Senate Judiciary Committee
Courtesy CBS News
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On Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing about the “gun violence crisis” they say is underway. But despite multiple dogged attempts to get their own witnesses to support their calls for still more gun control laws, the Democrats failed.

During the opening, not only Democratic Senator Durbin, but ostensibly Republican Senator John Cornyn managed to put their put their true anti-gun colors on full display. In a crazy, but not surprising moment, Cornyn even says that last year’s federal gun control law that he made possible was “a good start” and didn’t violate people’s right to keep and bear arms.

But, what was more interesting was what the chosen witnesses didn’t say. During their initial testimonies, the subject matter experts selected by the Democrat side notably didn’t advocate for gun control laws. Instead, they focused on doing things designed to help bring peace to communities.

Rather than call for more Second Amendment restrictions, they focused on root causes like poverty, unemployment, and drug addiction, while trying to interrupt the cycle of gang violence and retaliation. These programs seem to be helping with the problem in some cases and — much to the chagrin of the gun control industry and Democrats — they don’t require still more gun control laws to show some improvement.

So instead of listening to the experts they invited, the gun control crowd…talked over them. Instead of helping forward the anti-gun agenda as they were expected to do, they getting in the way by making it a political issue and making better funding for rights-respecting programs controversial. It seems that the experts believe that if legislators would drop their never-ending gun control push and instead fund anti-violence and mental health programs, things would work better and fewer people would die.

This isn’t to say the Democrats’ experts aren’t fans of gun control (some of them clearly are), but the fact that they didn’t push for that during their limited allotted time before the committee — and that one even expressed overt disapproval of New Mexico Governor Lujan-Grisham’s phony public health order — speaks volumes.

Here’s the full video if you want to watch it yourself…

Throughout the hearing, the politicians acted like politicians. Democrat senators tried to keep steering the conversation in the direction of gun control, but the “experts” mostly frustrated them and refused to take the bait. Republican senators had the opportunity of a lifetime to point out what these experts actually want and that the public health experts aren’t asking for gun control, but were too busy politicking for tough-on-crime policies, border enforcement, and other pet issues to take advantage of the opportunities.

The sad fact is that most of what these “experts” want is pretty close to what even the most conservative Republicans believe. Broken homes, poverty, drugs, mental health, and misguided public policies are the primary factors that contribute to America’s violent crime problem. But gun-grabbers have spent so long politically loading this issue with their own civilian disarmament agenda that the country is too paralyzed to do anything meaningful about it.

Don’t take my word for what happened. Here are some key moments from the video above if you want to share them on social media or discuss further (key changes in speaker or testimony and particularly spicy things are all in bold) . . .

