The Senate continued with the consideration of the bill.
Mr. HATCH. Mr. President, what is the pending business?
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The pending business is the Boxer amendment, No. 1214.
Mr. HATCH. Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
Mr. HATCH. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call be rescinded.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
Mr. HATCH. Mr. President, after a lot of negotiations I am prepared to accept the amendment. I understand the distinguished Senator from Delaware will accept the amendment.
So, at this point, if it is urged I will accept it.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there further debate on the amendment? The Senator from California.
Mrs. BOXER. Mr. President, I thank my friend. I know there were some who had some problems with the amendment, at least parts of the amendment. I just want to say to my friend, to me this is a very important amendment because it really does relate to the Oklahoma City incident and that is my major purpose here. If we have a 5-year statute of limitations so the police can catch someone who impersonates Smokey the Bear, we should have a 5-year statute
to be able to close a case against people who would make a bomb and break other portions of this law.
So I want to say to my friend that I am most appreciative. I know it was contentious on his side. I look forward to following this bill through and seeing this when the bill comes back from conference.
Would it be in order to now ask for the amendment to be voted on?
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there further debate on the amendment? If not, the question is on agreeing to the amendment of the Senator from California.
The amendment (No. 1214) was agreed to.
Mrs. BOXER. Mr. President, I move to reconsider the vote by which the amendment was agreed to.
Mr. HATCH. I move to lay that motion on the table.
The motion to lay on the table was agreed to.
Mr. HATCH. Mr. President, what is the pending business before the Senate?
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The pending business is now amendment No. 1240 offered by the Senator from Vermont, [Mr. Leahy].
Mr. HATCH. Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
Mr. HATCH. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call be rescinded.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
Mr. HATCH. I understand that the distinguished Senator from Nebraska is about to call up an amendment. So I yield the floor.
Mr. KERREY addressed the Chair.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Nebraska.
Mr. KERREY. Mr. President, I send an amendment to the desk and ask for its immediate consideration.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. If there is no objection, the pending amendment is set aside, and the clerk will report.
The legislative clerk read as follows:
The Senator from Nebraska [Mr. Kerrey], for himself, Mr. D'Amato, Ms. Mikulski, and Mr. Shelby, proposes an amendment numbered 1208 to amendment No. 1199.
Mr. KERREY. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that reading of the amendment be dispensed with.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
The amendment is as follows:
At the appropriate place in the pending substitute amendment No. 1199, insert the following:
SEC. . AUTHORIZATION OF ADDITIONAL APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY.
(a) In General: There are authorized to be appropriated for the activities of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, to augment counter-terrorism efforts--
(1) $20,000,000 for fiscal year 1996;
(2) $20,000,000 for fiscal year 1997;
(3) $20,000,000 for fiscal year 1998;
(4) $20,000,000 for fiscal year 1999; and
(5) $20,000,000 for fiscal year 2000.
(b) In General: There are authorized to be appropriated for the activities of the United States Secret Service, to augment White House security and expand Presidential protection activities--
(1) $62,000,000 for fiscal year 1996;
(2) $25,000,000 for fiscal year 1997;
(3) $25,000,000 for fiscal year 1998;
(4) $25,000,000 for fiscal year 1999; and
(5) $25,000,000 for fiscal year 2000.
Mr. KERREY. Mr. President, I offer this amendment on behalf of myself and Senator Shelby of Alabama, Senator D'Amato of New York and Senator Mikulski of Maryland.
The amendment that I am offering authorizes funding of $262 million over 5 years for the U.S. Secret Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Of this, $100 million goes to BATF and $162 million goes to the U.S. Secret Service.
The substitute we are considering contains an authorization of $1.779 billion from the violent crime reduction trust fund for the various law enforcement agencies. Over 5 years, it authorizes $1.226 billion for the FBI, $400 million for the Drug Enforcement Administration, and $100 million for the U.S. attorneys, $25 million for INS, and $28 million for the U.S. Customs Service.
I trust the evaluation of how allocations occur across various law enforcement agencies was done in a very thoughtful and deliberative fashion. However, I believe the exclusion of ATF and the Secret Service from the allocation of resources inside of this antiterrorism bill will impair Treasury's capacity to engage in antiterrorism efforts. Thus, I offer this amendment to authorize resources for both the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the Secret Service.
Since 1970, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms has been mandated to enforce the criminal and regulatory provisions of the Federal explosives law.
ATF has regulatory oversight of the legal explosives industry in excess of 10,000 licensees and permittees. ATF personnel have unequaled experience in identifying the postblast explosive devices, components, and logistics involved in investigating postblast crime scenes of any size.
The fiscal year 1995 supplemental and rescissions conference report, just approved by this body, provides quarter-year funding for the hiring of 175 new agents, inspectors, and intelligence analysts for ATF, as requested by the administration.
These positions will be used to form four new national response teams for the purpose of responding within 24 hours to assist State and local law enforcement and fire service personnel in on-site investigations in the event of an explosion or fire. Each team is composed of veteran special agents having postblast, fire cause and origin expertise, forensic chemist and explosive technology expertise. The 59 inspection and intelligence analyst positions will be devoted to the inspection and investigation of groups and/or individuals in violation of Federal explosives laws.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms has been much maligned over the years. Much of this criticism, in my view, has been unjustified. I am quick to point out, some of the criticism is justified. This is an agency, like virtually any other in Government, that has not been operated in a perfect fashion. Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms does not enact the laws related to guns, but is instead sworn to execute the laws which originate from this body, that is the U.S. Congress. In my opinion, if we do not like the laws, we ought to change them rather than taking, in this case, action that might make it difficult for ATF to carry out the intent of the law.
On those occasions when mistakes may have been made in the execution of laws, Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms has undergone extensive independent review by a diverse group of respected professionals. It has taken its fair share of justified criticism and its fair share of justified praise as well.
Despite ATF's contributions to cases of great notoriety, ATF rarely receives their due credit. The World Trade Center bombing serves as the most recent example. While that investigation was a massive joint law enforcement effort, it was an ATF agent's determination and ingenuity that resulted in the discovery of one of the most significant pieces of evidence in that tedious investigation, the vehicle ID number.
ATF's contributions to the investigations of over 1,600 arson cases last year were not realized by the majority of the American people. Again, ATF just did its job.
Turning to the Secret Service, Mr. President, the White House complex symbolizes the executive branch of Government. More than 1 million American citizens a year tour the White House, and tens of thousands of White House complex appointments are processed during that same period of time. With the recent closing of Pennsylvania Avenue to vehicular traffic, pedestrian traffic will increase above and beyond the thousands of people who view the White House and surrounding areas.
The White House carries with it both national security and symbolic value which must be protected. Publicized threats of the White House complex in the past several years have caused us to be not just concerned about the safety of the President and the President's family, but also concerned about the executive branch personnel that very often operate inside the White House, as well as other individuals operating and doing business at the White House.
The April 19 Oklahoma City tragedy served to heighten the collective awareness and is, in part, the catalyst to which the closing of Pennsylvania Avenue is generally attributed. I know from personal experience that what many people saw with the Oklahoma City bombing is the idea that it would be relatively easy now to take a different approach if they had a desire to attack the White House, attack the President, or attack other personnel. Thus, the closing of Pennsylvania Avenue, though it is, in my judgment, an appropriate action, it is just one step in trying to make sure we do all we can to protect this symbol of the United States of America and protect the people who work and do business in it.
Consistent with the recommendations from a recently completed review of White House security, the amendment I am offering will authorize security enhancements at the White House to help the Secret Service ensure that the White House and the First Family are not at risk.
