Joseph Lieberman on Gun Control
Democratic Jr Senator (CT, retiring 2012), ran for V.P. with Gore, ran for president 2004
LIEBERMAN: I do not support that proposal. I have never supported such a proposal.
Q: But you were part of the ticket.
LIEBERMAN: Gore came out with that position before I came on to the ticket. The issue never really came up. Al Gore said to me when I got on the ticket, “Don’t change anything about yourself, that’s why I chose you.”
American citizens have a right to own firearms. It is no more unlimited than any other right that we have. The laws that we pass ought to concentrate on stopping criminals and children and others who shouldn’t have guns from getting them. Licensing, registration, in my opinion are bad ideas and violations of that fundamental right.
[We should prohibit] firearms in schools, scholastic settings, and places of worship. Saturday Night Specials do not belong in Sunday School classes or any other place where families are learning, playing or praying. Every community is entitled to at least a few sites of sanctuary, where they can honor their families and their God without fearing for their safety or their lives. But the reality is that at least 22 states permit gunowners to carry concealed weapons in places of worship, and many allow them at school events off campus.
On page 37, between lines 8 and 9, insert the following: "Allowing Amtrak Passengers to Securely Transport Firearms on Passenger Trains.--None of amounts made available in the reserve fund authorized under this section may be used to provide financial assistance for the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) unless Amtrak passengers are allowed to securely transport firearms in their checked baggage.
Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Sen. ROGER WICKER (R, MS). This amendment aims to ensure that gun owners and sportsmen are able to transport securely firearms aboard Amtrak trains in checked baggage, a practice that is done thousands of times a day at airports across the country. I emphasize that this amendment deals with checked, secured baggage only. It would return Amtrak to a pre-9/11 practice. It does not deal with carry-on baggage. Unlike the airline industry, Amtrak does not allow the transport of firearms in checked bags. This means that sportsmen who wish to use Amtrak trains for hunting trips cannot do so because they are not allowed to check safely a firearm.
Opponent's argument to vote No:Sen. FRANK LAUTENBERG (D, NJ): I object to this disruptive amendment offered by the Senator from Mississippi. He wants to enable the carrying of weapons, guns, in checked baggage. One doesn't have to be very much concerned about what we are doing when they look at the history of attacks on railroads in Spain and the UK and such places. This amendment has no place here interrupting the budgetary procedure. The pending amendment is not germane and, therefore, I raise a point of order that the amendment violates section 305(b)(2) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974.
Proponents support voting YES because:
Sen. VITTER: This is a straight funding limitation amendment. Many folks who haven't followed the proceedings on this in the U.N. may ask: What is this all about? Unfortunately, it is about an effort in the United Nations to bring gun control to various countries through that international organization. Unfortunately, that has been an ongoing effort which poses a real threat, back to 1995. In 2001, the UN General Assembly adopted a program of action designed to infringe on second amendment rights. The Vitter amendment simply says we are not going to support any international organization that requires a registration of US citizens' guns or taxes US citizens' guns. If other folks in this Chamber think that is not happening, that it is never going to happen, my reply is simple and straightforward: Great, then this language has no effect. It is no harm to pass it as a failsafe. It has no impact. But, in fact, related efforts have been going on in the U.N. since at least 1995. I hope this can get very wide, bipartisan support, and I urge all my colleagues to support this very fundamental, straightforward amendment.
No opponents spoke against the bill.
Make America the “Safest Big Country” in the World
After climbing relentlessly for three decades, crime rates started to fall in the 1990s. Nonetheless, the public remains deeply concerned about the prevalence of gun violence, especially among juveniles, and Americans still avoid public spaces like downtown retail areas, parks, and even sports facilities.
We need to keep policing “smart” and community-friendly, prohibiting unjust and counterproductive tactics such as racial profiling; focus on preventing as well as punishing crime; pay attention to what happens to inmates and their families after sentencing; use mandatory testing and treatment to break the cycle of drugs and crime; and enforce and strengthen laws against unsafe or illegal guns. Moreover, we need a renewed commitment to equal justice for all, and we must reject a false choice between justice and safety.
Technology can help in many areas: giving police more information on criminal suspects so they do not rely on slipshod, random stop-and-search methods; allowing lower-cost supervision of people on probation or parole; and making it possible to disable and/or trace guns used by unauthorized persons.
Above all, we need to remember that public safety is the ultimate goal of crime policy. Until Americans feel safe enough to walk their neighborhood streets, enjoy public spaces, and send their children to school without fear of violence, we have not achieved public safety.
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Retiring as of Jan. 2013:
Senate elections Nov. 2012:
CA:Feinstein(D) vs.Emken(R) vs.Taitz(R)
CT:Bysiewicz(R) vs.Murphy(R) vs.Shays(R)
FL:Nelson(D) vs.LeMieux(R) vs.Connie Mack(R)
IN:Lugar(R) vs.Mourdock(R) vs.Donnelly(D)
MD:Cardin(D) vs.Wargotz(R) vs.Capps(R)
MI:Stabenow(D) vs.Hekman(R) vs.Konetchy(R) vs.Hoekstra(R)
MN:Klobuchar(D) vs.Arwood(R) vs.Hernandez(R) vs.Severson(R)
MO:McCaskill(D) vs.Akin(R) vs.Steelman(R)
NJ:Menendez(D) vs.Diakos(R) vs.
NY:Gillibrand(D) vs.Noren(D) vs.Maragos(R)
OH:Brown(D) vs.Pryce(R) vs.Mandel(R) vs.
TX:Cruz(R) vs.Leppert(R) vs.
UT:Hatch(R) vs.Ashdown(D) vs.
VA:Kaine(D) vs.Allen(R) vs.Radtke(R) vs.
WI:Schiess(R) vs.Neumann(R) vs.Thompson(R) vs.Kagen(D) vs.Baldwin(D) vs.Schiess(R)
Senate Votes (analysis)
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