Congressional Record: July 27, 2005 (Senate)
Page S9059-S9086                       


  Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. President, I take a moment to explain the effect of 
our proceeding to this gun bill. We are putting aside an important 
debate on national security and the needs of our troops in a time of 
war. Last Friday I listed a number of the amendments that still were 
pending that would affect the National Guard and our Reserve troops and 
also provide additional kinds of protections for the service men and 
women. The decision by the Republican leadership was that we had spent 
enough time on the legislation, even though we chose to spend 2 weeks 
earlier in the year on the credit card industry and on bankruptcy and a 
similar amount of time on the class action legislation which benefited 
special interest groups. The credit card industry will profit about $6 
billion more this year than last year because of the actions taken. We 
also spent time on the special interest legislation dealing with class 
actions. We spent the time on that, but we are not on the Defense 
authorization bill.
  We had an important amendment on the whole policy of the 
administration in developing new nuclear weapons which has profound 
implications in terms of the issues of nuclear proliferation and 
nuclear safety. We looked forward to having an opportunity to debate 
that issue. That was put aside by the Republican leadership because 
they were concerned about a provision that had been introduced to the 
Defense authorization bill last Thursday. Senator Levin, Senator Reed, 
Senator Rockefeller, and I introduced an amendment to create an 
independent commission to examine the administration's policy 
surrounding the detention and interrogation of detainees as an 
amendment to the Defense authorization bill.
  The response of the White House was instant and negative. The 
President announced he would veto the Defense authorization bill, all 
$442 billion of it, if it included any provisions to restrict the 
Pentagon's treatment of detainees or creating a commission to 
investigate detainee operations. No other response could have 
demonstrated so

[[Page S9066]]

clearly the urgent need to establish a commission than that this 
imperial White House considers itself immune from restraints by 
Congress on its powers no matter what the Constitution says.
  It is appalling that the administration is so afraid of the truth 
that they are even willing to veto the Defense bill which includes 
billions of dollars for our troops, pay raises for our troops, and 
funds for armored humvees to protect our troops in Iraq. But the 
administration was prepared to veto that legislation because of this 
amendment that had been offered by Senator Levin, Senator Reed, Senator 
Rockefeller, and myself.
  Now the Senate Republican leaders have pulled the Defense bill from 
the floor. It is interesting that Republican leaders hatched this plan 
after Vice President Cheney visited with Senate Republicans last week. 
He told them the White House does not want votes on amendments to 
require an inquiry into their detention policies and practices. The 
White House has not only threatened to veto a national defense bill to 
avoid accountability, but is preventing us from voting on the issue. It 
is already obvious that the administration's detention and 
interrogation policy failed to respect the longstanding rules that have 
guided our policy in the past, rejecting the collective wisdom of our 
career military and State Department officials. In today's newspapers 
we see the result of this action once again with the use of dogs 
against detainees.
  We need to return to our core values of openness and accountability. 
The facts we know so far about torture and other abuses, about 
indefinite detention, have already become recruiting tools for 
terrorists. But if we act now to uphold our principles, we can end the 
outrage, we can end the coverups, and hold officials accountable at the 
highest levels. We need to disavow the abuses and harsh techniques. We 
need to ensure our actions do not become an excuse for our enemies to 
torture American troops when they are captured in the future or to 
attack innocent Americans in any part of the world.
  The reports of abuse also undermine our own security efforts at home. 
The vast majority of Muslim Americans and Arab Americans are willing to 
help identify potential terrorists, help prevent charitable donations 
from being misused, and act as eyes and ears of a community uniquely 
capable of identifying potential threats. When the reports of abuses go 
unanswered, they undermine the community's willingness to provide that 
assistance. It is impossible for many Muslim Americans and Arab 
Americans to be persuaded to help against such threats if they feel 
their own religious beliefs have been targeted.
  The reality is our safety and security depend on accountability. It 
is not enough to pretend that problem does not exist, but that is how 
the President has responded to the flow of reports about abuses. 
Contrary to the protests of the administration, we do not have the 
answers we need. So far, we have had 12 separate so-called 
investigations of allegations, but not a single report has adequately 
examined the role that civilian authorities have played in crafting the 
policies that led to our missteps. Twelve investigations and counting, 
and the coverup continues.
