Sen. Vincent J. Fumo

District Office

1208 Tasker Street
Phila, PA 19148

Harrisburg Office

545 Main Capitol
Hbg, PA 17120



Remarks on the Floor of the Senate, May 10, 2000

     Mr. President, I rise to take issue with my two colleagues who have just spoken on a number of points. Number one, I do not know that the love of a father for his children is any less than the love of a mother for her children. While I fully appreciate and think it is a wonderful thing that Americans gather in Washington to express their concern about violence, gun violence and their children, I do believe that the liberal position that they have taken and that has been espoused on behalf of their leadership is simply unbelievably and thoroughly misguided.

     You are not going to stop gun violence by registering guns. It is just another liberal political way to avoid the true issue, which is the fact that the only way you are going to stop gun violence is to spend money enforcing the laws we have today. Is there anyone out there in their right mind who really thinks that if we had a law requiring guns to be registered that criminals would ever get in line to register their guns? Mr. President, it is folly, it is foolish, it is misguided, and as long as we are carrying on this debate, regrettably started by my President, Bill Clinton, that, gee we need more laws to fight gun crime, all we are doing is diverting their attentions from demanding that more money be spent on enforcing the laws we have today.

     Mr. President, it is also a shame, albeit I understand, but it is a shame that we have gotten into the name-calling game of blaming everything that is wrong with a gun on the National Rifle Association. Mr. President, they are advocates for their position, and sometimes I think they go too far, but on the other hand, if we were ever to stifle their position, we will be stifling part of our own heritage and part of our own rights. Mr. President, I feel the same way about the ACLU. Sometimes they go too far, but they, too, have a legitimate role to play in society and it is not fair to start calling them names and it is not fair to start using them as a whipping boy. We have seen both happen. I remember when the ACLU was condemned, just as the NRA is being condemned today.

     What we have to remember, Mr. President, is that what we are facing in our society today is a lack of parental control, a lack of the family. While I commend those mothers for doing what they are doing, I think it would be much better if they spent the day with their children, teaching them about manners, teaching them about respect of law, and teaching them about the dangers of guns, and all those other things that they should be doing. I am not against them going to Washington, but I wish they would reconsider their role in lives as well.

     Mr. President, one of the speakers, I believe it was Senator Schwartz, got up and complained that in Pennsylvania, we should be doing more. I take personal offense at that remark. We in Pennsylvania over two years ago passed the most broad reaching, far-sweeping gun control legislation in America, and it was the only legislation that I can recall, or anybody else can recall, that was ever agreed to by the National Rifle Association and Handgun Control, Inc. And, Mr. President, right in that legislation was the fact that gun shows in Pennsylvania would be regulated and you could not buy a handgun without going through the background checks and the instant background checks. I get offended when people do not understand what they are talking about, and then condemn us for not doing something that we have already done.

     Mr. President, the thing that has me upset is that while this law has been on the books, not one district attorney in this State that I know of has made use of it to go after the criminals who are selling guns illegally, which is causing this problem. That is what offends me. We have already given them the tools, but rather than expend the money on using those tools, they would rather come back here and bellyache and moan and divert attention from their own shortcomings by telling us they need more laws.

     Mr. President, nobody needs more laws in this area. What we need is enforcement. And as long as this debate rages, and as long as the Clinton White House continues to yell and scream that they need more laws, the laws we have are not being enforced and the public is not demanding that they be enforced because they are being conned into by thinking they are not there. They are there. The problem is the prosecutorial bureaucracy does not want to go after these things because they are not sexy. They are not the things you get reelected on. They are not murders. Sometimes they are, but going after technicalities of Pennsylvania’s gun laws is not a sexy thing to do, but it is their sworn responsibility to do it. They are not doing it. And as a result, people think that they need more laws.

     So, Mr. President, while I am happy to see any group of Americans march on Washington for anything, certainly the Congressmen down there could use a little nudge once in a while to do something about anything, I do think that the feelings engendered by this particular march are very much misguided, and as long as that debate rages on with the liberals pressing for the shell game of more laws as opposed to enforcement, our whole country suffers. The pleas on this floor and the pleas of those women in Washington should be to enforce the law, spend what it takes to protect us. The tools are there. Do not waste time asking for new tools when you are not using the ones that you have.

     Thank you, Mr. President.


Copyright 2000 Sen. Vincent J. Fumo