tv Sen. Schumer Speaker Pelosi Background Checks News Conference CSPAN September 10, 2019 1:21am-1:56am EDT
committee needs to discuss a number of gun violence prevention bills. senate majority leader chuck schumer and house speaker pelosi held a briefing on gun violence. they urged senate majority leader mitch mcconnell to bring up a house-passed background check bill. this briefing is just over a [indiscernible conversation] half hour. >> here we go. senator schumer: welcome. hi. great. ok, let's get started. i'm very proud to be joined by, of course, my friend and
colleague, speaker pelosi, mayor nan whaley from dayton. good to have you here. and i want to thank my colleagues senators brown and stabenow and representative escobar from el paso, texas and representative thompson, for which shares a gun violence convention task force. we are here today for one simple reason, too many americans are losing their lives to gun violence. too many families are just weeping because they have lost loved ones. i was at the airport today. a gentleman came over to me and i didn't know who he was. he said, thank you for what you are doing. i lost my nephew to gun violence last year. americans are suffering from the abundance of gun violence in america. last month, mass shootings claimed 51 lives in el paso, dayton and odessa, to say nothing of the hundreds of lives lost my daily gun violence
throughout america had enough is enough. congress is returning to session. our first order of business in the senate should be to pass the house-passed legislation background checks act, h.r. 8. the legislation is the quickest way to make a law that will save american lives in terms of what is effective, and can pass, it is at the acme of that. it is right at the intersection of what is really effective and what can pass. from a policy perspective, we must close the loophole in our background checks system to make our other gun safety laws effective. loopholes. i was in the house author of the brady law. you didn't know about online, so we didn't prohibit that. and gun shows in those days were to show off antique guns and these loopholes now account for 40% of gun sales and the people who want to get around the background check, who are felons, spousal abusers, or adjudicated mentally ill. they go online or to gun shows.
you can pass a strong red flag law, but it would be largely ineffective with gaping loopholes in our background checks, because you would be red flagged, and then you could go online and get a gun. so background checks are the base from which we must do everything. in our view, it is paramount to pass the house bill as part of any gun safety package, because it would seal off the most egregious loopholes that allow criminals, the adjudicated mentally ill, spousal abusers, to get guns. two people in washington can make sure the background checks bill passes -- donald trump and mitch mcconnell. it is totally up to them. totally up to them. and it is on their shoulders. they can't escape that responsibility.
leader mcconnell, as you all know, determines the senate's business. when he refused to bring the senate back into session after each of the three shootings, he might have been hoping that the issue would fizzle out before we returned. that hasn't happened and won't happen, unfortunately, because mass shootings are occurring virtually all the time. the issue of gun safety is going to be front and center until we do something meaningful. the question now is whether leader mcconnell will allow the senate to consider the house-passed background checks bill on the senate floor. that is the number one question looming over this capitol as we return. for now leader mcconnell says it's up to president trump. if the president took up a position, he said, i would be happy to put it on the floor. that might seem like an attempt to pass the blame around. but truly, it means president trump is a historic opportunity -- that president trump has a historic opportunity to save lives by indicating his support for the house-passed bill.
speaker pelosi and i have repeatedly and personally asked him to do this. you can lead his party to support something that the n.r.a. has prevented americans from supporting for years. that is why speaker pelosi and i sent a letter to him today urging him to give his party political cover to pass meaningful background check legislation. we have a message for president trump now. president trump, this bill is common sense. it is overwhelmingly supported by democrats, republicans, gun owners, and those who don't own guns, and it will save many, many, many american lives. president trump, if you announce your support, we can get something incredible done for the american people. the time to act is now. speaker pelosi. rep. pelosi: thank you very much, leader schumer, for bringing us together here this
afternoon, stating that our first order of business is to save lives by passing, hopefully in the senate, the bill that passed in the house for gun violence prevention. i want to remind everyone that mr. schumer was a leader in the house when this legislation was passed in the 1990's. the rest of us were his lieutenants who ran around trying to get votes, but he took the lead on passing very progressive legislation at that time. thats he indicated, since time, there have been ways to evade some of the background checks, some predictable and some not. the online sales are a new phenomenon. so this is just to be clear simple bill, a bill, h.r. 8, so , a named because it was eight years from the time gabby giffords' town meeting was assaulted by gun violence. and people died.
