Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy On the Thune Amendment

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy On the Thune Amendment

This is a discussion on Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy On the Thune Amendment within the The Second Amendment & Gun Legislation Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; U.S. SENATOR PATRICK LEAHY CONTACT: Office of Senator Leahy, 202-224-4242 VERMONT Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy On the Thune Amendment, No. 1618 Senate Floor Congressional ...

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  1. #1
    Senior Member Array mrreynolds's Avatar
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    Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy On the Thune Amendment

    U.S. SENATOR PATRICK LEAHY

    CONTACT: Office of Senator Leahy, 202-224-4242

    VERMONT

    Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy
    On the Thune Amendment, No. 1618
    Senate Floor
    Congressional Record
    July 22, 2009

    When the Supreme Court handed down its decision in District of Columbia v. Heller I applauded the Court for affirming what so many Americans already believe: The Second Amendment protects an individual right to own a firearm. The Heller decision reaffirmed and strengthened our Bill of Rights.

    Vermont has some of the least restrictive gun laws in the country. One does not need a permit to carry a concealed firearm, and citizens of Vermont are by and large trusted to conduct themselves responsibly and safely. In my experience, Vermonters do just that. Like many Vermonters, I grew up with firearms and have enormous respect and appreciation for the freedoms that the Second Amendment protects. Like other protections in by our Bill of Rights, the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms is one that I cherish.

    As a prosecutor, I protected the rights of Vermonters to possess firearms. As a Senator, I have carefully considered Federal efforts to regulate firearms, and always with an eye toward the burdens it may impose on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding American citizens.

    Justice Scalia’s decision for the Supreme Court in Heller acknowledged that some reasonable regulation can and does coexist with the Second Amendment, just as it does for other rights in our Bill of Rights. The States have traditionally played the strongest role in regulating firearms based on State and local concerns. Most firearms regulation is decided within States as an issue of State police power. This is how it should be.

    I feel strongly that the principles of federalism demand that the Federal Government minimize its intrusion into the policy judgments made by State and local officials, citizens and state legislators, especially in matters of public safety. I believe this is true whether the Federal Government seeks to restrict the activities of Americans, or it seeks to second guess what State officials have decided is proper regulation. Whenever the Federal Government imposes its will some citizens may be happy, but others will be disappointed. This is particularly true when such Federal action involves matters of safety and police power at the State level. The Federal Government plays a role in regulating the importation of firearms and has in providing a framework for interstate commerce.

    Senator Thune’s amendment imposes the policy judgments of the Federal Government on the States. Just as I would vigorously oppose any Federal effort to restrict the ability of a State to allow its citizens to carry firearms in a concealed manner, I oppose this effort to second-guess the judgments of State and local officials across the country in relation to permitting people to carry a concealed firearm. Just as I would resist Federal legislation that prohibited States from entering reciprocity agreements with each other to honor one another’s concealed carry permits, I do not believe the Federal Government ought to be forcing States to treat citizens from other States differently than it treats its own on this public safety matter. The Thune amendment represents the Federal Government intruding into the gun laws of the States. It could even result in some States repealing their concealed carry laws to avoid the impact of the Federal law.

    What works in Vermont does not necessarily work in New York City. And what works in New York City would not get a warm welcome in Vermont. That is the beauty of our Federal system. When it comes to public safety and police power, the Federal Government ought to respect the judgments of the States, their citizens, elected officials, and law enforcement agencies.

    [LINK]


  2. #2
    Member Array Holger's Avatar
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    Well, I have to say I agree with him. Now, if only national Democrats would apply this "states' rights" philosophy to every OTHER issue facing our Republic, we might get somewhere.

    While I agree with Leahy in this particular instance, I think he's being highly selective in his espousal of "states rights."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Holger View Post
    Well, I have to say I agree with him. Now, if only national Democrats would apply this "states' rights" philosophy to every OTHER issue facing our Republic, we might get somewhere.

    While I agree with Leahy in this particular instance, I think he's being highly selective in his espousal of "states rights."
    +1 it is a States issue and should remain as such.

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    New Member Array landofvanill's Avatar
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    Well said. I was on the fence and could find reasons to be happy with either outcome, but I think the realized outcome was for the best.

    Quote Originally Posted by mrreynolds View Post
    It could even result in some States repealing their concealed carry laws to avoid the impact of the Federal law.

  5. #5
    Member Array Monkeytown's Avatar
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    It's amazing how Leahy touts State's rights in this case, yet supported the so-called Stimulus, Cap & Trade and Health Care reform that does nothing but grow the heft of the federal government. This statement is nothing but lip service to try and protect himself against the wrath of the CCW holders in Vermont. Nothing more, nothing less!!

