Providing for Consideration of Senate Amendments to House Amendment to S. Joseph Woodrow Hatchett United States Courthouse and Federal Building; Providing for Consideration of Senate Amendment to House Amendment to S. Keep Kids Fed Act of Relating to Consideration of Senate Amendment to H.R. Legislative Branch Appropriations Act, and for Other Purposes

Floor Speech

Date: June 24, 2022
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. HUDSON. Madam Speaker, I rise to oppose the previous question so that we can immediately consider my bill, H.R. 7966, the STOP II, Secure Every School and Protect our Nation's Children Act.

It is an honor to be here today. In fact, what an honor that the people of North Carolina's Eighth Congressional District have bestowed upon me to allow me to be their Representative here in the United States Congress.

As I walked the Halls of this Capitol building this morning, I couldn't help but think of the great American patriots who have served here before us.

I think about the patriots who came before, who pledged their lives, their property, and their sacred honor so that we could live in the freedom and prosperity we enjoy today. People like Patrick Henry, who famously said: ``Give me liberty or give me death.''

The courage of our Founders, the faith, the strength of their convictions, the belief in an ideal--indeed, an idea--that all people are endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights. And they devised a Constitution that protects and guarantees these rights. It is an incredible thing to think about, the legacy they have left in the hands of this, the 117th Congress. Each one of us swore an oath when we accepted this office. It wasn't an oath to a person or a political party. It was an oath to defend the Constitution.

The issue before us today is what can we do--no, what should we do when faced with the challenge before us, this epidemic of children taking the lives of other children in our schools?

Every single one of us grieves for the lives taken. As the father of an elementary school child, my heart aches for the lives lost and the unimaginable pain and grief felt by those who love them. Neither party cares more about this. Neither political party has a monopoly on wanting to do something.

That is why Republicans have come to the table with ideas that will actually get to some of the root causes of this violence. More than 12 pieces of legislation have been introduced by Republican Members of this House to strengthen background checks, to improve law enforcement coordination and response, to address the mental health needs of our children, to make schools safer, and to prevent this violence.

To date, my colleagues across the aisle have been unwilling to engage with us, to seek consensus, to work together to solve this problem.

Just a few weeks ago, the majority party brought forth a package of gun control measures. This legislation targeted the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens. This legislation did nothing to address the security in our schools. It did nothing to provide better mental health resources to improve the ability of school officials and law enforcement to intervene with these children in crisis. But it did let a lot of people around here feel better, because they could go home and say: We did something.

Over in the Senate, they aren't even considering this reckless package of bills. But Republicans and Democrats in the Senate did attempt to work together to find a solution, and there are many things that I like about this Senate legislation. In fact, I am flattered that they use much of the mental health and school safety provisions from my legislation. But as much as we feel the need to do something to tackle this problem, we cannot forget that oath that we all took on the first day of this Congress.

Our highest calling as a Member of Congress is to defend the Constitution. And that is where this legislation sent to us by the Senate falls short. This open-ended gun control legislation opens the door to Federal funding of State red flag laws. First of all, these laws don't work.

Madam Speaker, I include in the Record a list of 12 mass shootings that have taken place in States that already have red flag laws. ``Red Flag'' Failures

May 14, 2022, Buffalo, N.Y.

Payton S. Gedron, 10 fatalities

New York's ``Red Flag'' law went into effect August 24, 2019

May 26, 2021, San Jose, Calif.

Samuel Cassidy, 9 fatalities

California's ``Red Flag'' law was enacted in 2016

April 15, 2021, Indianapolis, Ind.

Brandon Scott Hole, 8 fatalities

Indiana's ``Red Flag'' law went into effect in 2005

March 31, 2021, Orange, Calif.

Aminadab Gaxiola Gonzalez, 4 fatalities

California's ``Red Flag'' law was enacted in 2016

March 22, 2021, Boulder, Colo.

Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, 10 fatalities

Colorado's ``Red Flag'' law went into effect January 2020

December 10, 2019, Jersey City, N.J.

David N. Anderson and Francine Graham, 4 fatalities

New Jersey's ``Red Flag'' law went into effect September 1, 2019

July 28, 2019, Gilroy, Calif.

Santino William LeGan, 3 fatalities, 12 injured

California's ``Red Flag'' law was enacted in 2016

February 15, 2019, Aurora, Ill.

