKING SO WELL, AND IT'S BEING TAKEN SERIOUSLY BY THE LEGAL AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEMS, AFTER YOU SAW WHAT JUST HAPPENED IN TEXAS, I DON'T THINK THAT'S TRUE. THIS MEMO WAS WRITTEN TWO YEARS AGO. AND SO I HOPE THAT THEY WILL LOOK AT THIS AGAIN AND CONSIDER SUPPORTING MY BILL. I WANT TO CONCLUDE MY REMARKS BY SHARING ANOTHER STORY ABOUT YET ANOTHER TRAGIC SHOOTING FROM MY STATE. AND THIS ONE I ACTUALLY HAVE GOTTEN TO KNOW THE WIDOW. IT'S THE WIDOW OF A POLICE OFFICER IN LAKE CITY, MINNESOTA. AND THIS WAS A CASE WHERE THE OFFICER WHO IS A WONDERFUL MAN, A SMALL-TOWN POLICE DEPARTMENT, RESPONDED TO A DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CALL FROM A 17-YEAR-OLD GIRL WHO WAS BEING ABUSED BY HER EX-BOYFRIEND. SO HE GOES TO THE SCENE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE WINTER, AND HE HAD A BULLET-PROOF VEST ON AND EVERYTHING BECAUSE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CASES CAN BE MUCH MORE DANGEROUS THAN PEOPLE THINK AND OFFICERS KNOW THIS. AND HE WAS SHOT IN THE HEAD AND HE WAS KILLED. THE 17-YEAR-OLD GIRL, SHE LIVED. AND SO THIS OFFICER LITERALLY GAVE HIS LIFE TO SAVE ANOTHER. SO THERE WAS A BIG FUNERAL AND THERE WAS LAW ENFORCEMENT PEOPLE THERE FROM ALL OVER OUR STATE. AND I'LL NEVER FORGET THAT FUNERAL BECAUSE I WAS SITTING THERE AT THE AISLE, AND THE -- I HAD LEARNED THAT THE LAST TIME THAT THAT OFFICER HAD BEEN IN THAT CHURCH WAS TO SEE HIS OWN KIDS, THE THREE YOUNG CHILDREN -- TWO BOYS AND A GIRL -- IN A NATIVITY PLAY. AND HE WAS SITTING RIGHT IN THAT FRONT ROW OF THAT SAME CHURCH, SO PROUD OF THEM AT CHRISTMAS. AND SHORTLY AFTER THAT HE WAS SHOT. BUT AT HIS FUNERAL THERE WERE THOSE THREE CHILDREN WALKING DOWN THE CHURCH AISLE, THE TWO YOUNG BOYS AND THE LITTLE GIRL IN A BLUE DRESS COVERED WITH STARS. I ALWAYS THINK ABOUT THAT LITTLE GIRL WITH THAT BLUE DRESS COVERED BY STARS. AND THIS WAS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE GONE BAD. IT WAS A POLICE OFFICER SHOWING UP AT THE SCENE. AND SO WHEN WE LOOK AT THESE CASES, YOU CAN LOOK AT THE NUMBERS, YOU CAN LOOK AT THE STORIES. YOU CAN LOOK AT WHAT'S GONE ON ON TV, AND YOU SEE THIS CONNECTION BETWEEN DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND STALKING AND THEN LATER EVEN MASS SHOOTINGS OR VIOLENCE AGAINST ONE PERSON WHICH HAPPENS MUCH MORE OFTEN. IT HAPPENS. IT'S NOT A COINCIDENCE. IT'S SOMETHING THAT HAS BEEN WELL DOCUMENTED. AS WE EXTEND OUR SYMPATHIES AND PRAYERS TO ALL THOSE WHO WERE AFFECTED BY THAT TRAGEDY IN TEXAS AND OF COURSE NOT TOO LONG AGO IN LAS VEGAS, AND SO MANY OTHER COMMUNITIES, AND ALL OF US THOSE OF COURSE WHO ARE VICTIMS OF THAT ACT OF TERROR IN NEW YORK, AND WE THINK OF ALL OF THEM. TBU THEN WE ALSO THINK WHAT CAN WE DO TO MAKE THIS BETTER? IN THIS CASE WHEN IT COMES TO DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND THE SPECIFIC ISSUE THAT I KNOW ABOUT FROM MY PAST JOB, WE CAN DO SOMETHING. SO LET'S PASS THIS BILL. THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I YIELD THE FLOOR. I SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