this bill, under the leadership of mike thompson, the chair of our task force on gun violence prevention, put this bill together in a bipartisan way. he passed it and sent it to the senate as a companion bill to h.r. 1211, which modifies the timetable. but just think, it is very simple. online sales, person-to-person sales, which was how one of the most recent gun violence episodes took place, because somebody bought it from a person. person-to-person, online and gun shows. again, as was indicated, whose purpose was something quite different at the time. so this isn't radical. it is just an extension of what has been successful already. when we passed our bill and these incidents occurred during the break, i wrote to the
president and i asked him to call the senate back immediately to pass mr. thompson's bill, h.r. 8, and mr. clyburn's legislation. he was very positive about it. he said, i am going to talk to leader schumer and talk to leader mcconnell about getting something done. i had the impression that he understood that lives were at stake. my message to the president and to leader mcconnell is the following -- there isn't anyone in this institution or anywhere else in public life whose political survival is more important than the survival of our children and the safety of our communities. we are not taking no for an answer. we are not going away. leading up to this, the first day of our session coming back , after the district work period, i want to report how proud i am that across the country, hundreds of meetings were held. whether a town meeting, a press conference, whatever, to speak out to pass this legislation.
90% of the public at least supports it, including gun owners, members of the n.r.a. and the rest. so when they say that the president's base is opposed to it, 90 some percent of the american people support it, what courage does it take to support legislation that will save lives? so here we are once again, asking the grim reaper, informing the grim reaper that these bills are alive and well in the public, that the public opinion, public sentiment will weigh in. and as i have said in our meetings across the country, who we will make this issue too hot for him to handle. in fact, some of the gun violence prevention groups have upped the ante even further to say that if this bill is not , passed, mitch mcconnell and the republicans in the senate and the president will have hell
to pay. so let's save time. let's just get it done now. we have important reasons why. we know about the mass shootings. they have been just stunningly heartbreaking. but every single night and every single day across the country, gun violence occurs that this bill could prevent and lives could be saved. i was so moved other paper this morning, the "washington post" had an article about missy and little mo, her twin brother, 15 years old. they were so close in spirit. honor students in high school. he left to go buy some cereal or something. never came back. i wish you would read that story. i wish the president would read that story, to see how this hits home for so many of america's families. nobody can tell us a story better more recently about that
than our next presenter, really, our v.i.p. here today, senator brown calls her the best mayor in america. i don't know if i would spread that word throughout ohio, but that is what he just said. [laughter] y, let us welcome mayor whale mayor of dayton. thank you so much. ley: that afternoon. i am certainly grateful for leader schumer and speaker pelosi for inviting me here today. and it is always a pleasure to be with my mentor and good friend, senator sherrod brown, and other senators. no offense to the other senators, we believe he is the best senator from ohio. [laughter] sen. schumer: we believe he is the best senator from ohio. [laughter] you know, actually
while the senate and the house , are getting back to work, i wish i was back home in dayton. but we have come, mayors from across the country, to get one thing done, and that is to get an up-or-down vote on h.r. 8. that is the reason we are here. we're meeting with the white house and meeting with anyone who will listen to us about what this has done to our community. this morning, i got a note from monica brickhouse's mother who heard that i was coming here, and she sent me a text and had a very simple message -- go get 'em. that's how the victims feel about this work. -- that is how the victims' families feel about this work. that is how the victims who are still trying to gather large together feel about this work. they want us to do something. that is why i'm here today and tomorrow compelling the senate to have an up-or-down on what to act onown vote what the house passed in february. since february, gilroy, virginia beach, dayton, el paso, odessa and midland. just since february. what's going to happen next week or the week after if we could just pass a simple vote where 9 out of 10 americans agree on