Press reports I have seen since the Oklahoma City bombing indicate threats to the President have increased by 100 percent.
The amendment I am offering as well, Mr. President, authorizes funding for the hiring of 250 additional positions for the Presidential protection division, uniformed division officers, countersniper teams, foot and vehicular patrols, canine officers, and intelligence and physical security specialists.
In addition, it authorizes the purchase of technical security equipment and devices and will permit physical security structural enhancements around the White House complex.
The Secret Service is responsible as well for the protection of foreign heads of state and Presidential candidates. This October, the U.N. General Assembly is projected to have its largest gathering of heads of states, including a Papal visit. All these will require increased Secret Service personnel.
In approximately 7 months, the Secret Service will begin the year-long task of protecting Presidential candidates. How can these challenges and responsibilities not be addressed in any discussion of terrorism?
The Secret Service has for over 125 years been responsible for the integrity of our currency. Counterfeiting of U.S. currency has in recent years shifted dramatically from domestic to foreign production and trends point toward the distribution of high-quality counterfeit U.S. currency by terrorist organizations, as well as arms traffickers and drug dealers.
Pursuing these investigations related to foreign production of counterfeit U.S. currency by such groups should also be a focus in counterterrorism legislation.
The Secret Service possesses unique forensic capabilities relating to handwriting, fingerprinting, ink and paper, just to name a few. They have in the past and will continue in the future to provide these capabilities to assist the investigative efforts of other Federal, State, and local agencies. While I do not argue that the FBI holds much of the responsibility in combating terrorism, it seems to me the challenges and responsibility of Treasury law enforcement agencies have been overlooked.
The bill we are considering is entitled the `Comprehensive Terrorism Prevention Act of 1995,' but I do not believe it can be comprehensive unless we include funding for both the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the Secret Service.
Mr. President, I appreciate the manager of the bill allowing me to offer the amendment at this particular time. I urge the adoption of this amendment.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there any further debate?
Mr. HATCH. Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
Mr. KERREY. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call be rescinded.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
Mr. KERREY. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that John Libonati, a legislative fellow with the Appropriations Committee, be permitted the privilege of the floor during the remainder of the debate on S. 735.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
Mr. D'AMATO. Mr. President, I support the amendment offered by my colleague, Senator Kerrey. This amendment will correct what I believe to be an oversight in the authorization for Federal law enforcement. The current antiterrorism bill, S. 735, while providing substantial funding for some Federal law enforcement entities, overlooked the responsibilities and jurisdictions of the U.S. Secret Service.
The U.S. Secret Service is responsible for the protection of the President of the United States, the Vice President of the United States, and their families. The U.S. Secret Service is also responsible for protecting Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates as well as any head of state visiting the United States. This vast cross section of political entities, that fall within the protective realm of the U.S. Secret Service, continues to attract the interest of numerous terrorist and antigovernment organizations. Due to the recent bombings of the World Trade Center and Oklahoma City, the air intrusion of the White House, and the several shootings directed at the White House, additional security measures have been instituted by the Secret Service, while the funding levels have remained the same. One of the most publicized and controversial security measures that was instituted was the closing of Pennsylvania Avenue to vehicular traffic. This, while being the most visible security enhancement was merely one of dozens that have been effected by the Secret Service without any increase in their funding.
The Secret Service is in need of increased resources to cover expenses in several areas: First, an increased presence of U.S. Secret Service Uniform Division officers. These officers will reinforce the current patrol capabilities and insure greater safety not only for the President, employees of the White House complex, and visiting dignitaries, but for the thousands of citizens who visit the White House and our monuments on a daily basis. The Secret Service also needs to increase their personnel levels within their intelligence branch as well as their protective details. And finally, several of the physical and technological security features of the White House need to be upgraded to deal with the increased and organized threats emanating from these terrorist entities.
The U.S. Secret Service has been recognized as the preeminent law enforcement agency in the world for its protective expertise. This funding will help insure that these capabilities are not diminished, and their vital mission is not impeded due to a lack of funding.
Mr. KERREY. I suggest the absence of a quorum.
Mr. BIDEN. Will the Senator withhold that request?
Mr. KERREY. Yes.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Delaware.
Mr. BIDEN. Mr. President, while the distinguished chairman of the committee is, I guess, deciding how, when, and under what circumstances to respond to the amendment of the Senator from Nebraska, I just want to bring the Senate, and particularly the Democrats, up to date.
I would like every Democrat who has an amendment to come to the floor as soon as they can or communicate to the Cloakroom whether or not they intend to go forward with their amendment and if we can enter into a time agreement on their amendment, if they insist on going forward.
I will say, and I have been discussing this with the Republican manager of the bill, that we have narrowed the list of amendments even further and we have gotten time agreements on 80 percent of the amendments on the Democratic side that are left. The longest request for any time on an amendment is 2 hours. Most are in the range of 20 to 30 minutes. So we are making significant progress.
There are three Senators who are ready to move on amendments that have short time agreements. Senator Kennedy has agreed to a 30-minute time agreement on his first amendment; Senator Bradley, who is to go next if we can work that out, has agreed to, I believe it is a 20-minute time agreement. This is being typed up now. But this is to give some people notice for planning purposes.
Senator Bradley has agreed to 30 minutes on his amendment characterized as relating to cop-killer bullets. Senator Kennedy has agreed to 20 minutes on his amendment that is characterized as relating to multiple gun purchases; and Senator Lautenberg has agreed to 1 hour equally divided on his civilian marksmanship amendment.
It is my hope that when we dispose of the Kerrey amendment, which I hope will occur very shortly; that we can agree to take up those amendments under such time agreement--I am not asking unanimous consent for that now; that is being checked in the Republican Cloakroom--and then I can assure my colleagues on the Democratic side, we have additional amendments we are prepared to go to with very short time limits. It is still my hope and expectation that we can finish this bill or come perilously close to finishing this bill tonight.
In the meantime, while the Republican Cloakroom is determining whether or not such a unanimous-consent request would be in order for the next three amendments, I will suggest the absence of a quorum.
Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. President, I would be glad to speak to my amendment rather than have a quorum call if it is agreeable.
Mr. BIDEN. Fine. Mr. President, I think that is fine.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Massachusetts.
Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that Michael Myers and Lauren Cohen, fellows in my office, be granted the privilege of the floor during the pendency of the bill.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. President, my amendment is designed to assist law enforcement officials in tracking the incidence of multiple handgun purchases. The stockpiling of weapons is at the heart of the terrorist threat to the country, and this amendment is a needed step to help address the problem.
Under current law, when an individual purchases more than one handgun in a 5-day period, the gun dealer from whom the weapons are purchased must submit a multiple handgun purchase form to Federal, State and local law enforcement agencies. The requirement for this notification to State and local police was included in the law as part of the Brady bill substitute proposed by the majority leader, Senator Dole.
Under this provision in current law, however, State and local police are required to destroy the records after 20 days. As a result, the notification system is largely useless to State and local authorities. In 20 days, it is impossible to detect the purchasing patterns which might indicate that particular individuals or groups are stockpiling weapons, amassing arsenals, or engaging in illegal guntrafficking.
My amendment eliminates the requirement that these important records be destroyed. There is no reason to handicap the police by requiring them to destroy information that can help prevent or solve crimes, especially terrorist crimes. As under existing law, the information provided to the police will remain confidential and will be used only for legitimate law enforcement purposes.
