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Orrin Hatch on Gun Control

Republican Sr Senator (UT)


Supports 2nd Amendment, with stricter gun law enforcement

Q: I’d like to hear the senator’s position on Second Amendment rights. A: When it comes to expressed constitutional provisions like the Second Amendment, you’ve got to be very loathe to try and change that provision by mere statute. So I am a strong supporter of Second Amendment rights. [But] people are being killed in our society today because they’re not enforcing the law. We have got too many guns in the streets, in the hands criminals.
Source: Republican Debate at Dartmouth College , Oct 29, 1999

Mental health check as part of background check

Orrin Hatch said evidence of mental health problems should be part of the instant background check made when purchasing a gun. Hatch said: “We need to keep better records. Mental health problems that indicate violent behavior ought to be part of the instant check system.” He said that doesn’t solve the problem of gun use by the mentally imbalanced, and “the media has to show some restraint” in reporting on incidents of gun violence so there aren’t so many “copy-cat” crimes.
Source: David Yepsin, Des Moines Register , Sep 19, 1999

Gun violence problems can be solved by more enforcement

Hatch said the nation’s approach to gun violence has to be the same as it is toward the crime of kidnapping. After the kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby in 1932, the nation cracked down on the crime with tough laws & considerable law enforcement efforts. As a result, kidnapping is not a common offense today. “The way to solve this problem is to enforce the gun laws on the books and this administration has been singularly bad at this,” he said.
Source: David Yepsin, Des Moines Register , Sep 19, 1999

Trigger locks, gun show restrictions, import restrictions

Hatch was the author of the juvenile crime bill passed by the US Senate in May. Among other things, it would require trigger locks on all new handguns and impose tougher restrictions on sales at gun shows. The measure also would ban import of high-capacity ammunition clips and any juvenile convicted of a felony would be denied the right to purchase a gun for life.
Source: Associated Press , Aug 13, 1999

Guns should be sold with safety devices

Hatch [co-sponsored a bill] aimed at protecting children by requiring that guns be sold with a proper storage or gun safety device. “Tragedies such as the shooting in Littleton remind us of the importance of parental responsibility & the need for involvement in our children’s lives,” Hatch said. “By requiring that all handguns be sold with safety devices, we will reinforce responsible handgun safety practices. No minor should ever be able to obtain unsupervised or unauthorized access to a handgun
Source: senate.gov/~hatch “Press Release” , May 14, 1999

Enforce existing gun laws & extend them to juveniles

When a teen brings a gun to school, he should be held accountable by the criminal justice system. I support extending the Youth Handgun Safety Act to semi-automatic rifles, and prohibiting firearms possession by violent juvenile offenders. We should not rush to enact more gun control without taking steps to insure that existing federal laws are being enforced. [We should] prosecute violent gun offenders and provide needed funding to build detention facilities for violent & recidivist juvenile offenders.
Source: senate.gov/~hatch/ “Juvenile Offender Act” , May 11, 1999

Enforce existing gun laws & extend them to juveniles

When a teen brings a gun to school, he should be held accountable by the criminal justice system. I support extending the Youth Handgun Safety Act to semi-automatic rifles, and prohibiting firearms possession by violent juvenile offenders. We should not rush to enact more gun control without taking steps to insure that existing federal laws are being enforced. [We should] prosecute violent gun offenders and provide needed funding to build detention facilities for violent & recidivist juvenile offenders.
Source: (Xref from Gun Control) senate.gov/~hatch/ “Juvenile” , May 11, 1999

Prosecute gun crimes federally & severely

I do not support gun control, but I do believe in crime control. [Our proposed bill encourages] prosecution of as many local gun-related crimes in federal court as possible to take advantage of federal mandatory minimum sentences and stiff bond rules. This provision does not create additional federal crimes, but instead utilizes existing federal statutes. [We propose] an extensive media campaign to promote the message to potential criminals that “an illegal gun will get you 5 years in federal prison.”
Source: senate.gov/~hatch “Statements” , Apr 28, 1999

Voted NO on banning high-capacity magazines of over 10 bullets.

Congressional Summary:

Proponent's Argument for voting Yes: Sen. BLUMENTHAL: This amendment would ban high-capacity magazines which are used to kill more people more quickly and, in fact, have been used in more than half the mass shootings since 1982. I ask my colleagues to listen to law enforcement, their police, prosecutors who are outgunned by criminals who use these high-capacity magazines. I ask that my colleagues also listen to the families of those killed by people who used a high-capacity magazine.

Opponent's Argument for voting No: Sen. GRASSLEY. I oppose the amendment. In 2004, which is the last time we had the large-capacity magazine ban, a Department of Justice study found no evidence banning such magazines has led to a reduction in gun violence. The study also concluded it is not clear how often the outcomes of the gun attack depend on the ability of offenders to fire more than 10 shots without reloading. Secondly, there is no evidence banning these magazines has reduced the deaths from gun crimes. In fact, when the previous ban was in effect, a higher percentage of gun crime victims were killed or wounded than before it was adopted. Additionally, tens of millions of these magazines have been lawfully owned in this country for decades. They are in common use, not unusually dangerous, and used by law-abiding citizens in self-defense, as in the case of law enforcement.