    BTW - I agree with the premise of his statement, i.e. State's Rights.
    "Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." Benjamin Franklin

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    Senior Member Array Moga's Avatar
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    To the idea that at issue is states' rights. I'd like to point to the Article IV, Section I of the United States Constitution. Also known as the "Full Faith and Credit Clause." Here is a summary from Wiki.

    Article IV, Section 1 of the United States Constitution, commonly known as the Full Faith and Credit Clause, addresses the duties that states within the United States have to respect the "public acts, records, and judicial proceedings" of other states. According to the Supreme Court, there is a difference between the credit owed to laws (i.e. legislative measures and common law) as compared to the credit owed to judgments. Judgments are generally entitled to greater respect than laws, in other states. At present, it is widely agreed that this Clause of the Constitution has little impact on a court's choice of law decision, although this Clause of the Constitution was once interpreted differently.[4]

    28 U.S.C. § 1738: Such Acts, records and judicial proceedings or copies thereof, so authenticated, shall have the same full faith and credit in every court within the US and it Territories and Possessions as they have by law or usage in the courts of such State, Territory or Possession from which they are taken.

    The full faith and credit clause explains reciprocity in licenses, and extradition in crimes.
    Vitter and Thune were not dabbling willy-nilly into issues of federalism. They based their bill on a legitimate vehicle of the US Constitution to expand CCW rights for us all. I just can't comprehend how some folks will accept that Thune-Vitter impinged on states rights. How? Had the measure had passed into law, the states' sovereignty would have been intact as the states would have maintained full control over the permitting process and no new rules could be enforced by the feds on the states as a result of the amendment. Refer to S.Amdt 1618, section (b), subsection ``(d) for the applicable language. A visitor with an out of state CCW still has to abide by the host states' laws just as if he was a citizen of the host state with a native license/permit. And if there is not a provision for CCW, then that state is off limits to licensees as its always been. Clearly, the idea that the rights of the states' would have been trampled is a straw man argument.

    National reciprocity is no more of a segue toward centralized federal control of handgun licenses than national reciprocity of operator's licenses is some grand scheme for the .fed to become the authority of that process. Some of us let our fears stand in the way of getting behind a good bill.

    It's really too bad that it didn't pass but I suspect that we shall see this legislation again before it's all over.
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    Restricted Member Array SelfDefense's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moga View Post
    To the idea that at issue is states' rights. I'd like to point to the Article IV, Section I of the United States Constitution. Also known as the "Full Faith and Credit Clause." Here is a summary from Wiki.
    Another wikipedia poster.

    Are you aware that ANYONE can wrote whatever they want there? Just asking?

    The fact is that the Full Faith and Credit clause concerns itself with contracts. You cannot escape a contractual obligations (or punishments) by moving to another state. This provides Federal authority that provides power from onw state to another. It has nothing to do with CCW permits, driers licenses, marriage certificates or the like.

    Vitter and Thune were not dabbling willy-nilly into issues of federalism. They based their bill on a legitimate vehicle of the US Constitution to expand CCW rights for us all. I just can't comprehend how some folks will accept that Thune-Vitter impinged on states rights. How?
    By mandating the states do something that is not a power provided by the Constitution. It really is simple.

    Had the measure had passed into law, the states' sovereignty would have been intact as the states would have maintained full control over the permitting process and no new rules could be enforced by the feds on the states as a result of the amendment.
    Completely wrong. It would FORCE a state to accept the standards (and whims) of another state.

    Your argument should be that the by the privileges and immunities clause that states MUST allow citizens of other states to apply for the permits in their state.

    Refer to S.Amdt 1618, section (b), subsection ``(d) for the applicable language. A visitor with an out of state CCW still has to abide by the host states' laws just as if he was a citizen of the host state with a native license/permit.
    That is EXACTLY the point. They DO NOT HAVE A NATIVE PERMIT.

    National reciprocity is no more of a segue toward centralized federal control of handgun licenses than national reciprocity of operator's licenses is some grand scheme for the .fed to become the authority of that process. Some of us let our fears stand in the way of getting behind a good bill.
    You one world government people are truly amazing. Let's forget the states, a national government would be a better solution to all our problems. This was a horrible bill, it was good it was defeated, and should be defeated everytime it reappears.

  8. #8
    Member Array Faitmaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moga View Post
    To the idea that at issue is states' rights. I'd like to point to the Article IV, Section I of the United States Constitution. Also known as the "Full Faith and Credit Clause." Here is a summary from Wiki.



    Vitter and Thune were not dabbling willy-nilly into issues of federalism. They based their bill on a legitimate vehicle of the US Constitution to expand CCW rights for us all. I just can't comprehend how some folks will accept that Thune-Vitter impinged on states rights. How? Had the measure had passed into law, the states' sovereignty would have been intact as the states would have maintained full control over the permitting process and no new rules could be enforced by the feds on the states as a result of the amendment. Refer to S.Amdt 1618, section (b), subsection ``(d) for the applicable language. A visitor with an out of state CCW still has to abide by the host states' laws just as if he was a citizen of the host state with a native license/permit. And if there is not a provision for CCW, then that state is off limits to licensees as its always been. Clearly, the idea that the rights of the states' would have been trampled is a straw man argument.