There are obvious law enforcement needs for this information, especially in the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing and the disclosures that some militant groups have been acquiring weapons at an alarming rate. According to Daniel Welch, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center's Klanwatch, `[t]here has been an arms race within the white supremacy movement as to who can stockpile the most weapons.' In addition, some anti-Government militia groups are also racing to acquire weapons for the avowed purpose of engaging in combat with the Government of the United States.
According to the Anti-Defamation League, `[t]hese militia members are not talking about change from the ballot box alone, many are enamored of the prospect of change through bullets, explosives, and heavy armaments.'
Recent law enforcement investigations demonstrate the extent to which militias are arming themselves:
A decade ago, in 1985, FBI agents discovered a compound owned by the Covenant, the Sword, and the Arm of the Lord, a paramilitary survivalist group operating along the Missouri/Arkansas border. The group's literature demonstrated it to be strongly anti-Semitic, and its leaders believed they were preparing troops for the coming war through paramilitary training. In the raid, agents seized hundreds of weapons, bombs, an antitank rocket, and quantities of cyanide apparently intended to poison the water supply of a city.
In 1993, law enforcement officials discovered at least 6 separate weapons arsenals and 13 separate explosives arsenals linked to militant extremist groups across the country.
In July 1994, Federal authorities found 13 guns, homemade silencers, explosives, blasting caps, fuses, and hand grenades belonging to James Roy Mullins, the founder of an anti-Government militia group in Virginia.
In September 1994, three members of the Michigan Militia were stopped by police for a routine traffic violation. Inside the car, police discovered three military assault rifles, three semi-automatic handguns, a revolver, 700 rounds of armor-piercing ammunition, and several knives and bayonets. All of the firearms were loaded. And handwritten notes found in the car indicated that the militia members were conducting surveillance of local police departments.
Militia members have been shown on television marching with rifles, but they have not limited their arsenals to such weapons. According to the Treasury Department, anti-Government militias have acquired a wide array of weapons including .22 caliber, .45 caliber, and 9mm pistols, .357 revolvers, and a variety of military-style assault weapons.
There are some who say that militias are harmless. Some ask why the Government should care if some citizens want to spend their weekends marching in the woods wearing camouflage fatigues as a hobby.
The answer is that not all militias are harmless. The events in Oklahoma City and elsewhere has focused public attention on a small group of Americans who are convinced that the Federal Government is the enemy and who may be preparing to wage war against the Government. These groups pose a terrifying threat to Federal agents, Federal workers, and other law-abiding citizens. We cannot afford to ignore that threat.
As a result of lax Federal gun laws, it is relatively easy for anti-Government extremist groups to stockpile arsenals of massive destructive power. Many of the semiautomatic handguns and revolvers recovered from these extremists are legally available at gunshops and gun shows. We do not have Federal licensing or registration requirements in this country. It is perfectly legal for anyone except felons and the mentally ill to possess hundreds or thousands of guns.
I believe we should have tougher, more sensible gun laws, but I do not seek to accomplish that goal on this bill. This amendment does not prohibit the manufacture or prohibit the manufacture or possession of any guns. It does not ration guns, as the NRA has falsely charged. Legitimate sportsmen and gun collectors have absolutely no reason to fear this amendment.
It builds on the recordkeeping requirement so that local law enforcement agencies will not be required to destroy potentially useful records after 20 days. In light of recent events, this amendment is a reasonable step to permit the police to keep track of individuals or groups in a community who may be stockpiling weapons or engaging in illicit gun-trafficking.
This amendment is a necessary measure in the battle against terrorism and I urge the Senate to approve it.
Mr. President, this amendment is supported by 47 police chiefs, including the police chief of Oklahoma City, Sam Gonzales. And I have other letters of support.
I ask unanimous consent that the names of the police chiefs be printed in the Record.
There being no objection, the list was ordered to be printed in the Record, as follows:
Senate Office Building,
Washington, DC, June 6, 1995.
Dear Senator: In the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing and the recent shootings of police officers around the country, we, as police chiefs who are sworn to protect the public and our officers, strongly urge your support for the following four amendments to the upcoming anti-terrorism bill:
Cop-killer bullets: This amendment, to be offered by Senator Bradley, will prohibit `cop-killer' bullets based on a performance standard rather than the physical composition of the bullet, as current law requires.
Multiple handgun sale forms: This amendment, to be offered by Senator Kennedy, will allow local law enforcement to keep a record of multiple handgun sales rather than destroy the forms, as current law requires.
Guns for felons: This amendment, to be offered by Senators Lautenberg and Simon, will permanently close the current loophole that allows some violent felons to regain their right to possess firearms.
National Firearms Act: This amendment, to be offered by Senator Boxer, will increase the statute of limitations for violations of the National Firearms Act from three to five years.
These amendments are designed to close current loopholes in federal law. They will provide enforcement with additional tools to apprehend violent offenders, vigorously prosecute them and combat crime on our streets.
We strongly urge you to demonstrate your unwavering commitment to the protection of law enforcement and the safety of all Americans by supporting these public safety measures.
Chief Jerry Sanders, San Diego, CA.
Colonel Clarence Harmon, St. Louis, MO.
Chief Louis Cobarruviaz, San Jose, CA.
Chief Anthony D. Ribera, San Francisco, CA.
Deputy Chief Roy L. Meisner, Berkeley, CA.
Chief Noel K. Cunningham, Los Angeles Port, CA.
Chief Dan Nelson, Salinas, CA.
Chief Robert H. Mabinnis, San Leandro, CA.
Chief James D. Toler, Indianaplis, IN.
Chief Sam Gonzales, Oklahoma City, OK.
Director Steven G. Hanes, Roanoke, VA.
Chief Robert M. Zidek, Bladensburg, MD.
Chief Charles R. McDonald, Edwardsville, IL.
Chief Lawrence Nowery, Rock Hill, SC.
Chief Edmund Mosca, Old Saybrook, CT.
Chief William Nolan, North Little Rock, AR.
Chief David C. Milchan, Pinellas Park, FL.
Chief Lockheed Reader, Puyallup, WA.
Chief Peter L. Cranes W. Yarmouth, MA.
Chief Daniel Colucci, Kennelton, NJ.
Chief Gertrude Gogan, Bel Ridge, St. Louis, MO.
Chief Reuben M. Greenberg, Charleston, SC.
Chief Robert L. Johnson, Charleston, SC.
Chief Robert M. St. Pierre, Salem, MA.
Chief Douglas L. Bartosh, Scottsdale, AZ.
Chief Perry Anderson, Cambridge, MA.
Chief Leonard R. Barone, Haverhill, MA.
Chief Ronald J. Panyko, Millvale, Pittsburgh, PA.
Chief William Corvello, Newport News, VA.
Asst. Chief James T. Miller, Dekalb Co. Police, Decatur, GA.
Chief Larry J. Callier, Opelousas, LA.
Chief Howard H. Tagomori, Wailuku, Maui, HI.
Chief Leonard G. Cooke, Eugene, OR.
Chief Harold L. Johnson, Mobile, AL.
Chief Charles A. Moose, Portland, OR.
Chief Frank Alcala, East Chicago, IN.
Chief E. Douglas Hamilton, Louisville, KY.
Chief Charles E. Samarra, Alexandria, VA.
Chief Allan L. Wallis, Renton, WA.
Chief Scott Burleson, Waukegan, IL.
Chief C.L. Reynolds, Port St. Lucie, FL.
Chief Sylvester Daughtry, Greensboro, NC.
Chief Jimmie L, Brown, Miami, FL.
Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske, Buffalo, NY.
Chief Harold L. Hurtt, Oxnard, CA.
Chief Norm Stamper, Seattle, WA.
Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. President, it is interesting that there is the requirement in the legislation that, after 20 days, the records must be destroyed. All this amendment does is to vitiate that particular provision. It is not a requirement that they maintain them. All this does is eliminate the requirement that they must be destroyed. We have seen in many instances where our law enforcement people have been out-gunned by various gangs and other groups in many of the cities of this country, which in many instances are free-fire zones. We have seen the whole pattern of multiweapon purchases. This is a very modest but important law enforcement tool needed to determine the stockpiling and the caching of various weapons.
I will mention here an excellent letter of support from Paul Evans, our police commissioner in Boston.
I am writing to express support for your proposal to help local police departments track multiple gun purchases. Like many other cities in the Northeast, Boston is concerned about interstate gun trafficking. For years now, an iron pipe has existed on the east coast, with professional gun traffickers buying large numbers of handguns, transporting them elsewhere for illegal sale in States and communities with much tougher gun laws.
In 1993, a study of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms found that 60 percent of the guns used in crimes in Boston were purchased outside of Massachusetts.
The multiple handgun sale notification form can be one of the most potent weapons in the fight against the illegal gun trade. Two years ago, as part of the Brady bill, Congress required Federally licensed gun dealers to send a copy of the multiple sale form to local law enforcement officials in the hope that local law enforcement officials would be armed with the knowledge that could assist them in identifying illegal gun traders.
We can remember from the debate on the Brady bill that there were those who said what we want to do is find out whether those particular individuals have committed a felony or violated the law. So let us shorten the time period that an individual or group has to wait, but let us give the information to the local law enforcement. And within that proposal is the requirement to destroy that information after 20 days.
What we are finding out is, in local law enforcement, as well as State law enforcement, as well as others who have a responsibility in this area, that this requirement for the destruction of this information hinders their opportunity to make judgments about the growth of the illegal gun trade.
I will continue with the Paul Evans letter.
Congress, unfortunately, requires local police to destroy those forms within 20 days. Many gun traffickers, in an effort to avoid suspicion, made several multiple purchases over the course of several days and weeks, rather than one large purchase of firearms. Can the amendment eliminate this? In this case, it would allow the Boston police to develop proactive policies around this information.
This is a viewpoint which is shared by the other police officials who support this amendment.
Mr. President, it is a simple concept. It is a needed provision, and I hope that we might have acceptance of this amendment.
I yield the floor.
Mr. HATCH. Mr. President, we brought this bill to the floor, and it has taken a large effort to get it here. We have worked very hard with the administration. We have worked with Senator Biden and the Justice Department, and the vast majority of this bill is agreed to. There seems to be one major contentious issue--and I think we can resolve that by amendments one way or the other--and that happens to be the habeas corpus provision, which the President called for last night. The President has called for us to pass this bill. He has called for us to pass habeas corpus reform on this bill.
A while back, he did not feel he wanted it on this bill, but last night he did call for it. It is the appropriate time to get it done.
I am disappointed to say that we are in the middle of making this a gun control bill. I hate to say it, but we are going to have another opportunity on the crime bill when it comes to the floor of debating these gun issues. Why should we gum up the antiterrorism bill with a bunch of gun provisions?
When it comes to addressing our Nation's crime problems, the liberals in Congress and the media have proposed gun control. When the Nation calls on us to get tough on criminals, the liberals drag out the carcass of gun control. The fact is that when the going got tough, the liberals would embrace gun control over tough reform. That is nothing new to us. What I find shocking here is that they would attempt to turn this bipartisan, antiterrorism bill into an antigun bill, or into a political document.
We have worked hard to try to accommodate everybody on this bill. Frankly, I am amazed that some of my colleagues would use the tragic events of Oklahoma City to push totally unrelated politically motivated gun control legislation.
I have worked long and hard to bring this bill to the floor, as I said. After the President's call for prompt action on meaningful terrorist legislation, we bypassed the normal committee process in order to ensure swift action. We still worked with Senator Biden, who has worked well on this bill, the Department of Justice, other members of the Judiciary Committee, and other Members of the Congress.
We have incorporated almost all of President Clinton's legislative proposals. We have been in the front of efforts to provide assistance to the people of Oklahoma. I sought the counsel of the Oklahoma State attorney general, Drew Edmondson, who is a Democrat, who supports much of what we are doing here.
In fact, I have praised President Clinton for his leadership and the effectiveness of his Department of Justice in handling these issues involved in this matter.
In short, we endeavor to do what is right and the right thing in the wake of this atrocity at Oklahoma City. That is why I am so disappointed that all of a sudden we are tearing down the spirit of bipartisanship, and even though some of the amendments sound reasonable, they are not in the eyes of a number of people on both sides of the aisle. I think it is becoming too partisan. We have worked hard on this. We have worked hard to try to cast a tough antiterrorist bill that delivers most of what the President has called for.
It appears that some here have spent the last several weeks again trying to fiddle with the explicit rights of the Constitution. While I was working to deliver the President his bill, some of the more liberal persuasion have been honing gun control designs they wished to wield in their ongoing onslaught against the second amendment rights of freedom, rights of honest, law-abiding citizens. There are two points of view on the second amendment. The distinguished Senator from Delaware shares one; I share the other.
My colleagues may think they have a good political issue on these gun control issues, but I do not think they do. In the court of public opinion, gun control is a big loser. A new U.S. News & World Report poll shows 75 percent of all American voters believe that the Constitution guarantees them the right to own a gun. The poll found voters are less willing today, even after Oklahoma City, to accept restrictions on their constitutional rights in order to feel more secure.
Rather than create schemes that are constitutionally questionable, this body should concentrate on the real measures that will limit terrorist atrocities. These measures are outlined in this bill in great detail.
I have to say they should not be part of an attempt to impose restrictions on second amendment rights. We can agree and disagree on what those second amendment rights are. I tried to avoid this becoming a gun fight as much as I possibly could, in the whole process, from committee to the floor and on the floor.
But now we have a series of amendments that are nothing more than amendments to try to bring up the whole gun issue again on something that needs to be passed now, that the President has asked we pass now, that the majority leader has asked that we pass now, that the majority of Americans in this country would like to have passed.
I am concerned about it. I think both sides know that we have problems on these issues. I hope that we can work on the things that we agree on and reserve the gunfights for the crime bill when it comes up and face them at that time.
It will come up. There will certainly be a crime bill, either before the end of this year or next year. We are going to do everything we can to try to get that done.
In that regard, I want to personally express appreciation to Senator Biden for his efforts in trying to work with me on this issue, trying to get time agreements on these amendments. He is representing his side in a very responsible way. I personally appreciate it. I want him to know that. Also, he has a great deal of knowledge in this area, and I just hope we can somehow or another break down the gun fights and get them out of here and start working about antiterrorism and the real issues in antiterrorism and reserve the gun fights until the crime bill. Then we will all face them at that time.
I am prepared to do that at that time. I would like to get this bill passed by this evening, and even if we pass it in the Senate, we still have to go to the House of Representatives. We may have to have a conference. We will have to bring it back. So we still have a fairly detailed process to go through, regardless of what we do.
I would like to get away from these gun control fights and do what we can on the antiterrorism bill, the way the President would like to have it done, and the way I think a vast majority of Senators believe it should be done and has been done.
Mr. BIDEN addressed the Chair.
The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Coverdell). The Senator from Delaware.
Mr. BIDEN. Mr. President, it was clear to everyone when habeas corpus was added to this bill--which was never intended originally to be part of this bill--that a lot of issues that were contentious ought to be raised.
We would be better off if we had no amendments on this. It was clear it was not going to happen. Everybody knew these amendments were coming. We got a unanimous-consent agreement limiting the number of amendments before we left to go home for our home period a couple weeks ago.
