Richard Blumenthal on Gun Control
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.
While widely recognized today as a major political force and as America's foremost defender of Second Amendment rights, the National Rifle Association (NRA) has, since its inception, been the premier firearms education organization in the world. But our successes would not be possible without the tireless efforts and countless hours of service our nearly three million members have given to champion Second Amendment rights and support NRA programs.
The following ratings are based on lifetime voting records on gun issues and the results of a questionaire sent to all Congressional candidates; the NRA assigned a letter grade (with A+ being the highest and F being the lowest).
Amends the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act
H.R.8: To require a background check for every firearm sale. This Act may be cited as the "Background Check Expansion Act".
Opposing argument from the Heritage Foundation, 2/26/2019: Heritage Action opposes the Bipartisan Background Checks Act (H.R. 8) and will include it as a key vote on our legislative scorecard. This legislation would require universal background checks for all firearm sales (even private) with specific exceptions. Unfortunately, universal background checks would do little to prevent firearm violence and would instead make it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to purchase, own, carry, and use a firearm. Studies show that universal background checks are largely ineffective when it comes to preventing mass shootings. In addition, most people imprisoned for firearm-related crimes access their firearms illegally through theft, the underground market, family members, or friends. H.R. 8 is poorly written and makes criminals out of many law-abiding Americans who commonly make low-risk firearm transfers.
Legislative outcome Roll call 99 in House on 2/27/2019 passed 240-190-2; introduced in Senate 1/8/2019; no action as of 3/28/2020.
H.R.8 - Bipartisan Background Checks Act: This bill establishes new background check requirements for firearm transfers between private parties (i.e., unlicensed individuals). Specifically, it prohibits a firearm transfer between private parties unless a licensed gun dealer, manufacturer, or importer first takes possession of the firearm to conduct a background check. The prohibition does not apply to gifts between spouses in good faith.
Heritage Action opinion to vote NO (Feb. 26, 2019): This legislation would require universal background checks for all firearm sales (even private). Unfortunately, universal background checks would do little to prevent firearm violence and would instead make it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to purchase, own, carry, and use a firearm. Studies show that universal background checks are largely ineffective when it comes to preventing mass shootings. In 19 of the most recent high-profile cases, the shooters bought their firearms legally and passed all the required background checks.
White House Statement (Biden's opinion to vote YES): Gun violence is a public health crisis. Every day, gun violence--community violence, domestic violence, suicides, and mass shootings--takes American lives and forever alters many more. Last year, we saw record levels of homicides in cities throughout our country. The Federal gun background check system is a proven tool to reduce gun violence and save lives. This system, called the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, has kept millions of guns out of potentially dangerous hands. The Administration encourages closing existing loopholes in this system [such as private transfers in H.R. 8].
Legislative Outcome: Passed House 227-203-1 on 03/11/2021 (rollcall #75); introduced in Senate with 36 co-sponsors; no further Senate action during 2021.
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Senate races 2021-22:
AK: Incumbent Lisa Murkowski(R)
vs.Challenger Kelly Tshibaka(R)
vs.2020 candidate Al Gross(D)
vs.State Sen. Elvi Gray-Jackson(D)
AL: Incumbent Richard Shelby(R) vs.U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks(R) vs.Ambassador Lynda Blanchard(R) vs.Katie Britt(R) vs.Judge Jessica Taylor(R) vs.Brandaun Dean(D) vs.Mike Durant(R) vs.