  The administration and its proxies in the coverup have vilified 
anyone who calls for a full inquiry into the policies. They even 
stooped to claiming a request for full accounting is somehow a smear 
against our troops. The real smear is that the administration continues 
to prosecute only a few low-level offenders without holding accountable 
the higher-ups who laid the groundwork for all the abuses. The real 
disservice to our troops and to our country is done by those who leave 
those at the bottom of the chain of command holding the bag while 
officials at the top are promoted and rewarded.
  We need a commission independent of political influence to find the 
relevant facts, not just the facts that suit the partisan needs of the 
administration. We need an investigation of the country's so-called 
rendition policy which sends detainees to other countries where torture 
is well known. We need answers about the administration's reaction to 
FBI complaints about abuse. We need a thorough assessment of the legal 
regime that is currently in effect.
  With its willingness to conceal the truth, the administration will 
never tell the American people about this practice of rendition on its 
own. We need an independent commission to examine our policies and 
practices and make appropriate recommendations. The American people 
deserve to understand the choices made by this President and to 
evaluate them.
  In sum, our interrogation and detention policies need much more 
thorough review. In avoiding accountability, the administration has 
made it clear it won't accept responsibility for giving our Nation the 
clear answers it deserves. As Benjamin Franklin said, half a truth is 
often a great lie. Until now we have been fed half truths and coverups 
by the administration.
  With the recent veto threat, the White House has declared war on any 
full and honest accounting of responsibility. The safety of our troops 
and our citizens depends on finding out the whole truth and acting on 
it. An independent commission of respected professionals with 
backgrounds in law and military policy and international relations is 
the only way we can learn the truth about what has happened so we can 
end the suppression and establish a policy for the future that is 
worthy of our Nation and worthy of our respect of all nations.
  Administration secrecy doesn't stop with their interrogation policy. 
This administration has a systematic disregard for oversight and 
openness. Government is intended to be ``of the people, by the people, 
and for the people.'' Democracy requires informed citizens, and to be 
informed, citizens need to have information about the government. 
Congress and the executive branch are supposed to be open and 
accountable, so the American people know what is being done in their 
name. But under the Bush administration, openness and accountability 
have been replaced by secrecy and evasion of responsibility. They abuse 
their power, conceal their actions from the American people, and refuse 
to hold officials accountable.
  No one disputes the necessity of classifying information critical to 
protecting our national security--military operations, weapon designs, 
intelligence sources, and similar information. But in the post-9/11 
world, the administration is making secrecy the norm and openness the 
exception. It has used the tragedy of 9/11 to classify unprecedented 
amounts of information. Material off-limits to the public has become so 
extensive that no other conclusion is possible. The Bush administration 
has a pervasive strategy to limit access to information in order to 
avoid independent evaluation of its actions by Americans whose job it 
is to observe and critique their government. When even Congressmen, 
journalists, and public interest groups complain about limits on access 
to information, we know the difficulties faced by ordinary Americans 
seeking information from their government.
  At a hearing last August in the House Subcommittee on National 
Security, the Director of the Government's Information Security 
Oversight Office, J. William Leonard, testified that ``it is no secret 
that the government classifies too much information. Too much 
classification unnecessarily impedes effective information sharing.''
  The Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Counterintelligence and 
Security, Carol A. Haave, said that as much as half of all classified 
information doesn't need to be classified.
  Last year, a record 15.6 million documents were classified by the 
Bush administration at a cost of $7.2 billion, many under newly 
invented categories with fewer requirements for classification.
  The administration argues that all this secrecy is necessary to win 
the war on terrorism. But the 9/11 Commission Report said that too much 
government secrecy had hurt U.S. intelligence capability even before 9/
11. ``Secrecy stifles oversight, accountability, and information 
sharing,'' says the report. They know from their own experience.
  In July 2003, the 9/11 Commission's cochairmen, Thomas Kean and Lee 
Hamilton, complained publicly that the administration was failing to 
provide requested information.

[[Page S9067]]

  In October 2003, the Commission had no choice, after repeated 
requests, but to subpoena records from the FAA.
  In November 2003, after multiple requests, the Commission again had 
to subpoena information, this time from the Department of Defense.
  For the rest of that fall and spring, the administration repeatedly 
tried to deny access to presidential documents important to the 
Commission's investigation, until public outcry grew loud enough to 
convince the administration otherwise.
