Excerpts of Remarks by Rep. Smith on the House floor During Debate on H.R. 8
Below are excerpts of remarks of Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) on the House Floor on Wednesday:
Madame Speaker, when I voted for the Brady Law in 1993—which took effect on February 28th, 1994—it was to keep firearms out of the hands of dangerous persons including felons and abusers.
I support the Second Amendment. Universal background checks prescribed in H.R. 8 are an attempt to ensure that firearms are procured, owned and used by responsible, law abiding citizens.
According to the Brady Campaign, about 1 in 5 guns now sold in America are done so without a background check. That’s a significant loophole.
According to the CDC, there was a record 39,773 deaths from firearms in 2017—higher than in any other year—23,854 were self-inflicted and 14,542 were homicides.
To mitigate gun violence in America, H.R. 8 expands Brady background checks to transactions by private sellers not currently covered by the law.
Multiple school shootings have led to robust, comprehensive action at every level to make classrooms safer. I have visited many schools in my district—and I have found that while the threat is being taken seriously, no one policy, program or initiative can ensure the level of protection our students need and deserve.
Madame Speaker, no constitutional right is absolute including the Second Amendment. The First Amendment’s freedom of speech, for example, has reasonable limits including the promulgation of slander and libel law.
To preserve public order, we accept reasonable restrictions on the freedom to assemble. Even freedom of religion isn’t without some modest boundaries.
In like manner, universal background checks don’t erode Second Amendment rights but do help ensure much needed protection from gun violence for everyone.