Gary Martin, 5 fatalities

Illinois's ``Red Flag'' law went into effect January 1, 2019

January 23, 2019, Sebring, Fla.

Zephen A. Xaver, 5 fatalities

Florida's ``Red Flag'' law took effect March 2018

November 7, 2018, Thousand Oaks, Calif.

Ian David Long, 12 fatalities

California's ``Red Flag'' law was enacted in 2016

September 12, 2018, Bakersfield, Calif.

Javier Casarez, 5 fatalities

California's ``Red Flag'' law was enacted in 2016

November 14, 2017, Rancho Tehama, Calif.

Kevin Janson Neal, 5 fatalities

California's ``Red Flag'' law was enacted in 2016

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Mr. HUDSON. Madam Speaker, the State with the most mass shootings is California. California has the most restrictive gun laws in America. California already has a red flag law. But more important to this debate, red flag laws subvert due process protections and threaten the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens.

Why would we agree to borrow more money that we don't have so the Federal Government can give it to States to enact laws that don't work and that actually threaten the rights of our citizens?

Why would we do that?

Second, this legislation singles out law-abiding citizens under the age of 21 by giving the government discretion to delay, for any reason, their constitutionally protected right to a firearm--a right, by the way, affirmed, yet again, by the Supreme Court just yesterday.

We all want to keep firearms out of the hands of people that shouldn't have them, and I am willing to consider ways to better identify people with mental health challenges, but I can't help but think about that 20-year-old paratrooper stationed in Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Our Nation entrusted him to defend us with an automatic weapon or a multimillion-dollar-weapon system, but we can't trust him with a semiautomatic weapon to defend themselves in their own home?

What about the 20-year-old spouse back home in Spring Lake, North Carolina, alone because our paratrooper has deployed in service of our Nation. Are we to tell this spouse that the government doesn't trust you to defend your home?

Instead, we are going to delay your purchase for 10 days. At the end of the 10 days, the government doesn't even have to get back to the gun owner or the gun store. Let that gun dealer decide if they want to take a risk on selling you this firearm while an FBI investigation is still open.

No, this is a de facto ban on gun sales to law-abiding citizens under the age of 21.

Third, this legislation also broadens firearm prohibitions for misdemeanors and nonviolent offenders. I think most of us can agree, someone convicted of beating up their spouse ought to be put on the background check system. The law extends this to misdemeanor assault on a spouse or someone with whom you share a child. But we have to be careful when we are talking about taking away a constitutionally protected right over other misdemeanors.

The language of this bill is so broad it can include nonviolent offenders, and I am concerned that the due process protections are simply not there.

So what are we proposing today? Let's set aside these controversial unconstitutional provisions that divide us. Let's unite around the idea that we are going to tackle the real causes of this violence. These school shootings are almost always done by a young male, often from a single-parent or no-parent home. They have experienced some trauma in their life. Most are likely on some behavioral medication, and they have shown plenty of signs of being in crisis. Yet, effective intervention and mental health treatment did not happen.

So let's start there. Today, I rise to propose we defeat this previous question and replace the Senate language with H.R. 7966.

This legislation builds on the STOP School Violence Act signed into law in 2018 by providing a billion dollars in grants to hire more school resource officers. It provides $1 billion to hire mental health guidance counselors so that schools have the resources to intervene with these children in crisis.

Imagine, if we had been able to intervene with the shooter in Uvalde before he dropped out of high school.

This legislation includes $5 billion to fund STOP School Violence programs to make schools safer, to provide active shooter training to law enforcement, and to better equip school officials and students and law enforcement to intervene before one of these students reaches the breaking point. This $7 billion is paid for by redirecting unspent COVID-19 funds that have already been approved.

Also, under my legislation, schools can apply for a threat assessment to identify weaknesses in their security and to assess the mental health services at the school. We would also codify a clearinghouse at Homeland Security to collect and share best practices for school safety. These are practical, commonsense solutions that we should all be able to agree will have a real impact.

Madam Speaker, I agree with my friend. Now is our moment. Today, we can come together--Republicans and Democrats--and really address these issues in a meaningful way. We can do this while at the same time keeping the promise made by the sacrifice and the courage of our Founders by upholding our pledge on the first day in office to defend this Constitution.

Madam Speaker, I urge my colleagues to vote against the previous question so we can immediately consider this important legislation. God bless you.

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