    National reciprocity is no more of a segue toward centralized federal control of handgun licenses than national reciprocity of operator's licenses is some grand scheme for the .fed to become the authority of that process. Some of us let our fears stand in the way of getting behind a good bill.

    It's really too bad that it didn't pass but I suspect that we shall see this legislation again before it's all over.
    You have a horrible understanding of the Constitution.
    How many times has SCOTUS said that the 2nd does not apply to the States?

    DL's are a bad analogy because A) that is a compact between the states (basically they all agree) and they also have the same requirements to get a DL. Could you imagine if Nebraska decided you did not need to take a driver's test to get a DL? or Vermont decided that anyone legally allowed to own a car could drive them?

    Repeat this 10 times. State power, state sovereignty.
    "The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities." - Ayn Rand

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    VIP Member Array joker1's Avatar
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    I gotta agree with him. I wish my CCL was applicable nationwide wide but we don't want the federal government any more into our business than they already are. This is an issue that needs to be worked out between the states, I believe it could be done, with the exception of illinois, new york, new jersey, and california etc. We just need to know the rules for states we travel to and decide how bad we want to go there.

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    Distinguished Member Array jumpwing's Avatar
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    This bill would have provided precedence for forcing Texas (for example) to honor a gay marriage licensed by Massachussettes.

    It's something to think about. Regardless of whether or not "marriage" is a Constitutional right, we all know it could easily be spun that way in the Courts.
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    Member Array socal2310's Avatar
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    I'm sorry, but I'm calling balderdash. I could appreciate what he was saying up until he made the following statement:

    What works in Vermont does not necessarily work in New York City. And what works in New York City would not get a warm welcome in Vermont.
    Perhaps I'm just paranoid, but I've heard too many members of the Brady Bunch say exactly the same thing. Once more (though I feel I say it until I am blue in the face) liberalizing concealed carry permits will have no direct effect upon criminals who do not bother with legal niceties such as permits and (since most are repeat offenders) are often prohibited from owning firearms in any case.

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    Restricted Member Array SelfDefense's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by socal2310 View Post
    Perhaps I'm just paranoid, but I've heard too many members of the Brady Bunch say exactly the same thing. Once more (though I feel I say it until I am blue in the face) liberalizing concealed carry permits will have no direct effect upon criminals who do not bother with legal niceties such as permits and (since most are repeat offenders) are often prohibited from owning firearms in any case.
    I think you are missing the point. It has nothing to do with whether criminals carry despite the law. The issue is whether the people of a sovereign state can choose their own laws and their own government. Why should the people of Vermont be forced to live the way the people of New York choose to live?

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    VIP Member Array Thanis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SelfDefense View Post
    I think you are missing the point. It has nothing to do with whether criminals carry despite the law. The issue is whether the people of a sovereign state can choose their own laws and their own government. Why should the people of Vermont be forced to live the way the people of New York choose to live?
    It is a good argument SelfDefense, but it assumes all states are being reasonable with permit requirements and reciprocity in light of 2A.

    I find this to be an odd issue, because on one hand, I find many of the states I, as a MI citizen do not have reciprocity with, to be unreasonable.

    So I want to make caveats in the bill would have been fine, if only it had requirements like: "issued to resident of state permit", state's permit has a back-ground check requirement, and the CC permit holder must abide by the laws of that state's CC permit holders.

    I feel good about that, not so much because I think it is a reasonable standard, as because with a little research, as a practical matter, I could carry. Then I get that gut feeling that you now have a national standard, where over time, the lowest denominator, will become the norm.
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    Member Array socal2310's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SelfDefense View Post
    I think you are missing the point. It has nothing to do with whether criminals carry despite the law. The issue is whether the people of a sovereign state can choose their own laws and their own government. Why should the people of Vermont be forced to live the way the people of New York choose to live?
    Those sentiments could have been communicated without using gun grabber code words. Like you just did for example. I'm sorry, it sounds like pandering to me.

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    VIP Member Array paramedic70002's Avatar
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    Do laws in Vermont that reference a citizen's right to assemble, not work in NY?

    Does a citizen of NY deserve less inalienable rights than a citizen of Vermont?

    This whole idea of states' rights (which I support, even though it died in 1861) as it regards interstate travel is no longer applicable when I can drive from my home in Virginia to Texas, Vermont or Florida in one day.

    And while I am personally against gay marriage, I think all states should recognize it.

    If we can't say that all Americans are equal in enough different ways, then maybe it's time to throw out either the Federal or State system all together.
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