Hatch says, "Hatch (R-UT)"

Reference: Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act; Bill S.Amdt. 714 to S. 649 ; vote number 13-SV103 on Apr 17, 2013

Voted YES on allowing firearms in checked baggage on Amtrak trains.

Congressional Summary:AMENDMENT PURPOSE: To ensure that law abiding Amtrak passengers are allowed to securely transport firearms in their checked baggage.

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.

Reference: Wicker Amendment; Bill S.Amdt.798 to S.Con.Res.13 ; vote number 2009-S145 on Apr 2, 2009

Voted YES on prohibiting foreign & UN aid that restricts US gun ownership.

Amendment SA 2774 to H.R. 2764, the Department of State's International Aid bill: To prohibit the use of funds by international organizations, agencies, and entities (including the United Nations) that require the registration of, or taxes guns owned by citizens of the United States.

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.

Reference: Vitter Amendment to State Dept. Appropriations Bill; Bill S.Amdt. 2774 to H.R. 2764 ; vote number 2007-321 on Sep 6, 2007

Voted YES on prohibiting lawsuits against gun manufacturers.

A bill to prohibit civil liability actions from being brought or continued against manufacturers, distributors, dealers, or importers of firearms or ammunition for damages, injunctive or other relief resulting from the misuse of their products by others. Voting YES would:
Reference: Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act; Bill S 397 ; vote number 2005-219 on Jul 29, 2005

Voted NO on banning lawsuits against gun manufacturers for gun violence.

Vote to pass a bill that would block certain civil lawsuits against manufacturers, distributors, dealers and importers of firearms and ammunition, mainly those lawsuits aimed at making them liable for gun violence. In this bill, trade groups would also be protected The bill would call for the dismissal of pending lawsuits against the gun industry. The exception would be lawsuits regarding a defect in a weapon or ammunition. It also would provide a 10-year reauthorization of the assault weapons ban which is set to expire in September 2004. The bill would increase the penalties for gun-related violent or drug trafficking crimes which have not resulted in death, to a minimum of 15 years imprisonment. The bill calls for criminal background checks on all firearm transactions at gun shows where at least 75 guns are sold. Exemptions would be made available for dealers selling guns from their homes as well as members-only gun swaps and meets carried out by nonprofit hunting clubs.
Reference: Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act; Bill S.1805/H.R.1036 ; vote number 2004-30 on Mar 2, 2004

Voted NO on background checks at gun shows.

Require background checks on all firearm sales at gun shows.
Status: Amdt Agreed to Y)50; N)50; VP decided YES
Reference: Lautenberg Amdt #362; Bill S. 254 ; vote number 1999-134 on May 20, 1999

Voted YES on more penalties for gun & drug violations.

The Hatch amdt would increase mandatory penalties for the illegal transfer or use of firearms, fund additional drug case prosecutors, and require background check on purchasers at gun shows. [A YES vote supports stricter penalties].
Status: Amdt Agreed to Y)48; N)47; NV)5
Reference: Hatch Amendment #344; Bill S. 254 ; vote number 1999-118 on May 14, 1999

Voted YES on loosening license & background checks at gun shows.

Vote to table or kill a motion to require that all gun sales at gun shows be completed by federally licensed gun dealers. Also requires background checks to be completed on buyers and requires gun show promoters to register with the Treasury.
Reference: Bill S.254 ; vote number 1999-111 on May 11, 1999

Voted YES on maintaining current law: guns sold without trigger locks.

Vote to table [kill] an amendment to make it unlawful for gun dealers to sell handguns without providing trigger locks. Violation of the law would result in civil penalties, such as suspension or revocation of the dealer's license, or a fine.
Reference: Bill S 2260 ; vote number 1998-216 on Jul 21, 1998

National cross-state standard for concealed carry.

Hatch signed H.R.197&S.845

Establishes a national standard for the carrying of concealed firearms (other than a machinegun or destructive device) by non-residents. Authorizes a person who has a valid permit to carry a concealed firearm in one state and who is not prohibited from carrying a firearm under federal law to carry a concealed firearm in another state:

Source: National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act 09-HR197 on Jan 6, 2009

Loosen restrictions on interstate gun purchases.

Hatch co-sponsored Firearms Interstate Commerce Reform Act

Congressional Summary:Amends the federal criminal code to:

  • allow licensed firearms dealers to sell or deliver any firearm (currently, rifles or shotguns) to any state if the licensee meets with the purchaser and the transaction complies with the laws of the state in which the transfer is conducted and the purchaser's state of residence; and
  • eliminate the requirement that a licensee must conduct business at a gun show only in the state that is specified on the licensee's license.
  • Nothing in this Act shall prohibit the sale of a firearm or ammunition between licensed firearms dealers at any location in any state.

    Proponent's Comments (NRA-ILA, Oct. 14, 2011): This bill would remove several antiquated and unnecessary restrictions imposed on interstate firearms business since 1968:

    Source: HR58/S1691 11-H0058 on Oct 12, 2011

    Ban gun registration & trigger lock law in Washington DC.

    Hatch co-sponsored banning gun registration & trigger lock law in Washington DC