MR. PRESIDENT, I COME TO THE FLOOR TODAY TO CALLATTENTION TO THE TRAGEDIES THAT HAVE BEEN CAUSED BY GUN VIOLENCE ACROSS OUR COUNTRY, INCLUDING THE MOST RECENT ATTACK THAT LEFT AT LEAST 26 DEAD AFTER A LONEGUNMAN OPENED FIRE IN A CHURCH IN TEXAS ON SUNDAY. IJOIN MY COLLEAGUES IN MOURNING FOR THE VICTIMS. ALL OF US ARE AFFECTED BY WHAT HAPPENED IN TEXAS. AT THE SAMETIME, WE REMEMBER THAT THESE HEARTBREAKING EVENTS CAME JUST 35 DAYS AFTER THE DEADLIEST MASS SHOOTING INOUR NATION'S HISTORY WHEN 58 WERE KILLED AND HUNDREDSWERE WOUNDED IN LAS VEGAS LAST MONTH. BUT AS WE LOOK AHEAD, WE CANNOT ESCAPE THE FACT THAT WE CAN AND MUST DO MORE TO KEEP OUR COMMUNITIES SAFER. AND WHILE NO ONE POLICY WILL PREVENT EVERY TRAGEDY, WE NEED TO COMETOGETHER ON COMMONSENSE PROPOSALS THAT WOULD SAVELIVES. AND I APPRECIATE THE WORDS OF MY COLLEAGUESABOUT MENTAL ILLNESS AND FUNDING FOR MENTAL ILLNESS. I THINK THAT IS VERY, VERY IMPORTANT. I COME FROMMINNESOTA WHERE PAUL WELLSTONE WAS ONE OF THE LEADERS IN MAKING SURE THAT MENTAL ILLNESSES GOT COVERED BY INSURANCE, AND I THINK WE NEED TO DO THAT AND MORE. ANOTHER AREA WHERE WE HAVE FOUND SOMECONSENSUS IN THIS CHAMBER IS ON IMPROVING BACKGROUNDCHECKS. MY COLLEAGUE, SENATOR MANCHIN, AND SENATOR TOOMEY, HAVE MADE THAT CLEAR AND I SUPPORTED THEIRBACKGROUND CHECK LEGISLATION IN 2013. BUT THE FACTREMAINS THAT WE DIDN'T PASS THAT BILL IN THE SENATE. WE FELL SHORT, AND IT WAS DISHEARTENING DAY. I REMEMBERHAVING THE PARENTS OF SOME OF THE SANDY HOOK VICTIMS IN MY OFFICE THAT MORNING, AND YET WHAT HAPPENED THAT DAY, YOU HAVE TO CONTRAST IT WITH WHERE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE. CONSISTENTLY, WE HAVE SEEN, WHETHER IT'S WITH PUBLIC OPINION POLLS OR WHETHER IT'S JUST WHEN YOU TALKTO PEOPLE THAT YOU MEET WHEN YOU'RE AT HOME, THAT AMERICANS FROM ACROSS THE POLITICAL SPECTRUM SUPPORT COMMONSENSE PROPOSALS TO REQUIRE BACKGROUNDCHECKS SUCH AS REQUIRING BACKGROUND CHECKS AT GUNSHOWS, AND THEY SUPPORT THAT BY WIDE MARGINS. AND,ABOUT THE WAY, I LOOK -- AND, BY THE WAY, I LOOK AT THIS IN A STATE THAT HAS A LOT OF HOUSEHOLDS THAT HAS GUNS. WEARE A PROUD HUNTING STATE. I ALWAYS THINK OF MY UNCLE DICK AND HOW HE USED TO LOVE HUNTING AND SITTING IN HIS DEER STAND AND I THINK, DOES THIS HEART MY UNCLE -- DOESTHIS HURT MY UNCLE DICK AND HIS DEER STAND? AND I DON'T THINK THAT MANCHIN-TOOMEY BILL WOULD IN ANY WAY. WHENI LOOK AT THESE THINGS I HAVE TO EVALUATE THEM THAT