I, quite frankly, sought the forbearance of my Democratic colleagues. There are only four amendments out of all the amendments that relate in any way to guns. Of those four amendments, the four sponsors of those amendments have agreed to use a total of 190 minutes, an hour and a half.
I have proposed a time agreement. I certainly hope the Republicans will not filibuster this bill. I hope they will not enter into the mode that I have been arguing with Democrats not to enter into.
There are several Democrats who feel very strongly about habeas corpus. I have gotten an agreement that we will limit the amount of time on the five habeas corpus amendments that are out there. We have agreed on this side, even though several Members find the habeas corpus provision in this terrorism bill so repugnant that they may not be able to even vote for the bill, they have agreed to a time agreement, and they have agreed, in turn, therefore, not to filibuster or delay this bill.
I hope that my Republican friends will not filibuster the bill, either. The way to deal with this is Senator Kennedy agreed to 20 minutes equally divided on his amendment. He has made his statement. All we have to do is agree to 10 minutes in response to the statement and vote.
We can do the same thing with regard to the Lautenberg amendment, the same thing with regard to the Kohl amendment, and the same thing with regard to the Bradley amendment. That is a totality of the amendments arguably related to firearms. One relates to cop killer bullets, one relates to multiple gun purchases and recordkeeping, one to the civilian marksmanship program, and one relates to the gun-free school zone which passed here almost unanimously. The Supreme Court concluded that it was not constitutional. It has been altered and reintroduced. That was overwhelmingly passed.
Mr. HATCH. Would the Senator yield?
Mr. BIDEN. I yield.
Mr. HATCH. I think the problem is we have a lot of nongermane amendments that do not belong in this bill, and there are people on this side who do not want them.
Frankly, we have a cloture vote tomorrow morning, and nobody will filibuster it on this side. There is a feeling over here by some that we have a bunch of nongermane amendments that gum up this bill, and we may have to wait until cloture tomorrow on some of those amendments.
Maybe we can move ahead on some that are germane, like the habeas amendments. They are germane. Habeas is a big part of this bill. We have kept all the gun fight amendments away on our side because we want to pass the President's terrorism bill. The President of the United States has called for habeas corpus in this bill. We are going to give it to him if we can. I believe we can.
Now we are getting into extraneous matters that are not even germane to antiterrorism, are not germane to this bill, that should not be in this bill, that could be brought up on any number of following pieces of legislation and be germane, especially the crime bill, and the only purpose is to make this bill a more political exercise than it should be.
I would like to worry a little bit more about these victims of the Oklahoma bombing and others who are potentially victims if we do not do something about this antiterrorism legislation as quickly as we can.
Now, nobody wants to filibuster this bill, but by gosh, if we have to go to cloture to establish that we are not going to gum this bill up with a bunch of extraneous, nonbipartisan, nongermane, inappropriate amendments for this, then I do not know if I can stop that.
I am willing to proceed on germane amendments. I suggest we spend the rest of the day working on all the germane amendments that we can, and go forward.
Mr. BIDEN. Mr. President, the way that translates to me is that the Republicans have concluded they are not going to allow Senators Kennedy, Lautenberg, Kohl, or Bradley to have a vote on their amendments.
I understand that. I am a big boy. I understand how that works, if that is what they have decided to do. To suggest that we wait until cloture, by definition, cloture means these would not be in order.
Now, every single bill that I know of that we ever pass through this place has nongermane amendments on it. I cannot think of one off the top of my head that does not have nongermane amendments on it. That is the practice.
That is the practice. That is the rule. That is the way we proceed. And the theoretical reason for cloture is that people are taking too much time on this bill.
I have time agreements on all these amendments. Before the next half-hour is up, every Democratic amendment on any subject that is in this bill, we can get a time agreement on. We can settle this thing tonight. We can get this done.
I thought the reason for cloture was worry on the part of the majority leader that we would never get to a final vote on this bill. I am telling you I can get a time agreement on all of the Democratic amendments. We can get to a vote on this bill tonight.
But what I am being told here is, we can only get to a vote on this bill tonight if we only vote on the things the Republicans want to vote on. That is what this translates to.
I understand that. I accept that. But let us understand what we are talking about here. This is not about delay. Democrats are willing to vote. We are willing to give time agreements. On this amendment, the Senator spoke for 10 minutes. Ask for 10 minutes and then vote. If they do not even want to respond--vote.
We are ready to vote. This is not about delay. This is about the Republicans wishing to dictate what they will and will not allow to be offered as an amendment on a bill. I understand that. That is their right. I do not quarrel with that right. But let us make this thing real clear. That is what it is about.
Mr. KENNEDY. Will the Senator yield?
Mr. BIDEN. I will be happy to.
Mr. KENNEDY. Was the Senator familiar with the Hatch resolution for Senator Brown, dealing with terrorism and the peace process in Northern Ireland? It is a sense-of-the-Senate about the parties involved in the peace process in Northern Ireland and a report on Northern Ireland.
Is the Senator familiar with the other provisions, even in the Hatch substitute, that talk about the conditions of eligibility for States being able to receive any funding under this? There is the requirement that, in terms of certain DNA analysis, testing be done by the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It may be very worthwhile. But that is another measure that has been included. I could go on.
I want to just ask the Senator if he would not agree with me that the issue of availability and the proliferation of military-style weapons that are available to the citizens is an active threat to the security of the American citizens? I will be glad to either spend some time in reviewing that, or I will be glad to follow the urgings of our ranking minority member and put those in the Record in order that we can move the process forward. But does not the Senator believe that the issue of the vast proliferation of weapons and their accumulation by various militia groups certainly has as much to do with the issue of potential danger to the American citizen's security as some of these other items I mentioned?
Mr. BIDEN. If I can respond to the Senator's basic question, there are a number of items in this bill, amendments we have already accepted, amendments we have debated and voted on--some defeated, some not--that are nongermane in a technical sense, like the gun amendments are nongermane.
What this is all about is they only want their nongermane amendments. They want to be able to dictate to all of us what we can and cannot offer on this amendment. Who is to say whether or not it is any more relevant to terrorism that you have a habeas corpus provision in this bill or whether it is more relevant to have a provision like the one the Senator from Massachusetts is suggesting? That is a judgment call. That is a judgment call.
I think we should not delay in this. Again, I made a commitment to the leader, the Republican leader, that I would implore the Democrats to reduce their number of amendments and to enter into time agreements. We have done that. We have done that. So we can get to what his objective is, the telecommunications bill, tomorrow. We are able to do that.
We have spent, now, an hour talking about whether or not we can proceed. We could have already disposed of my colleague's amendment and the Bradley amendment by now. They would be over, finished, either in the bill or out. And I have a feeling, unless I count incorrectly--although I agree with the Senator from Massachusetts--I have a feeling he would be out if they let us vote on this just because of the way the votes have stacked up.
But this is not about moving the bill along. This is about several Republican Senators wishing to filibuster indirectly this bill by not allowing my colleague to introduce his amendment, or the other three amendments, for which we have time agreements if they would agree.
Mr. KENNEDY. If the Senator will yield, is the Senator aware that there are 47 police chiefs across the country who have urged the Senate, from their point of view, to accept this amendment that they believe is important, and also that the language, which is included, was basically the majority leader's language to have preservation of these records up to 20 days and then have them eliminated? The Senator is probably aware that it has been the judgment of law enforcement officials, now, that the 20 days is too short and the longer period of time would serve the security of American citizens. I wonder why we are not prepared to move forward. We could accept this amendment, I would welcome the opportunity to do so, and to move on to the other items.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Chair recognizes the Senator from Utah.