it? i don't know anything else that 9 out of 10 americans agree on besides h.r. 8. so that's why we're here. i am here on behalf of the citizens of dayton who called us that night to do something. this is something that can be done, can be fast, and will save lives. i am so grateful to be here, and i hope to get back to dayton soon. thank you. senator schumer: senator brown. senator brown: you give a lot of coverage to a young midwestern mayor, recently, from indiana. and you should be paying attention to this one too, not to tell the media how to do its job, so -- [laughter] thank you. madam speaker, it's good to be with all my colleagues, mike, debbie, and congressman escobar. on sunday morning in early august, connie and i woke up in cleveland and checked our phones and saw what had happened in dayton. i called mayor whaley immdediately. she told me that she had already
heard from beverly early, your words, several dozen mayoral colleagues around the country. many of them had had shootings andheir cities, many of them were giving instructions and ideas and thoughts about what nan should do, mayor whaley should do as a result. that is the story too often in our country. connie and i then drove the three and half hours to go to dayton that day, spent the day in day in the with nan. you didn't see the victims' families that day, but three days later, i came back when the president of the united states landed air force one at wright-patterson air force base. mayor whaley and i greeted him, as did other elected officials -- senator portman and governor dewine and congressman turner at , at the bottom of the steps of air force one. nan and i looked at him in the eye and said, mr. president, please call the senate. please call senator mcconnell and ask him to bring the senate back.
please promise senator mcconnell that you will sign the bill. the house bill that was passed, that you will sign the bill this week. the president said he would do something. later that day, nan and i and others joined the president at the hospital as he met with families, with some people who were in their hospital beds, injured, some with very serious injuries. a number of people who came back that had a less serious injuries. we know that 40 gunshots were fired in those 31 seconds. after the president left the room, the president and all of us left the room, where the six dayton police officers were heralded as heroes, which they decidedly were heroes, 31 seconds from the first shot until they killed the shooter saving dozens more lives, after the president left that room, i said to the president, the most
-- he said, we are going to have the biggest honors ever and congressional medal ever, the biggest congressional medal ever for these heroes. i said mr. president, the most important way that you could honor them is to pass the legislation that the house has passed, and get this through, and help us pass it, and call senator mcconnell and do it this week. mayor whaley said the same thing s to the president. again, he said he was going to do something big. but we know after he came back to washington and met with the gun lobby, we know what happened. that night at a rally in dayton, vigil and rally, people began to shout, began to chant, do something. do something. do something. and this is our chance. this is our chance for the senate to do something this week . a chance for the country to do something. a chance for the president to pass commonsense gun legislation. it starts with background checks. other things we need to do in terms of commonsense legislation.
there is no reason we need to delay. we need to do something now. it is my pleasure to introduce congresswoman escobar, who i afar.atched from i only met her today, but i have seen her on tv. i have seen her in the space of only eight months play a significant national role in this debate and on immigration issues and other issues. my pleasure to present congresswoman escobar. rep. escobar: thank you. good afternoon. thank you all so much for being here. madam speaker and leadership mark, thank you for calling us together on this first day back from our in-district work period. representative thompson, thank you for h.r. 8 and the leadership you have shown. you know, i returned to el paso ready for a very productive and important district work period, where i intended to spend all of august meeting with my constituents about lowering the cost of prescription drugs, about health care, about immigration, about all the
things that my community has been talking about, and that we have been discussing at town hall meetings and at various community events. and instead of being able to do that, the first saturday back from washington in el paso, texas, as i was at a town hall meeting with my constituents, i learned that there was an active shooter at walmart. the three weeks that followed that were three weeks of funerals, sitting by people's bedside, praying with families, talking to constituents who are scared, and who don't understand why this had to happen. and what i kept hearing over and over and over again from el pasoans was, why.