WAYBECAUSE I KNOW HOW MANY PROUD AND LAW-ABIDING GUN OWNERS WE HAVE IN OUR STATE. I DON'T SEE HOW CLOSINGTHIS LOOPHOLE WOULD HURT THAT HUNTING TRADITION IN ANY WAY. WHEN I TALK TO LAW ENFORCEMENT AROUND MINNESOTA, THEY STRESS THE IMPORTANCE OF HAVING EFFECTIVE BACKGROUND CHECKS TO STOP FELONS, DOMESTIC ABUSERS, AND PEOPLE WHO ARE PROHIBITED FROM HAVING EASY ACCESS TO GUNS FROM HAVING THAT ACCESS, AND IF YOU REMEMBER PART OF THE MANCHIN-TOOMEY PROPOSALWAS TO DO MORE ON SHARING DATA AND GETTING THE DATA OUT THERE. THESE EFFORTS SHOULD NOT AND DO NOT HAVE TO INFRINGE ON AMERICANS' RIGHT TO OWN GUNS. ANOTHER SENSIBLE MEASURE THAT CAME OUT OF THE TRAGEDY IN LAS VEGAS THAT WE SHOULD TAKE ACTION ON IS SENATORFEINSTEIN'S LEGISLATION TO CLOSE THE LOOPHOLE THAT ALLOWS BUMP STOCK DEVICES TO CONVERT SEMIAUTOMATIC FIREARMS INTO WEAPONS THAT WORK LIKE FULLY AUTOMATICGUNS. LAW ENFORCEMENT RECOVERED 12 OF THESE DEVICESFROM THE HOTEL ROOM OF THE SHOOTER IN LAS VEGAS LAST MONTH. THE I HOPE THAT WE CAN FIND SOME COMMONGROUND. SOME OF OUR COLLEAGUES ACROSS THE AISLE HAVE VOICED SOME INTEREST IN THIS, AND I HOPE WE CAN DO SOMETHING. WHEN WE KNOW THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN HELPFUL IN THAT SHOOTING. ANOTHER AER WHERE WE CANFIND COMMON GROUND IS ON TAKING ACTION TO PROTECT THOSE WHO ARE AT THE RISK OF GUN VIOLENCE FROM DOMESTIC ABUSERS. WE ARE REMINDED OF HOW IMPORTANT THIS IS AGAIN THIS WE, AS THE REPORTS HAVE REVEALED THATTHE GUNMAN IN THE TEXAS SHOOTING HAD A HISTORY OF COME TO STUCK VIOLENCE, HAVING BEEN COURT-MARTIALEDFOR ASSAULTING HIS WIFE AND CHILD IN 2012. HE WASSENTENCED TO 12 MONTHS OF CONFINEMENT AND RECEIVED ABAD CONDUCT DISCHARGE FROM THE AIR FORCE. THERE AREALSO REPORTS OF EX-GIRLFRIENDS AND OTHERS THAT REPORTED SIMILAR CONDUCT. AND I'M SURE THE FACTS WILL BE UNVEILED, BUT WHAT I DO KNOW, REGARDLESS OF WHAT THE FACTS SHOW RIGHT NOW HERE, IS THAT THIS CONNECTIONBETWEEN DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND STALKING AND THOSE KINDS OF ACTIVITIES AND SOME KIND OF HOMICIDAL BEHAVIOR IS SOMETHING THAT HAS BEEN WELL-ESTABLISHED. ACCORDING TO RECENT RESEARCH, MORE THAN HALF OF MASS SHOOTINGSBETWEEN 2009 AND 2016 -- THAT'S 54% -- INVOLVED SOME KINDOF DOMESTIC OR FAMILY VIOLENCE. BEFORE I CAME TO THE SENATE, I SPENT EIGHT YEARS AS THE TOP PROSECUTOR FORMINNESOTA'S LARGEST COUNTY, SO I HAVE SEEN THAT CONNECTION, AND I'VE SEEN THE CONNECTION BETWEEN A HISTORY OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE OR STALKING THAT LATER LEADS TO A MORE SERIOUS CRIME. THAT'S WHY ITS SO IMPORTANT THAT WE HAVE PROTECTION ORDERS, AND THAT'S WHY IT'S SO IMPORTANT, AS I LOOK AT THE RECORD OF THE SHOOTER, THAT THESE CASES BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY, SO YOU ACTUALLY