AR: Incumbent John Boozman(R)
vs.Candidate Dan Whitfield(D)
AZ: Incumbent Mark Kelly(D)
vs.CEO Jim Lamon(R) vs.Blake Masters(R)
vs.A.G. Mark Brnovich(R) vs.Mick McGuire(R)
vs.State Rep. Justin Olson(R)
CA: Incumbent Alex Padilla(D)
vs.2018 Senate candidate James Bradley(R)
vs.State Rep. Jerome Horton(D)
CO: Incumbent Michael Bennet(D)
vs.State Rep. Ron Hanks(R)
CT: Incumbent Richard Blumenthal(D)
vs.Challenger Joe Visconti(R)
vs.2018 & 2020 House candidate John Flynn(R)
vs.State Rep. Themis Klarides(R)
FL: Incumbent Marco Rubio(R)
vs.U.S.Rep. Val Demings(D)
vs.U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson(D)
GA: Incumbent Raphael Warnock(D)
vs.Navy vet Latham Saddler(R)
HI: Incumbent Brian Schatz(D)
IA: Incumbent Chuck Grassley(R)
vs.State Sen. Jim Carlin(R)
vs.Former U.S. Rep IA-1 Abby Finkenauer(D)
ID: Incumbent Mike Crapo(R)
IL: Incumbent Tammy Duckworth(D)
IN: Incumbent Todd Young(R)
vs.Challenger Haneefah Abdul-Khaaliq(D)
vs.Psychologist Valerie McCray(D)
KS: Incumbent Jerry Moran(R)
KY: Incumbent Rand Paul(R)
vs.State Rep Charles Booker(D)
LA: Incumbent John Kennedy(R)
MD: Incumbent Chris Van Hollen(D)
MO: Incumbent Roy Blunt(R)
vs.Trudy Busch Valentine(D)
vs.Eric Greitens(R) vs.Scott Sifton(D)
vs.Eric Schmitt(R) vs.Lucas Kunce(D)
vs.Mark McClosky(R) vs.Vicky Hartzler(R)
vs.Tim Shepard(D) vs.Billy Long(R) vs.State Sen. Dave Schatz(R)
NC: Incumbent Richard Burr(R,retiring)
vs.Ted Budd(R) vs.Pat McCrory(R)
vs.Cheri Beasley(D) vs.Rett Newton(D)
ND: Incumbent John Hoeven(R)
vs.Michael J. Steele(D)
vs.State Rep. Rick Becker(R)
NH: Incumbent Maggie Hassan(D)
vs.State Rep. Chuck Morse(R)
NV: Incumbent Catherine Cortez Masto(D)
NY: Incumbent Chuck Schumer(D)
OH: Incumbent Rob Portman(R,retiring)
vs.Jane Timken(R) vs.Josh Mandel(R)
vs.JD Vance(R) vs.Mike Gibbons(R)
vs.Morgan Harper(D) vs.Matt Dolan(R)
OK-6: Incumbent James Lankford(R)
OK-4: James Inhofe(R,resigning)
vs.Nathan Dahm(R) vs.Rep. Markwayne Mullin(R) vs.Speaker T.W. Shannon(R) vs.State Sen.Scott Pruitt(R) vs.Rep.Kendra Horn(D)
OR: Incumbent Ron Wyden(D)
vs.QAnon adherent Jo Rae Perkins(R)
PA: Incumbent Pat Toomey(R,retiring)
vs.Everett Stern(R) vs.Jeff Bartos(R)
vs.John Fetterman(D) vs.Malcolm Kenyatta(D)
vs.Kathy Barnette(R) vs.Sharif Street(D)
vs.Conor Lamb(D) vs.Sean Parnell(R)
vs.Craig Snyder(R) vs.Mehmet Oz(R) vs.David McCormick(R)
SC: Incumbent Tim Scott(R)
vs.State Rep. Krystle Matthews(D)
SD: Incumbent John Thune(R)
vs.Veteran Brian Bengs(D)
UT: Incumbent Mike Lee(R) vs.Allen Glines(D)
vs.Austin Searle(D) vs.Evan McMullin(I)
VT: Incumbent Patrick Leahy(D)
WA: Incumbent Patty Murray(D)
vs.Challenger Tiffany Smiley(R)
WI: Incumbent Ron Johnson(R) vs.Tom Nelson(D)
vs.Sarah Godlewski(D) vs.Alex Lasry(D)
vs.Chris Larson(D) vs.Mandela Barnes(D)
Senate Votes (analysis)