why did this happen? why haven't you done something to stop this? why hasn't the senate majority leader felt our pain? i have had constituents ask me, what it is going to take for mitch mcconnell to see the blood that we saw spilled in our community, and to feel the torturous pain that we have felt as we have tried to recover from something that has deeply traumatized a beautiful, vibrant, magical community. and it is a very difficult question to answer, because , truly, as the speaker mentioned, when the vast majority of americans agree on something, and it doesn't take tremendous courage to take action on what people are demanding of us, we have to wonder why. what is stopping action from happening? how many more lives have to be taken in my state?
days after el paso, when we got the notice that someone who failed a background check, and who purchased a gun through a loophole that could have been closed with h.r. 8, that there was more blood on the streets in texas. more blood in the hands of those who choose not to take action. we have to do something. and the american people are demanding that of us. and we deserve to take that action. you know, i have heard people tell me while h.r. 8 could have prevented odessa, it would not have prevented el paso. h.r. 8 is the beginning of what americans want from their congress. it is the beginning of what they want from their government. and perhaps that is why mr.
mcconnell is so afraid, because it is the beginning of what the american people want over the long-term. they want change. they want a country that is safe. they want communities where they can walk without fear of assault weapons or people who should not have access to guns. we are going to be unrelenting. we are not going to stop until we deliver the safety that this country deserves and until people in my community know that their government works for them, and not the special interest groups. i wen to say very quickly and in spanish. >> [speaking in spanish]
thank you. sen. schumer: senator stabenow. sen. stabenow: thank you so much for your passion, congresswoman, mayor, thank. you for standing with us. it is an honor to stand with all of my colleagues. i don't think there has been a more important moment for us to be extending together and pushing forward. the past week, my grandson started second grade in michigan. my daughter shared with me that as he was going to school, they were watching the front door to be rebuilts. glass beingoof put on the doors, restructuring
how the children would be able to walk to get to their classroom. what we wanted to be talking about was adding new opportunities with teachers and technology, and art, and music, and all the wonderful things that this very good school wants to provide. but that is where they are spending their money right now, because that is where they have to spend their money. whether it is a school, a store, a movie house, whether it is a child sitting in front of the tv and gets shot through the window by a random bullet, this has got to stop. this gun violence has to stop. tomorrow, our democratic policy and communications committee is releasing a report that shows that 100 americans are killed by guns every single day. 100. since the house-passed the bipartisan background checks will, we had 19,400 people
killed by firearms. 11,834 gun suicides. that have beenn killed by firearms. the american people expect us to do our job. the house did their job. the senate needs to do its job and take action to make people's lives better and safer. unfortunately, this is not happening and american families are, paying the price every single day. it,days ago, think about 194 days ago and counting, the house-passed h.r. 8. 194 days ago. just sits with mitch mcconnell at his desk, gathering dust. and we know that it is the leader, republican leader and
republican president, who can do something about it. other,nt fingers at each but actually take action to do something about it. this isn't the on the issue, certainly, that they are holding up. but it is clear that we need action now. so while mitch mcconnell and republicans are waiting for approval from big-money special interests, americans are dying. it is time to act. mitch mcconnell, what are you waiting for? thompson, we thank you for your leadership. thompson: thank you come speaker pelosi and reid are schumer for calling this event together. i am proud to stand with my colleagues here today on behalf of all americans who know it is important that we pass h.r.
8 and expand by projects. too many people are being killed. 30 people everyday are killed by someone using a gun, and as you factor suicides and accidents, it is 100 people a day. there are so many mass shootings, you lose track of the numbers. the press has stopped reporting on all the mass shootings that we have. it is an epidemic that we are facing in this country, and background checks will help. we know it will. every day, or grant checks that are currently under the law -- background checks currently under the law stop 170 performance from buying a gun. they stop 50 domestic abusers every day from buying a gun. heard, thoseve same prohibited individuals can walk out of a gun store and walk down the street to a computer store, go online and buy the same gun. they can walk across the street to a gun show and by the same
gun,. it is a problem. and it is a problem we can 8 --y fix bypassing h.r. h.r. 8.assing our constituents are asking for help. i can't tell you over the district work period, how many students came up to me and said, will our school be next? how many parents and grandparents and children said, when are you going to do something? it is our schools -- is our school,, our community going to be next? no one is exempt. the safest communities in the world are falling victim to these problem's. already, with out school beginning, kids should be excited about going to school, excited about learning. parents should be excited about buying new clothes for their kids and school supplies.