Mr. HATCH. Mr. President, Senator Biden and I have been through this before. We might feel differently about things. We want to pass a bill. We know how important it is. But some on the other side desperately want to make this a gun fight and frankly we have done everything on our side to keep it out of there. Habeas is one reason why our side is willing to keep it out of it, because they recognize that for the first time in years in this country we can correct the habeas corpus problem in this country, of incessant liberal appeals--incessant frivolous appeals. To make a long story short, that should not be allowed.
I have a letter here from President Clinton. President Clinton knows I have been trying to accommodate him. He knows I have done everything I possibly can to try to accommodate him on this bill, even though he has had to be dragged along on habeas corpus, he now admits he wants that in this bill.
I hope the people on the other side, who are of the same persuasion and party, would support the President. But there is nothing in this letter, three-page letter, single-spaced, from the President, where he suggests what he wants in this bill--that we are trying to solve and we can meet every one of those problems, it seems to me, one way or the other--there is nothing in here about making this into a gun fight or making it into a fight over gun control.
I have to say I am very concerned about it because I want this bill to pass. The vast majority of it I believe is acceptable to virtually everybody in this body. The few things that are controversial I think a vast majority will support. I believe the President will support this bill and he will sign it into law.
Here we are, spinning our wheels, talking about gun control. That could be brought up on the crime bill where it should be brought up. It should not be used to delay this bill because these folks on the other side know that there are folks on this side who cannot allow the right to keep and bear arms to be diminished by some of these gun control amendments, as seemingly simple as some of them seem, as complex as they really are.
I have to say personally I would be willing to meet anything on this bill. But I have to live within constraints, too. I am calling on my colleagues to get rid of the gun control amendments or else let us go to cloture and let us get rid of them that way. Because they are not germane.
We have been on this bill 3 days. We have had five amendments that we have disposed of in 3 days. Now we are in the middle of a gun control fight instead of passing what needs to be done, and that is the day after the people from Oklahoma, who pinned this ribbon on me that I am wearing in honor and memoriam because of what happened there--the day after they came and said pass this bill the way it is.
As you can see, I am worked up but I have to say I understand the sincerity on the part of some on the other side. I respect that. I understand the sincerity on the part of my friend from Massachusetts. I respect it, especially in his case. He and I both know what suffering is all about.
I expect him to bring these amendments to the floor, but not on this bill. His amendment is probably less offensive to some on our side than some of the others that are going to be brought here, mainly because we do not want to see this bill turned into a gun control fight when we have people out there in this country who are just waiting to commit more terrorist acts and when we all know that we should act. We all know we ought to do what we can to try to bring some peace and solace to those who suffered in Oklahoma City as well as others in this country.
Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent the letter be printed in the Record at this point.
There being no objection, the letter was ordered to be printed in the Record, as follows:
The White House,
Washington, DC, May 25, 1995.
Hon. Robert Dole,
Republican Leader, U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
Dear Mr. Leader: I write to renew my call for a tough, effective, and comprehensive antiterrorism bill, and I urge the Congress to pass it as quickly as possible. The Executive and Legislative Branches share the responsibility of ensuring that adequate legal tools and resources are available to protect our Nation and its people against threats to their safety and well-being. The tragic bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19th, the latest in a disturbing trend of terrorist attacks, makes clear the need to enhance the Federal government's ability to investigate, prosecute, and punish terrorist activity.
To that end, I have transmitted to the Congress two comprehensive legislative proposals: The `Omnibus Counterterrorism Act of 1995' and the `Antiterrorism Amendments Act of 1995.' In addition, the Senate has under consideration your bill, S. 735, the `Comprehensive Terrorism Prevention Act of 1995.' I understand that a substitute to S. 735, incorporating many of the features of the two Administration proposals, will be offered in the near future. I also understand that the substitute contains some provisions that raise significant concerns. We must make every effort to ensure that this measure responds forcefully to the challenge of domestic and international terrorism. I look forward to working with the Senate on the substitute and to supporting its enactment, provided that the final product addresses major concerns of the Administration in an effective, fair, and constitutional manner. The bill should include the following provisions.
Provide clear Federal criminal jurisdiction for any international terrorist attack that might occur in the United States, as well as provide Federal criminal jurisdiction over terrorists who use the United States as the place from which to plan terrorist attacks overseas.
Provide a workable mechanism to deport alien terrorists expeditiously, without risking the disclosure of national security information or techniques and with adequate assurance of fairness.
Provide an assured source of funding for the Administration's digital telephony initiative.
Provide a means of preventing fundraising in the United States that supports international terrorist activity overseas.
Provide access to financial and credit reports in antiterrorism cases, in the same manner as banking records can be obtained under current law through appropriate legal procedures.
Make available the national security letter process, which is currently used for obtaining certain categories of information in terrorism investigations, to obtain records critical to such investigations from hotels, motels, common carriers, and storage and vehicle rental facilities.
Approve the implementing legislation for the Plastic Explosives Convention, which requires a chemical in plastic explosives for identification purposes, and require the inclusion of taggants--microscopic particles -- in standard explosive device raw materials which will permit tracing of the materials post-explosion.
Expand the authority of law enforcement to fight terrorism through electronic surveillance, by expanding the list of felonies that could be used as the basis for a surveillance order; applying the same legal standard in national security cases that is currently used in routine criminal cases for obtaining permission to track telephone traffic with `pen registers' and `trap and trace' devices; and authorizing multiple-point wiretaps where it is impractical to specify the number of the phone to be tapped (such as when a suspect uses a series of cellular phones).
Criminalize the unauthorized use of chemical weapons in solid and liquid form (as they are currently criminalized for use in gaseous form), and permit the miliatry to provide technical assistance when chemical or biological weapons are concerned, similar to previously authorized efforts involving nuclear weapons.
Make it illegal to possess explosives knowing that they are stolen; increase the penalty for anyone who transfers a firearm or explosive materials, knowing that they will be used to commit a crime of violence; and provide enhanced penalties for terrorist attacks against all current and former Federal employees, and their families, when the crime is committed because of the official duties of the federal employee.
In addition, the substitute bill contains a section on habeas corpus reform. This Administration is committed to any reform that would assure dramatically swifter and more efficient resolution of criminal cases while at the same time preserving the historic right to meaningful Federal review. While I do not believe that habeas corpus should be addressed in the context of the counterterrorism bill, I look forward to working with the Senate in the near future on a bill that would accomplish this important objective.
I want to reiterate this Administration's commitment to fashioning a strong and reffective response to terrorist activity that preserves our civil liberties. In combatting terrorism, we must not sacrifice the guarantees of the Bill of Rights, and we will not do so. I look forward to working with the Congress toward the enactment of this critical legislation as soon as possible.
Mr. HATCH. Mr. President, I do not want to lecture to my colleagues on the other side. They all are sincere. They all have their own ideas. But I think it is time for them to start supporting their President. They ought to get behind President Clinton on this issue and, as tough as it is, they ought to pass this bill because we have tried to accommodate the President in every way. I am sure there may be some things where we still are in disagreement but by and large we have put things in here that I would just as soon--that I would just as soon not have in here. There are some other amendments we are probably willing to accept that are germane, that will make a difference here. We are willing to work on it on this side and get it done. But nobody is trying to delay this bill except those who are trying to make it a gun control fight.