  • 1:25 A “blood in the streets” video that tries to use shocking imagery (mostly the same as WaPo shared) to promote gun control, make it look like an infectious disease
  • 4:00-5:00 Durbin says that he thinks Chicago is a great example for the rest of the country to follow (“an exemplar”)
  • 6:00 “Surely we can find common ground” to get more gun control after last year’s law passed
  • 6:10 Cornyn takes the floor
  • 6:20-11:00 Cornyn establishes his conservative credentials by taking the Republican side on several tangentially-related issues and explaining why the public health approach to gun violence is both the wrong approach and unconstitutional
  • 11:00 His favored approach: have law enforcement target gangs responsible for most of the violence, end “soft on crime” policies
  • 13:30 Discussion on mental health and suicide
  • 13:50 Cornyn says that last year’s gun control bill was “a good start” because it increased resources for mental health
  • 14:30 defends gun rights for the general population, but seems open to the idea that mental health could be used to disarm individuals, fails to specify who gets to decide this
  • 15:20 Says last year’s gun control law is saving lives via enhanced background checks and other unconstitutional methods
  • 16:55 says that these anti-gun things are “done in a bipartisan way, without infringing the rights of law abiding citizens.” “We can come together.”
  • 18:00 Durbin takes floor responds, says the United States is “unique among nations” on this issue. Reiterates anti-gun positions.
  • 20:00 Democrats’ witnesses introduced (3)
  • 21:40 Republican witnesses introduced (2)
  • 23:20 Dr Franklin Cosey-Gay testimony begins
  • Explains what his team does, how it helps Chicago’s violence go down
  • 25:00 Tells a story to illustrate the program’s value
  • 26:50 victim had to be relocated to another state to get him and family out of gang violence
  • 27:40 says police praise the program for making neighborhoods more peaceful
  • 29:20 Steven H. Cook testimony begins
  • 30:20 Violent crime had been cut in half through improved criminal justice initiatives by 2014, increased again since then
  • 31:00 four things he feels lead to that increase under the Obama admin
  • 34:30 Vaughn Bryant testimony begins
  • 35:30 explains his community violence work in Chicago, successes it has resulted in.
  • 39:35 Explains the importance of federal funding for these non-gun control programs.
  • 40:00 Amy Swearer testimony begins
  • 41:00 she takes the position that mental health initiatives and better law enforcement would solve this problem
  • 42:45 Lays out proposals to reduce gun violence
  • 45:15 Dr. Megan L. Ranney testimony begins
  • 45:30 Gunshots are routine in emergency rooms, not unusual
  • 46:10 A story of a death that pushed her to study gun violence prevention
  • 47:05 explains how a “public health approach” to firearms works
  • 49:25 she lists four things needed to apply the approach: Research, professional training, community training, and improved collaboration with affected communities.
  • 51:00 Q&A Begins
  • Durbin goes first, editorializes a bit before asking questions, turning the discussion back toward school shootings and gun control (something the experts downplayed or ignored up to this point)
  • 56:00 Trauma is the problem to solve. Trust is essential.
  • 57:00 people who grew up with no rules, adults need to adult
  • 57:30 Cornyn begins asking questions, editorializes about goals and means.
  • 59:00 Project Safe Neighborhoods put bad guys away, but did other important things, too
  • 1:02:00 Mental health crises and mass shooters, weak connections.
  • 1:03:00 The first time in the hearing that any expert mentions gun control, and only briefly as an afterthought to other things.
  • 1:03:30 Blumenthal begins asking questions
  • Editorializes about gun control despite experts not asking for that
  • 1:05 Tries to tie science to gun control
  • 1:06:30 Dr. Ranney explains how a key anti-violence program works, does not include gun control or advocacy for that as a component
  • 1:08 Blumenthal tries to push the discussion back to gun control. Dr. Ranney pushes the discussion back to secure storage only to keep them away from children. “Legislation alone is not enough. It needs to be matched with community engagement, enforcement, and education.”
  • 1:09:30 She sees common ground with pro-gun people on this, not something to work against them on.
  • 1:09:50 Grassley begins asking questions
  • He spent all of his time asking Amy Swearer questions about gun control laws
  • 1:15:00 Hirono begins asking questions
  • Like other Democratic senators, she starts by pushing the discussion back to gun control
  • 1:16:00 Domestic violence restraining orders and firearms, ERPO, data gathering
  • 1:20:30 Kennedy begins asking questions
  • 1:21:30 “Why do you think Chicago has become America’s largest outdoor shooting range?” Dr. Ranney mentions “easy access to firearms”, but lists several other things as causative (lack of great education, environmental factors like vacant lots and abandoned buildings)
  • 1:22:45 Question about NM Governor’s attempted gun grab. Dr. Ranney says she does not support that move, wanted to talk about something else.
  • “I’m not a lawyer. I’m a physician and a public health professional.”
  • 1:24:20 “Again, I am neither a lawyer nor a prosecutor…I honestly don’t know enough about it to have an opinion.” Does not agree with taking guns.
  • 1:26:40 Butler begins asking questions.
  • Chooses to spend time commenting at first instead of asking the experts questions, then asks question about federal funding of gun violence research.
  • 1:29:35 “Legislation alone is never sufficient.”
  • 1:31:05 Expert makes it clear that the domestic violence offender themselves is only a small part of a much bigger problem. Wider conflicts result from interpersonal conflict.
  • 1:31:45 Blackburn begins asking questions
  • Softball questions for Amy Swearer mixed with editorialization. Most readers would agree with the stuff.
  • Steven Cook discusses school safety
  • 1:38:00 Durbin takes the floor again, comments about Chicago, gives Dr. Ranney opportunity to explain what she likes about programs in New Mexico. She mentions tracking of offenders and victims, programs that help both to minimize future violence. Durbin goes back to gun control after she mentions other things.
  • 1:39:45 Booker begins asking questions.
  • Mentions problems people on both sides understand, wants to talk about root causes of violence. Criminal justice reforms, mass incarceration.
  • 1:43:30 Vaughn Bryant goes back to talking about helping families succeed. Biggest problem is lack of funding to aid people in need.
  • 1:46:00 Lee begins asking questions.
  • Number of defensive gun uses brought up. Estimated 1.6M. Net benefit of responsible gun ownership.
  • 1:51:20 Most crimes committed by a tiny, identifiable minority
  • 1:53:45 Tillis begins asking questions (but doesn’t get as far as asking anyone any questions)
  • Editorializing about the value of gun control in last year’s gun control law.
  • 1:55:50 Gun control is killing support for bipartisan things like the experts are asking for.
  • 1:57:30 Broken window theory (something an expert brought up earlier)
  • 2:00:00 Cruz gets question time. Stumps against gun control, asks one question about fentanyl.
  • 2:07:00 Harm reduction vs supply
  • 2:07:30 Whitehouse begins asking questions.
  • Goes straight to gun control, asks about “weapons of war” being a bigger menace to public health.
  • 2:08:00 Dr. Ranney says that it’s difficult to know what caliber somebody got shot with, so data on that isn’t really available. Multiple gunshot wounds are up, though.
  • 2:09:30 Shot placement is more important than gun type.
  • 2:10:30 Idiotic musket question and editorializing after answers didn’t really support.
  • 2:12:00 Durbin closes, makes a strange self-owning speech about how criminalizing crack cocaine backfired, but then supports gun control.