  Key members of the administration balked at testifying, until public 
opinion again swayed their stance.
  And then, in an ironic twist, 28 pages of the 9/11 Commission Report 
itself was classified. So, is all this secrecy really about protecting 
us from the terrorists? Or is it just to avoid accountability?
  This administration, once in office, wasted no time challenging those 
who would hold them accountable. In May 2001, Vice President Cheney's 
energy task force issued its report recommending more oil and gas 
drilling to solve our energy problems. In light of his former 
employment at Halliburton, the recommendation was hardly astonishing. 
What was astonishing was the Vice President's refusal to identify the 
people and groups who helped write the policy. In June 2001, the GAO, 
the nonpartisan, investigative arm of Congress, requested information 
on the energy task force, following reports that campaign contributors 
had special access while the public was shut out. GAO's request was 
simple. It asked, ``Who serves on this task force; what information is 
being presented to the task force and by whom is it being given; and 
the costs involved in the gathering of the facts.'' Considering that 
the task force wrote the nation's energy policy, it was not an 
unreasonable request.
  The administration refused to comply, even though GAO's request was 
not out of the ordinary. President Clinton's task forces on health care 
and on China trade relations were both investigated by GAO. The Clinton 
administration turned over detailed information on the participants and 
proceedings of the task forces.
  But the Bush administration argued that GAO did not have the 
authority to conduct the investigation. For the first time in its 80-
year history, GAO was forced to file suit against an administration to 
obtain requested information. But the court sided with the 
administration in Walker v. Cheney, and GAO's investigative oversight 
authority was effectively reduced. Independent oversight is critically 
important when one party controls both Congress and the White House, 
and GAO is critical to that oversight.
  On October 12, 2001, John Ashcroft wrote a memo outlining the Justice 
Department's views on Freedom of Information Act requests. The memo set 
the tone for an administration hostile to such requests. It discouraged 
executive branch agencies from responding to Freedom of Information Act 
requests, even when the agencies had the option to respond. He 
basically reversed the longstanding policy of prior administrations.
  The Clinton administration policy, set forth by Attorney General 
Janet Reno, was that if a document could be released without harm, an 
agency should do so, even if there were technical grounds for 
withholding it. They knew that government openness was essential to an 
informed public.
  When the Bush administration came to office, Attorney General 
Ashcroft disagreed--he wrote that if there is any technical ground for 
withholding a document under the Freedom of Information Act, an agency 
should withhold it. The Clinton policy had been ``release if at all 
possible.'' The Bush policy was ``keep secret if at all possible.''
  Why should the public know what the administration is doing? Why 
release documents that might be embarrassing to the White House or its 
friends in business?
  Some organizations claim, based on their experience, that this 
obsession with secrecy goes even farther, and that executive branch 
agencies are being told to withhold information until it is subpoenaed. 
Sean Moulton, a senior policy analyst at OMB Watch, argued that ``if 
there are documents the government doesn't want to release but doesn't 
have any legal basis for withholding, unless you're willing to go to 
court, you're not getting those documents.''
  Since the tragedy of September 11, this administration has 
effectively shut down inquiry after inquiry:
  In November 2001, energy companies were planning a natural gas 
pipeline through the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Local citizens, 
led by former U.S. Army Ranger Joseph McCormick, asked the Federal 
Energy Regulatory Commission for a map of the planned pipeline. These 
citizens weren't being nosy--they wanted to know if a large new 
pipeline for natural gas would be going through their backyards. FERC 
denied the citizens' request in the name of national security, even 
though this type of information had been public before 9/11. Clearly, 
national security concerns are legitimate. But without knowledge of the 
pipeline's location, how could these citizens defend their property? 
Joseph McCormick put it bluntly: ``There certainly is a balance,'' he 
said. ``It's about people's right to use the information of an open 
society to protect their rights.''
  In the fall of 2002, the chemical compound perchlorate was found in 
the water supply of Aberdeen, Maryland--near the Army's famous Aberdeen 
Proving Ground. Perchlorate is a main ingredient of rocket fuel. It 
also stunts the metabolism and brain growth of newborns. A group of 
citizens organized, and worked with the Army to protect their drinking 
water from further contamination. But a few months later, the Army 
began censoring maps and information that would help determine which 
areas were contaminated, supposedly in the interest of national 
security--if citizens could find out where the water was contaminated, 
then terrorists could find it too. The head of the citizens' group was 
a 20-year army veteran. His water well was only a mile and a half away 
from the proving ground. ``It's an abuse of power,'' he said. ``The 
government has to be transparent.''