the number one item to purchase for your back-to-school kids should not a bullet proof backpack. it is absolutely insane. senator mcconnell can do something about it. he can bring this will to the floor, he can pass this bill, the president can sign it and we can save lives,. that the only place in the united states of america, where universal background checks is a partisan issue is in the congress of the united states of america. over 90% of the american people want this passed. mitch mcconnell, do your job. sen. schumer: thank you for your leadership on this issue, congressman. we are going to take just a few questions on this subject only. reporter: [indiscernible]
reporter: it has been more than once this has happened. why has that not been enough? i know everybody is just getting back into town today. ?hy has that not been enough sen. schumer: it keeps growing because there is more gun violence. look at the incidents that occurred while we were away. it is getting hotter and hotter and hotter. to hold uppreparing spending bills? sen. schumer: our first job is to get leader mcconnell to put this on the floor. that is where our focus is right now. we will keep pushing him to get this on the floor. yes. reporter: gun legislation has languished for two decades on capitol hill. what makes you confident and hopeful now? sen. schumer: it is a different era. never have we had 93% of american people for background checks, 80% of gun owners for background checks, so many people in the n.r.a. for
background checks. last one. nowrter: have a clear idea of the white house -- sen. schumer: i have spoken to him a few times in the last month and he is all over the lot. he tells people that after an incident -- i am going to get the strongest bill ever. then he stays back from that. but the pressure is not going away, and i think the reason that this issue is out front today not, just a month ago not just when we left, because the pressure is mounting, and people know that voters not just democratic voters or urban voters but all voters throughout america want this well done. that -- want to this bill done. would you like to say something, speaker? speaker for lucy: when the first mass shooting occurred, i sent him a letter asking him to call congress back. at the time he was very enthusiastic, he said he would
speak to leader schumer, chock, and the leader mcconnell. almost enthusiastically embracing the idea. but what i am afraid it may have the issueay to defang for a moment. because we haven't seen any evidence of good intentions since then. but since then, we have had meetings across the country, we have heard from the victims. ' families. we have heard from health-care professionals about the trauma and what this means for our children. for our children. we have heard from law enforcement. there was one letter, two pages of a list of law enforcement, chief of police from major communities across the country saying, asking for gun violence prevention legislation. so we can again, we are meeting
today and tomorrow. under the leadership of the task force that mr. thompson chairs. we will be having a hearing, very well participated in, excellent witnesses. i hope you will cover it. y isor will --mayor whale here. every town will be having an event with some of the mayors. a beat goes on. we want a vote on a clean bill to get this done. and we are not going to let the subject be changed or diminished in any way. , again, the president said positive things. . sen. schumer: when i talked to him right after the speaker, he said he wanted the strongest possible bill. that is what he said -- i want the strongest possible bill. and never, never, never, have we seen the breath of this issue he wide and the depth of this issue be so strong.
it is not going away. showered wanted to say something. sen. brown: president trump told the mayor and me that he would push for a strong bill. why is this different? because republican senator after republican senator in states like maine and north carolina , colorado, senators who are fearful of what will happen in their reelection fight out campaigning in august and they are hearing from voter after voter after voter, you got to do something. they in turn will be talking to mcconnell. mcconnell is going to feel the pressure not just from all of us, not just the 93% that congressman thompson talks about, he will hear it from his members, because they are .earing it from the 93% reporter: does this opposition to background checks have to do with people being -- [indiscernible] >> thank you. sen. schumer: thank you.
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