GET THAT MISDEMEANOR CONVICTION ON THE RECORD, OR YOU ACTUALLY GET A FELONY CONVICTION OR DO YOU SOMETHING ABOUT THE STALKING BEHAVIOR WHEN IT IS REPORTED TO LAW ENFORCEMENT. AND WE WOULD HAVE CASES WHEN I WAS THE COUNTY ATTORNEY IN HEN PEN COUNTY WHEN WE WOULD SOMETIMES PURSUE IT WHEN A VICTIM REPORTED IT AND THE POLICE HAD GATHERED EVIDENCE, EVEN IF THE VICTIM LATER BACKED AWADE AND WASAFRAID TO TESTIFY, BECAUSE WE KNEW IT HAD HAPPENED, WE HAD THE ORIGINAL TESTIMONY, WE HAD THE EVIDENCE AT THESCENE BE, WE TRAINED THE POLICE ON GETTING THE EVIDENCE AT THE SCENE, SO THAT WE WERE ABLE TO ACTUALLY MAKETHOSE CASES. AND YOU THINK ABOUT IN THIS INSTANT MAKING THOSE CASES, NO MATTER HOW HARD IT CAN BE SOMETIMESWHEN YOU HAVE A SCARED VICTIM, IS REALLY, REALLYIMPORTANT. SO WHEN I WAS IN THE COUNTY ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, I MADE PROSECUTING FELONS IN POSSESSION OFFIREARMS ONE OF MY TOP PRIORITIES. THEY WEREN'T SUPPOSED TO HAVE GUNS, AND WHEN THEY DID HAVE GUNS, WE HAD TO TAKE IT SERIOUSLY. BUT I WILL TELL YOU THAT SOMEOF THE MOST DISTURBING CASES THAT WE SAW INVOLVEDPEOPLE WITH -- THAT DOCUMENTED HISTORY -- WITH THAT ULTIMATE DOD HISTORY OF HARASSMENT, OF STALKING, OFDOMESTIC VIOLENCE BECAUSE YOU WOULD SEE IT BUILDING AND BUILDING AND BUILDING AND SOMETIMES IT WOULD BEAGAINST ONE VICTIM BUT OFTEN WE WOULD FIND OUT THAT THERE WERE OTHERS AND THAT IT WAS A PATTERN OFBEHAVIOR AND IN ONE HORRIBLE CASE WOULD ERUPT INTO HOMICIDAL VIOLENCE. THERE WAS ONE CASE THAT I HAD HEARDOF WHEREBY A WOMAN WAS SHOT TO DEATH BY -- WHERE A WOMAN WAS SHOT TO DEATHS BY HER BOYFRIEND. HE KILLED HER AND THEN KILLED HERSELF WHILE BOTH KIDS WERE STILL IN THE HOUSE. IT WAS ULTIMATELY HIS 12-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTERWHO WENT TO THE NEIGHBORS FOR HELP. THE WORST PART OF THE STORY, IT WOULD HAVE BEEN PREVENTED. IN THE TWOYEARS LEADING UP TO THE MURDER-SUICIDE, THE POLICE HAD BEEN CALLED TO THE BOYFRIEND'S RESIDENCE AT LEAST FIVETIMES TO RESOLVE DOMESTIC DISPUTES. YET SOMEHOW THE MAN WAS ABLE TO HAVE A GUN IN HIS HAND THE DAY HE KILLED HIS GIRLFRIENDS. I WISH I COULD SAY IT WAS A RARE TRAGEDY.BUT STUDIES HAVE SHOWN THAT MORE THAN THREE WOMEN A DAY LOSE THEIR LIVES AT THE HAND OF THEIR PARTNERS AND OVER HALF -- THAT'S AN AVERAGE -- AND OVER HALF OF THEWOMEN MURDERED BY INTIMATE PARTNERS IN THE COUNTRY ARE KILLED WITH GUNS. MANY TIMES THESE TRAGEDIES BEGINWITH INCIDENTS OF STALKING. RESEARCH HAS SHOWN THATONE IN SIX WOMEN HAS EXPERIENCED STALKING SOMETIME DURING HIS LIFETIME AND THAT 76% OF WOMEN MURDERED BYINTIMATE PARTNERS WERE FIRST STALKED BY THEIR PARTNER. IT'S FOR THIS REASON THAT A NUMBER OF YEARS AGO IINTRODUCED A BILL CALLED THE PROTECTING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND STALKING VICTIMS ACT TO CLOSE SOME OF THESE LOOPHOLES IN OUR EXISTING LAWS. MY BILL WOULD MAKE SURE THAT THOSE WHO ARE CONVICTED OF STALKING MISDEMEANOR CRIMES ARE NOT ABLE TO BUY GUNS. IT WOULD ALSO EXPAND THE DEFINITION OF A DOMESTIC ABUSER TO INCLUDE DATING PARTNERS. THE SECOND PART WHEN WE HADA HEARING ON THIS BILL AND THESE ISSUES IN THE JUDICIARYCOMMITTEE, EVEN THE REPUBLICAN WITNESSES THAT WERECALLED SUPPORTED THE DATING PARTNER IDEA BECAUSE SO MANY STATES HAVE STARTED TO DO THAT. I INTRODUCED THIS LEGISLATION THIS TIME -- IT HAS BEEN BIPARTISAN IN THE PAST,BUT THE REPUBLICAN SENATOR ON THE BILL IS NO LONGER INTHE SENATE, ALTHOUGH IT IS BIPARTISAN IN THE HOUSE. BUT THIS TIME I INTRODUCED IT WITH SENATOR HIRONO ANDSENATOR FEINSTEIN, THE ONLY OTHER TWO WOMEN ON THEJUDICIARY COMMITTEE OF OVER 20 MEMBERS. CONGRESSWOMAN DEBBIE DINGELL FROM MICHIGAN IS LEADING THE SAME BILL IN THE HOUSE, AND HER BILL, AS INOTED, IS BIPARTISAN. IN 2014 WE HAD A HEARING ON MY BILL, AND AS I SAID, EVEN THE REPUBLICAN WITNESSES AGREED THAT A MAJOR PORTION OF THE BILL WAS A GOOD IDEA. AT THAT HEARING, WE HEARD FROM SHERIFF CHRISTOPHER SMALINGFROM WISCONSIN. HE TESTIFIED ABOUT THE CONNECTIONBETWEEN STALKING AND GUNS BEING USED IN VIOLENCEAGAINST WOMEN. IN HIS TESTIMONY, HE TOLD THE STORY OF ONE WOMAN FROM WISCONSIN THAT HE SAID HAD CHANGEDHIS CAREER. THIS WOMAN ENDURED THREE YEARS OF AVIOLENTLY ABUSIVE MARRIAGE BEFORE DIVORCING HERHUSBAND. SHE THEN TOOK OUT MULTIPLE RESTRAINING ORDERS AGAINST HIM OVER SEVERAL YEARS. THAT HORRIBLEDAY IN 2004 HE THREATENED HER WITH A HANDGUN, BEAT HERWITH A BASEBALL BAT, BOUND AND GAGGED HER, AND LEFT HER IN A STORAGE UNIT TO DIE. THROUGH WHAT HE DESCRIBED AS SOME GOOD BREAKS AND SOME GREAT LUCK, THE SHERIFFAND HIS PARTNER RESCUED TERRY BEFORE SHE DIED. AS A RESULT OF THE ORDEAL, SHE HAD A MISCARRIAGE AND HAD TOHAVE HER TOES SURGICALLY REMOVED. IN HIS TESTIMONY, THE SHERIFF TALKED ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF MY BILL'S PROVISION TO EXTEND THE PROTECTIONS IN CURRENT LAW TO INCLUDE DATING PARTNERS. SO THAT ABUSERS WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO BUY A GUN IF THEY ARE CONVICTED OF BEATING UPTHEIR GIRLFRIEND OR BOYFRIEND REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THEY LIVED TOGETHER OR HAD A CHILD. AS THE SHERIFF SAID, DANGEROUS BOYFRIENDS CAN BE JUST AS SCARY AS DANGEROUS HUSBANDS. THEY HIT JUST AS HARD AND THEYFIRE THEIR GUNS WITH THE SAME DEADLY FORCE. THIS IS ASIMPLE POINT THAT YOU WOULD THINK WE COULD ALL AGREE ON. BUT SADLY, WE STILL HAVEN'T BEEN ABLE TO PASS THIS BILL. AND I'M GOING TO PUT IN THE RECORD THE WRITTEN TESTIMONY OF THE SHERIFF, MR. PRESIDENT. IF I COULD PUT THIS IN THE RECORD, THE WRITTEN TESTIMONY OF THE SHERIFF.