  Even Members of Congress have had to subpoena information in order to 
do their work. Last October, Congressmen Christopher Shays and Henry 
Waxman, the chairman and ranking Democrat on the House Government 
Reform Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats and 
International Relations, asked for an audit of the Development Fund for 
Iraq. The copy they received had over 400 items blacked out. They had 
so much difficulty obtaining an unredacted report from the Defense 
Department that they had to prepare a subpoena. Once they finally 
received an unredacted copy, guess what had been blacked out? More than 
$218 million in charges from Halliburton. So far, no one has been held 
  It has now been 744 days without a White House investigation into the 
CIA leak case. It took 85 days for the administration even to require 
its staff to turn over evidence relating to the leak. Senate 
Republicans held 20 hearings on accusations against President Clinton 
and the Whitewater case, but they have held zero hearings on the leak 
of the covert identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame. So far, no one has 
been held accountable.
  Last week, the Defense Department refused to cooperate with a federal 
judge's order to release secret photographs and videotapes of prisoner 
abuse at Abu Ghraib. The ACLU had sued to obtain release of 87 
photographs and 4 videotapes, but the administration filed sealed 
documents resisting the order. They are so obsessed with secrecy that 
they even make secret arguments to keep their secrets. So far, no one 
has been held accountable.
  Also last week, the administration submitted an initial report on 
progress in training Iraqi security forces. It has been more than 2 
years since the fall of Baghdad, and a reliable assessment of our 
progress in training those forces was long overdue. The key questions 
that the American people want to know are how many Iraqi security 
forces are capable of fighting on their own and what our military 
requirements will be the months ahead. But the answers remain 
classified. The American people deserve to know the facts about our 
policy. They want to know how long it will take to fully train the 
Iraqis and when our military mission will be completed. They can deal 
with the truth, and they deserve it.

[[Page S9068]]

  No one wants to do anything that would help the insurgents. But the 
administration must do a better job of responding to the legitimate 
concerns of the American people. The administration still isn't willing 
to be candid. It needs to find a way to shed some of the secrecy and 
answer these questions in good faith for the American people. The 
silence is deafening.
  There is also a pattern of withholding information from members of 
Congress on the administration's nominations. In 2003, Miguel Estrada 
was nominated for a Federal judgeship. We requested legal memoranda he 
wrote as Assistant Solicitor General, and we were repeatedly denied. In 
2004, Alberto Gonzales was nominated to be Attorney General. We 
requested various memoranda he authorized on administration torture 
policy, and we were repeatedly denied. Earlier this year, John Bolton 
was nominated to be Ambassador to the United Nations. We requested 
documents to determine if he acted appropriately in his previous job, 
and we have been repeatedly denied.
  Instead of coming clean and providing the information to the 
Congress, we have been stonewalled. Our questions have gone unanswered. 
And now, the President appears to be poised to abuse his power further, 
rub salt in the wound, and send John Bolton to the United Nations 
anyway with a recess appointment of dubious constitutionality.
  Now John Roberts has been nominated to a lifetime seat on the Supreme 
Court. We hope this nomination will not be another occasion for 
administration secrecy, but press accounts suggest otherwise. Even 
before we asked for any documents, the administration announced it will 
not release many of the memoranda written by John Roberts. The White 
House spokesman says they will claim attorney-client privilege, but 
many of the memos vital to our consideration of Judge Roberts for the 
Supreme Court were written while he worked as a top political and 
policy official in the Solicitor General's office. That office works 
for all the American people--not just the President. Attorney-client 
privilege clearly has never been a bar to providing the Senate with 
what it needs to process a nomination.
  As we all know, no one is simply entitled to serve on the Supreme 
Court of the United States. One has to earn that right. And one earns 
that right by getting the support of the American people, reflected in 
the vote here in the United States Senate. And that is what the 
confirmation process is all about. We know that the administration is 
familiar with and aware of Judge Roberts' positions on various issues. 