I would not mind that if this was the only vehicle that they could make a gun control fight over. I have to say, I would still mind it because it is important that we pass this bill. It is important that we pass it now. It is important that we do what we can against terrorism in this country. But they have all kinds of future legislation from the Judiciary Committee if they want to use that or any other legislation that they can make into a gun control fight if they want to. But they should not do it on this bill. They should not do it on this bill.
Mr. CRAIG. Will the chairman yield?
Mr. HATCH. I yield.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Chair recognizes the Senator from Idaho.
Mr. CRAIG. Mr. President, I thank my chairman for yielding. Let me say this in all due respect to the chairman, who has obviously worked almost since the day of the tragic bombing in Oklahoma City to address the wishes of our President and our majority leader and a great many of America's citizens to change around some of our laws and strengthen them so that innocent people, hopefully, could be protected prior to a criminal element in our society doing what they did and a tragedy resulting.
I and others have watched very closely as the staff of the Judiciary Committee has assembled this legislation from the principles the President laid down and from the principles the majority leader laid down so that no civil liberties in this country would be trampled. I can say that Senator Hatch in due caution has approached this in a way to assure that would not happen. He has now just put into the Record a 10-point letter of May 25 from the President establishing the principles that the President thought were necessary in antiterrorist legislation.
None of those principles embody the four or five amendments that at the last moment are trying to be crammed into this bill. They are primarily gun control amendments. They are primarily amendments that would trample all over the feet of second-amendment-right citizens who are law abiding in every respect.
I thought we were after the criminal element until I saw that nasty word of `politics' slivering into the back door of this critical piece of legislation. And that is wrong, Mr. President. That should not be allowed to happen. In fact, I and others cannot allow it to happen. We support this legislation because we believe America needs it and wants it. And we think that many elements of it will work toward trying to deter, before a tragic event like Oklahoma City or the Tower bombings were to happen, the kind of surveillance and intelligence that is necessary to try to block something like that from happening. But we now know the rest of the story, and it is going to be, unless we stop the politics as usual.
So I am saying at this moment to my leader, let us honor our President in this instance and, if we cannot bring the bill down, if we cannot arrive at a bill that is workable, bring it down, or appeal to the Democrats in this Chamber who support their President and the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and in all fairness the minority leader of that committee, who I do not believe has authored any of these amendments, to get this resolved and get on with the business of the Senate, and say to the American people, `We have addressed your concerns and needs as addressed by this President and the majority leader of the U.S. Senate in a clean, clear criminal bill, not a bill that begins to trample on the ragged edge of the civil liberties of an awful lot of citizens in this country.'
I will object to any effort to propose a unanimous consent, whether it is in the guise of limiting time, all in the name of comity. That is not comity at all. That is called politics in the rawest form. We decided after Oklahoma City that this ought not be politics as usual. It would be unfair to the citizens of our country, and it would be unlike the nature of the Congress of the United States in light of a dramatic human tragedy of the kind that occurred in Oklahoma City to play politics. And we walked away from that opportunity, and the Judiciary Committee, under Orrin Hatch's leadership, stayed away from it and produced a bill that was critical to our country.
The President did not originally agree with habeas corpus. But last night he said on the Larry King Show, and I quote:
And that ought to be done in the context of this terrorist legislation.
This President recognizes the importance of this legislation, and he is willing to bend a bit. Tragically enough, his own Senators are not.
So I appeal to his Democrat Senators at this time to support their President, to support a quality piece of work coming from the Judiciary Committee that has avoided the very concern that many of us have had about trampling on the edge, if not boldly in the center of some of the civil liberties of the citizens of this country. We ought to be able to do that, and we can do that, and we have done it before in times of national crises, to adhere to our constitutional responsibility while at the same time strengthening the fiber of our society and in a way that it could disallow, cause to be avoided, or stopped from happening the kinds of tragedies that occurred in Oklahoma City.
That is what we ought to be about today. That is what this chairman is trying to do, and that is what the majority leader is asking the U.S. Senate to do. Anything less than that, I hope the majority leader would say enough is enough, because he has this President and the American people on his side at this moment, on this issue. And obstructionism, in nature, as is now being laid down and as proposed is not good legislating.
So I hope we can move in that direction. I hope we can resolve this issue. There are a lot of issues before the Senate that deserve to be resolved, and this one should be handled in a timely and appropriate fashion.
Mr. KENNEDY addressed the Chair.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Chair recognizes the Senator from Massachusetts.
Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. President, I have listened to the great eloquence of my friends and colleagues on the other side. I do not know whether they understand what this is really all about. All it is saying is that the requirement that exists now on local law enforcement to destroy their records of multiple sales of handguns after 20 days will not be in effect.
Why is that going to be such an impediment to the consideration of antiterrorism legislation? That is basically the amendment. I mean, what we have found is in the original Brady bill, the requirement that was introduced by the majority leader said that in order to work out the compromise at that particular time, there was going to be the requirement of keeping those records for multiple purchases of handguns for a period of 20 days. Now we find out from law enforcement officials that they cannot police efficiently the wide purchasing practices of many of those that are collecting these arsenals of handguns within that 20-day period. All they are saying is just lift the requirement that they have to destroy it--no requirement that they have to keep it, just lift the requirement that they have to destroy it. We hear, `Well, you are playing politics on this.' This is politics.
Let me just review a little bit for the Members of the Senate some of what has been happening because of the accumulation. Also, I point out to our friends and colleagues who were talking about Oklahoma City that this provision is supported by the police chief in Oklahoma City, and 47 other police chiefs. The Oklahoma City police chief supports this. We are being told that it is irrelevant, when you have the chief of police in Oklahoma City and 47 others that said they want it on there. It will do something about violence in our society, and the accumulation of weapons by various groups that are irresponsible in our society. We are told no, no. We are not going to even let you get a vote on it.
We said we would agree to a short time limit. It is not a very complicated issue. It is either can you vitiate that requirement that exists in law in 20 days or not? We can understand that. People can understand that very quickly. We do not need a long time to debate that. We do not need a long time to debate cop-killer bullets. We debated that issue at the time. But the majority said no, no; we are not going to be able to do it.
Mr. President, I see the majority leader on the floor. I will just take a few moments before yielding the floor to give some idea about what Members of this body know. But certainly, our American citizens ought to be reminded of it. I refer to an excellent article from the Anti-Defamation League about the growth of weapons stockpiles in the various militias that are taking place across the country. I will include selected parts of it in the Record.
`Civil war could be coming, and with it the need to shoot Idaho legislators,' so said Sam Sherwood, leader of the backwoods Idaho-based U.S. Militia Association of March 2, 1995, after meeting with the Idaho Lieutenant Governor.
Sherwood amplified his views in a conversation with the Associated Press on Friday, March 10, 1995. According to the AP:
Sherwood believes that some Idaho lawmakers may . . . come to Washington, DC, and, hence . . . `the need to shoot them,' he said. `Go up and look legislators in the face because someday you may have to blow it off,' Sherwood said.
Then they continue along.
`Judges have been threatened with death, as have State workers and even a State legislator's 7-year-old son. County workers have been instructed to dive under their desks with a telephone in hand if anyone storms their offices,' reports the Missoulaian.
According to one researcher, militia members on the Internet `at one point said they were going to march on Washington and arrest Congress at gunpoint,' and in fact an alert was issued by a militia group which called not only for the arrest of Members of Congress but also their `trial for treason by citizen courts.'
`Blood will be spilled in the streets of America', said a militia leader. It is inevitable.
According to the Arizona Republic, `Militia groups obtained the names and home addresses of all Federal officers in Mississippi, prompting U.S. agencies to post a nationwide alert.'
