McConnell to Democrats: Stop Playing Politics With Public Safety
‘In city after city, powerful Democrats vocally refused to uphold their responsibilities to protect public safety. Violent crime filled the void. Against this backdrop, the American people chose to defend themselves by exercising a core constitutional right. But now, as Democrats at the state and local level play politics with public safety, Democrats here in Washington want to make gun ownership in America more burdensome than ever.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding crime:
“Yesterday, President Biden announced that his administration would attempt to combat the alarming rise in violent crime unfolding in cities across our country… by making it harder for law-abiding Americans to exercise their constitutional right to keep and bear arms.
“And today, our colleagues on the Judiciary Committee voted on the nomination of a person the President intends to lead this effort.
“David Chipman was tapped to be Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. If he’s confirmed, this nominee would bring to the job a dangerous and unprecedented hostility to the Second Amendment.
“We know it from his record as an anti-gun extremist. And we know it from the reputation he’s earned among ATF veterans as a, quote, ‘activist’ and ‘a rabid partisan.’
“It should go without saying that these are exactly the wrong motivations to encourage at the helm of the agency charged with firearms enforcement. Then again, it should also go without saying that responsible gun owners don’t cause surges in violent crime – they actually prevent them.
“Unfortunately, Democrats’ latest bout of cognitive dissonance on crime didn’t begin this week. Let’s consider what’s unfolded over the past year.
“Last summer, across America, peaceful protests were overtaken by lawless rioters.
“For nights on end, violence and looting left cities in flames. And in too many state capitals and city halls, local officials froze under pressure from the Left and failed to protect their citizens, their homes, and their businesses.
“In fact, at every level of government, elected Democrats instead rapidly embraced radical calls to ‘defund the police.’
“To the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars, they succeeded in gutting local law enforcement budgets and validating the worst instincts of anti-police agitators.
“The President of the Minneapolis City Council called on her colleagues to, quote, ‘imagine a future without police.’
“And sure enough, in Los Angeles, police were told to make do after a cut of $150 million. In Seattle, the PD budget shrank by nearly 20%. Defunding efforts here in Washington, D.C. were passed by committee unanimously.
“The Biden Administration has amplified these efforts by appointing avowed supporters of defunding the police, like Vanita Gupta and Kristen Clarke, to high ranking positions in the Department of Justice – the agency charged with enforcing federal criminal law.
“We didn’t have to imagine the consequences of betraying the brave officers charged with keeping the peace.
“Millions of Americans have been living this dangerous new reality for months.
“Last year closed with the nation’s sharpest one-year increase in homicides in decades. In New York City, the murder rate jumped nearly 45 percent. And in my hometown of Louisville, it’s already on pace this year to exceed last year’s all-time record.
“New fears arose in communities across the country. And as Democrats flirted with their imagined future without police, Americans did exactly what you’d expect of a free people. They looked to their own defense and exercised their Second Amendment rights in record numbers.
“The FBI processed nearly 40 million background checks on gun purchases last year, shattering previous records. And nationwide, 40% of the guns sold last year were purchased by first-time buyers.
“In particular, members of racial minority groups joined the ranks of gun owners in record numbers.
“So let’s review:
“In city after city, powerful Democrats vocally refused to uphold their responsibilities to protect public safety. Violent crime filled the void. Against this backdrop, the American people chose to defend themselves by exercising a core constitutional right.
“But now, as Democrats at the state and local level play politics with public safety, Democrats here in Washington want to make gun ownership in America more burdensome than ever.
“Prominent voices on the left – including some of our colleagues -- fanned the flames of a dangerously misguided experiment. And law-abiding Americans are paying the price.
“Here in the Senate, Republicans have been focused all along on making American communities safer. It’s why we supported Tim Scott’s efforts to pass police reform that empowered law enforcement to do their jobs well, rather than federalizing and defunding the police.
“It’s the reason Chairman Graham and 46 other Republican Senators joined me today to demand publicly that the Department of Justice cease its efforts to restrict the use of common pistol-brace devices by lawful gun owners.
“We’re talking about a plan that would turn millions of law-abiding Americans into criminals with the stroke of a pen.
“It would be an outrageous violation. And we expect DOJ to withdraw this attempted confiscation.
“Federal law enforcement should focus on the criminals committing violent crimes in American cities, not on law-abiding gun owners.
“So Republicans will continue to stand for Americans’ Second Amendment rights – as a matter of public safety, and of basic freedoms.”
Related Issues: Second Amendment, Law Enforcement