They have had a year to study it and had their associates talk with him 
and with those who worked with him. The real question is: Shouldn't the 
American people have the opportunity to get the same kind of 
information so that they can form their own impression and so that the 
Senate can make a balanced, informed judgment and see whether or not 
the balance in the Supreme Court will be furthered? That is the issue 
and it appears that the administration is continuing to withhold 
important information that would permit the Congress the ability to do 
  Yes, the administration has consistently used the horror of 9/11 and 
its disdain of congressional oversight to get its way and avoid 
accountability. It consistently uses this secrecy to roll back the 
rights of average Americans. But even its best spin doctors can't 
conceal some of the administration's most flagrant abuses of power.
  Last August, the New York Times reported that ``health rules, 
environmental regulations, energy initiatives, worker-safety standards 
and product-safety disclosure policies have been modified in ways that 
often please business and industry leaders while dismaying interest 
groups representing consumers, workers, drivers, medical patients, the 
elderly and many others.'' Often, this has been done in silence and 
near secrecy.
  In 2000, Congress responded to the disclosure of defects in Firestone 
tires, which may have been responsible for as many as 270 deaths, by 
passing legislation which would make information on auto safety and 
related defects readily available. But in July 2003, the National 
Highway Traffic Safety Administration decided that reports of defects 
would cause ``substantial competitive harm'' to the auto industry, and 
exempted warranty claims and consumer complaints from the Freedom of 
Information Act. Clearly, that was another abuse of power that protects 
big business while putting the American public at greater risk.
  In 2003, the administration knowingly withheld cost estimates of its 
Medicare prescription drug bill--one of the most important pieces of 
legislation that year. The estimates showed costs over $100 billion 
more than the administration claimed, but the information was withheld 
because of fears that the actual numbers would persuade Members of 
Congress to vote no. Administration officials threatened to fire Chief 
Actuary Richard Foster ``so fast his head would spin,'' if he informed 
Congress of the real cost estimate. I wrote a letter to the 
administration on this subject, but they never responded to my 
  In 2003, the Food and Drug Administration kept secret a report that 
children on antidepressants were twice as likely to be involved in 
suicide-related behavior. The FDA also prevented the author of the 
study--their expert on the issue--from presenting his findings to an 
FDA advisory committee. Dr. Joseph Glenmullen, a Harvard psychiatrist, 
said ``Evidence that they're suppressing a report like this is an 
outrage, given the public health and safety issues at stake . . . For 
the FDA to issue an ambiguous warning when they had unambiguous data 
like this is an outrage.''
  In November 2003, the White House told the Appropriations Committees 
in both Houses of Congress that it would only respond to requests for 
information if they were signed by the committee chairman. In a time of 
one-party rule, this tactic made congressional oversight almost 
completely impossible.
  In April 2004, the ranking member of the Environment and Public Works 
Committee, Senator Jeffords, was forced to place holds on several EPA 
nominees after the administration refused to respond to twelve 
outstanding information requests, including information on air 
  In August 2004, under pressure from the Department of Homeland 
Security, the FCC decided to make telephone service outage reports 
confidential, and exempt them from Freedom of Information Act requests. 
The FCC argued it was because companies could use competitors' service 
outages in ad campaigns. You may not be able to make informed decisions 
on your phone company, but at least the company will be protected from 
nasty advertising.
  Last month, we discovered that the administration had blocked studies 
criticizing the Central American Free Trade Agreement--after it had 
already paid for them. In 2002, the Department of Labor hired the 
International Labor Rights Fund to back up its argument that Central 
American countries had improved on labor issues. The contractor found 
the opposite, and posted its results on its Web site in March 2004. The 
Labor Department ordered its removal from the website, banned its 
release, and barred the contractor's employees from discussing the 
report. The Department of Labor denied a Congressman's request for the 
report under the Freedom of Information Act. These are the American 
people's tax dollars. But when the administration didn't like an 
answer, it abused its power to avoid accountability--at their expense.
  Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal disclosed yet another list of 
abuses in Iraq reconstruction. Ten billion dollars of no-bid contracts 
were awarded; $89 million was doled out without contracts at all; $9 
billion is unaccounted for, and may have been embezzled. An official 
fired for incompetence was still giving out millions of dollars in aid, 
weeks after his termination. A contractor was paid twice for the same 
job. A third of all U.S. vehicles that Halliburton was paid to manage 
are missing. It is a staggering display of incompetence and cover-up, 
so that no one will be held accountable.