According to the same article:
A Tennessee man who anticipated an armed battle with one-world government amassed an arsenal. When local police pulled up, he pulled a pistol on two officers, and one shot him in the head.
On July 27, this in the same article:
James Roy Mullins, founder and member of a militia group called the Blue Ridge Hunt Club, was arrested and charged with the possession of a short-barreled rifle with unregistered silencers, and facilitating the unlawful purchase of a firearm. Ultimately, three other members were also charged with firearm offenses. Federal officials said Mullins had formed the club to arm its members in preparation for war with the Government.
What are they arming themselves with? Guns. Guns.
On these issues, the group formed earlier in 1994 had as many as 15 members. They are said to have met three times before Mullins' arrest. While members of the group say that their purpose is to lobby against gun control laws, Federal law enforcement officials tell a much different story. An ATF official who investigated the case said Mullins' organization has a group of confederates to be armed and trained in paramilitary fashion in preparation for armed conflict with Government authorities should firearms legislation become that restrictive. Evidence of such preparation is substantial. In searches of members' homes and storage facilities, Federal agencies found a stockpile of weapons--a stockpile of weapons.
This is just to be able to have information about who is stockpiling weapons and what groups are actually threatening Federal officials and have demonstrated, at least in the tragic incident of Oklahoma, their willingness and ability to use deadly force.
In Mullins' home, agents found 13 guns, several of which had homemade silencers. They found explosives, hand grenades, fuses, and blasting caps.
Even pretrial incarceration has not stopped Mullins from threatening violence. While in jail, he wrote a letter to a friend saying that he wanted to borrow a machine gun in order to `take care of unfinished business' with prosecution witnesses.
The strongest indication of the group's goal was the draft of a portion of a newsletter found on a computer disk obtained by Federal agents. `Hit-and-run tactics will be our method of fighting. We will destroy targets, such as telephone relay centers, bridges, storage tanks, radio towers, airports. Human targets will be engaged when it is beneficial to the cause to eliminate particular individuals who oppose us--troops, police, political figures, snitches,' et cetera.
In one particular rally that they had in Lakeland, FL, in October 1994, there was distributed in large numbers at the rally a flier urging that `All gunowners should fire a warning shot as a signal to the Congress' on November 11 at 11 p.m. `Congress has failed to safeguard the Bill of Rights * * * especially the second amendment.'
A warship will fire a warning shot across a bow, a rattlesnake will sound off; these warnings are never ignored. It is time to warn politicians that if they do not respect the Bill of Rights, they should at least fear the wrath of the people. Congress is forcing the country into a civil war.
Mr. President, all this amendment does is ensures that the reporting conditions do not have to be destroyed after 20 days. This does not say the Federal Government goes out and takes away the arms. It does not restrict people's right to own them. It does not restrict those people's right to purchase. It does not restrict those individual's rights at all to multi-gun purchases. It does not restrict it at all.
All it says is the requirement that after 20 days, those who are going to sell those kinds of weapons do not have to destroy the record of who they sell them to. That is all. They no longer are mandated to destroy the bill of sale, who they sold it to.
The question is why? And the answer is from those 47 police chiefs. They believe that the maintenance of those can be an important and significant weapon in dealing with violence, existing violence and potential violence of the type at which this legislation is directed.
I daresay that this particular provision is as relevant as any other provision that is before the Senate to deal with violence in our society. As I mentioned before, as Senator Biden has pointed out, we are prepared to enter into a time agreement. I am not going to take the time of the Senate to review other provisions that have been included, accepted and supported by other Members that have virtually nothing to do with the fundamental issues of violence and terrorism, but the Members understand that and know it and the Record reflects it.
This is dealing with an instrument which law enforcement officials believe can be extremely important and significant in helping to protect American citizens. It is a simple concept to continue those kinds of records so that law enforcement, both local and State officials, that are investigating crimes and violence will have an additional tool to make these kinds of arrests and prosecutions and to keep this country a safer place.
Mr. President, I hope that we would at least be given the opportunity to have a vote on this measure. I just point out this issue is not going to go away. I also take umbrage with the fact that we have been on this for 2 1/2 days. We spent this morning debating another gun issue where the majority could not decide whether they wanted to vote for it, against it, or accept it. And then after they had their caucus, they decided that they would go ahead and accept it.
I take umbrage with the fact that this is a desire to delay by any of us. The measures which have been debated have been extremely important. We are prepared to cooperate with the managers in any way to get an early resolution. But this matter is of importance to law enforcement officials and to the safety and security of the American people. That is what this measure is about--terrorism. This amendment, a modest amendment, ought to be accepted.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Chair recognizes the majority leader.
Mr. DOLE. Mr. President, it had been my hope following the policy luncheon that we would have a major shortening of the list of amendments on the other side of the aisle. As I understand, there has been really no effort to limit the amendments, except they picked out five or six amendments which are not germane and suggested time agreements on the nongermane amendments. I do not know the merits of this amendment. It may be a very good amendment. I do not debate the Senator from Massachusetts. I do not believe it was suggested in the President's bill--in any of the President's bills. Again, the President sent me a letter on May 25 outlining his objectives for an antiterrorism bill. There is nothing with reference to this amendment in it.
The President did change. We had a vote on the taggants amendment yesterday. We accepted another gun amendment. I think what this has become is the Democrats are bringing up all the gun amendments they have been keeping in their closet.
Mr. President, we are not going to play that game. I made the best effort I could to work with the White House in an effort to pass antiterrorism legislation, but the Democrats just insist they do not want to do that. They do not want to pass antiterrorism legislation. They have already forgotten what happened in Oklahoma City. They want to have a big debate out here, a big political debate to try to score a few political points, and that is not going to happen.
If we want an antiterrorism bill, we will vote for cloture tomorrow morning. If we do not, that is it, we will go on to telecommunications. The majority is not going to play this game for the benefit of a few Democrats who want to continue to try to make political points. It is almost impossible to work with this White House when you have Democrats in the Senate not willing to work with the White House. How do they expect Republicans in the Senate to work with the White House?
We are not going to play these games. We were told we were going to get a big list of amendments that were going to be eliminated. None has been eliminated. So I am going to suggest that we have a period for the transaction of morning business for the next 45 minutes, and we are going to try to determine what is going to happen. If nothing is going to happen, then we will just recess for the day, have a cloture vote tomorrow, and if the Democrats vote against cloture, that is fine. I want all of them to explain to the President why they did not support an antiterrorism bill, a bipartisan antiterrorism bill.
We began this bill on Thursday. We were delayed 1 day because the Democrats had 60-some votes on the budget bill. We have had filibuster by amendment around here all year long, bill after bill after bill. `Oh, do not file cloture, we will just propose 50 or 60 amendments.' We had a record 32 votes in 1 day on amendments on everything they could think of.
So we began on Thursday, and we were on it on Friday and Monday, and now it is Tuesday. Now I understand they do not want to do anything tomorrow. They want to wait and get all these time agreements on habeas corpus. Tomorrow is Wednesday. We are just eating into the August recess day by day, and if nobody cares, it does not make any difference to this Senator, because I assume we will probably be here in any event.
Either we are going to get cooperation on the other side of the aisle or we are going to pull the bill down. I think the best thing to do is wait and have a cloture vote. Stop playing the game. Let us have a cloture vote tomorrow morning, and if Members on that side want to support their President with an antiterrorism bill, they will vote for cloture. If they do not want to support their President, they will vote against cloture. It is all right with this Senator, but we will have kept our word with the President of the United States to deliver him an antiterrorism bill, not a bill with a lot of amendments on it to make a political point for somebody on the other side.
So I have just reached the limit of my patience on this particular measure.