 Show Less Text
01:30:42
Amy Klobuchar Amy Klobuchar

I ALSO NOTE THAT A JUSTICE FROM THE SUPREME COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA ALSO TESTIFIED THAT DAY, AND HE WAS AREPUBLICAN WITNESS. AND EVEN THOUGH HE DIDN'T AGREE WITH EVERYTHING IN THE BILL, HE ALSO SAID I ABSOLUTELYAGREE THAT WE SHOULD HAVE BOYFRIENDS, DATING PARTNERS AS A PART. WE HAVE IT IN PENNSYLVANIA, OKAY. IT'S IMPORTANT. THEY CAN, AS THE SHERIFF SAID, THEY CAN SHOOT AND THEYCAN BEAT UP PEOPLE JUST LIKE ANYBODY ELSE. AND THAT WAS ACTUALLY THE REPUBLICAN WITNESS AT THE HEARING. THAT'S WHY I'M HAPPY THAT IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, IT IS A BIPARTISAN BILL. BUT I'D LIKE TO SEE IT BE A BIPARTISAN BILLHERE IN THE SENATE. BUT WE DO HAVE AND HAVE HAD, AND MAYBE THEY WILL RECONSIDER THIS NOW JUST AS THE N.R.A.HAS SAID THAT THEY WERE LOOKING AT THE BUMP STOCK ISSUE, MAYBE THEY'D BE WILLING TO LOOK AT THIS ISSUE, BECAUSE THEY WROTE KIND OF A FAST MEMO ON THIS. IT'S ONLY A PAGE LONG. BACK WHEN WE HAD THE HEARING AND WE WERE GAINING SUPPORT FOR THE BILL. AND THE LETTER SAID THAT THE LEGISLATION -- AND REMEMBER, THIS IS VERY NARROW LEGISLATION FOCUSED ON MAKING SURE DATING PARTNERS ARE COVERED AND ALSO PEOPLE WHO ARECONVICTED. NOT CHARGED. CONVICTED OF STALKING. SO WHAT THEY SAID ABOUT THE BILL WAS THAT -- LET ME GET THIS TO THE RIGHT POINT HERE. THEY SAID THAT THE LEGISLATION,QUOTE, MANIPULATES EMOTIONALLY COMPELLING ISSUES SUCHAS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND STALKING SIMPLY TO CAST AS WIDE A NET AS POSSIBLE. SO I WANT TO MAKE THIS VERY CLEAR THAT I'VE NEVER ADDRESSED THIS ON THE FLOOR BEFORE, BUT THIS WAS REALLY FOCUSED NARROWLY SO THAT WE COULD GAIN REPUBLICAN SUPPORT. I DIDN'T REALLY THINK THE N.R.A. WOULD SUPPORT IT, BUT I THOUGHT MAYBE THEY WOULD BENEUTRAL. AND SURE ENOUGH THEIR WITNESSES AT THE HEARING SUPPORTED