Opposes absolute right to gun ownership
- Let’s take a look at some of the half-baked ideas the Republican Party have kicked around just during the current legislative session in Tallahassee:
- Granting tax cuts for the well-to-do, including for country club memberships;
- Making it harder for the average person to sue big companies;
- Killing the successful anti-smoking advertising campaign;
- Ramming school vouchers down our throats.
Source: Speech at New Democrat Network Breakfast, Apr.1999 , Sep 20, 2000
Voted YES on banning high-capacity magazines of over 10 bullets.
- The term ‘large capacity ammunition feeding device’ means a magazine or similar device that has an overall capacity of more than 10 rounds of ammunition
- It shall be unlawful for a person to import, sell, manufacture, or possess a large capacity ammunition feeding device.
- Shall not apply to the possession of any large capacity ammunition feeding device otherwise lawfully possessed before 2013.
- Shall not apply to qualified or retired law enforcement officers.
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.
Reference: Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act; Bill S.Amdt. 714 to S. 649 ; vote number 13-SV103 on Apr 17, 2013
Voted NO 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:
- Exempt lawsuits brought against individuals who knowingly transfer a firearm that will be used to commit a violent or drug-trafficking crime
- Exempt lawsuits against actions that result in death, physical injury or property damage due solely to a product defect
- Call for the dismissal of all qualified civil liability actions pending on the date of enactment by the court in which the action was brought
- Prohibit the manufacture, import, sale or delivery of armor piercing ammunition, and sets a minimum prison term of 15 years for violations
- Require all licensed importers, manufacturers and dealers who engage in the transfer of handguns to provide secure gun storage or safety devices
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
Prevent unauthorized firearm use with “smart gun” technology.
Nelson adopted the manifesto, “A New Agenda for the New Decade”:
Make America the “Safest Big Country” in the World
After climbing relentlessly for three decades, crime rates started to fall in the 1990s. Nonetheless, the public remains deeply concerned about the prevalence of gun violence, especially among juveniles, and Americans still avoid public spaces like downtown retail areas, parks, and even sports facilities.
We need to keep policing “smart” and community-friendly, prohibiting unjust and counterproductive tactics such as racial profiling; focus on preventing as well as punishing crime; pay attention to what happens to inmates and their families after sentencing; use mandatory testing and treatment to break the cycle of drugs and crime; and enforce and strengthen laws against unsafe or illegal guns. Moreover, we need a renewed commitment to equal justice for all, and we must reject a false choice between justice and safety.
Technology can help in many areas: giving police more information on criminal suspects so they do not rely on slipshod, random stop-and-search methods; allowing lower-cost supervision of people on probation or parole; and making it possible to disable and/or trace guns used by unauthorized persons.
Above all, we need to remember that public safety is the ultimate goal of crime policy. Until Americans feel safe enough to walk their neighborhood streets, enjoy public spaces, and send their children to school without fear of violence, we have not achieved public safety.