  Americans deserve better. They deserve the information necessary to 
become informed, effective citizens. We as lawmakers are better able to 
represent our constituents when we have access to the critical 
information held by the executive branch. We must never forget who we 
work for--the American people. Congress is a co-equal branch of 
government, and we

[[Page S9069]]

have a duty to hold the administration accountable for its actions.
  Mr. President, on the matter we have before the Senate at the present 
time, here we go again on the issue of legal immunity for the gun 
industry. Without shame, the Republican leadership has brought back 
this special interest, anti-law enforcement bill that strips away the 
rights of victims to go to court.
  Why the urgency to take up this bill now? This is a critical moment 
in this country's future. Surely, the Republican leadership can take 
some time to address other priorities before attempting to give a free 
pass to the gun industry. Why aren't we completing our work on the 
Defense authorization bill? That is what was before the Senate. Why 
have we displaced a full and fair debate on the issue of the Defense 
authorization bill--which has so many provisions in there concerning 
our fighting men and women in Iraq and about the National Guard and 
defense--in order to consider special interest legislation?
  That is what is before the Senate, and that is what we are 
considering at the present time, as a result of the Republican 
leadership. Surely, the Congress can do more for our citizens than rush 
to pass unprecedented special interest legislation. We can and should 
be acting to meet our real challenges.
  Last year, the Federal Government recalled a water pistol, the Super 
Soaker, just a few days before the assault weapons ban expired. America 
does more to regulate the safety of toy guns than real guns, and it is 
a national disgrace. The gun industry has worked hard to avoid Federal 
consumer safety regulation. Where are our priorities? Where is the 
logic in passing a bill that makes it harder to sue for harm caused by 
real guns than harm caused by a plastic toy gun?
  The industry has conspicuously failed to use technology to make guns 
safer. It has attempted to insulate itself from its distributors and 
dealers, once guns leave the factory. Under this bill, it will not even 
matter if the guns are stolen by factory employees and snuck out of the 
factory in the middle of the night.
  The overwhelming majority of Americans believe gun dealers and gun 
manufacturers should be held accountable for their irresponsible 
conduct, similar to everyone else.
  Cities, counties, and States incur billions of dollars in costs each 
year as a result of gun violence. Studies estimate that the public cost 
of firearm-related injuries is over $1 million for each shooting 
victim. Yet this bill would take a fierce toll and dismiss even pending 
cases where communities are trying to get relief.
  This bill would bar the legal rights of hard-working law enforcement 
officers, such as Ken McGuire and David Lemongello. These two police 
officers from Orange, NJ, were seriously wounded in a shootout with a 
burglary suspect. The gun used by the suspect was one of 12 guns sold 
by a West Virginia pawnshop to an obvious straw purchaser for an 
illegal gun trafficker. Fortunately for the officers, this bill did not 
become law last year, and their case was able to proceed.
  Recently, David Lemongello was able to obtain a $1 million 
settlement. Significantly, the settlement required the dealer and other 
area pawnshops to adopt safer practices. These reforms go beyond the 
requirements of current law and are not imposed by any manufacturers or 
distributors. This is not about money. This is about public safety, and 
I commend these brave officers for their courageous battle to change 
the system.
  It is clear what will happen if Congress gives the gun industry this 
unprecedented legal immunity, on top of its existing exemption from 
Federal consumer safety regulations. Guns will be more dangerous. Gun 
dealers will be more irresponsible. More guns will be available to 
terrorists and criminals. There will be more shootings and more dead 
  The Nation's response to this death toll has been unacceptable. Yet, 
year after year, little changes in our approach to regulating guns. How 
can we justify this neglect? How can we continue to ignore the vast 
discrepancy in gun deaths in the United States compared to other 
nations? How can we possibly justify this effort to give the gun 
industry even greater protection for irresponsible behavior?
  Mr. President, this bill is nothing short of Congress aiding and 
abetting the provision of guns to criminals. It takes the gun industry 
off the hook when their guns are sold to the wrong people who are out 
to hurt us. Under this administration, we have seen the budget cuts to 
the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, so our law enforcement do 
not have the resources they need to keep guns out of criminal hands. 
That is why these citizen lawsuits are so important. If the police 
cannot do their job, then citizens should be able to do it. But this 
legislation will throw the citizens out of court. It is wrong.
  I yield the floor.