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  1. could it possibly be that they’re actually hearing the previously “silent” majority, and possibly a little concerned about their future!! Just sayin!

  2. “Republican senators had the opportunity of a lifetime to [agree with handpicked leftist shills who want to punitively tax positive choices to help scumbags who make negative choices], but were too busy politicking for [just and effective consequences for negative choices].”


  3. Jennifer, that was a lot of work, and thank you for doing it. I’ll say it again, you’re the best new hire TTAG has. I’ll take a thousand articles like this, rather than yet another press release from Sig Sauer, which seems like all TTAG runs some days.

    Cruz owned in this video.

    • That right there may be the most important takeaway. You risk funding let alone employment doing that for a lot of programs and grants with NY.

      • RE: “Democrat senators tried to keep steering the conversation in the direction of gun control, but the “experts” mostly frustrated them and refused to take the bait.”

        They took the bait by showing up to go tit for tat with democRats fixated on an agenda History Confirms is Rooted in Racism and Genocide…Makes as much sense as showing up to go tit for tat with pedophiles about childcare.

    • I guess I missed the part where their own gun control experts called gun control a “farce”.

      But I am glad that you folks agree that addressing “root causes like poverty, unemployment, and drug addiction” is a viable technique to reduce the problem of violence.

      We’re making progress here!

      • It never wasn’t a factor but it’s ultimately irrelevant unless the criminals especially the worst offenders don’t go to jail. Ask me how I know. As to how much of a factor your proclaimed state of West Virginia shows that it can be a largely irrelevant one whereas other states show a stronger correlation.

      • The thing about root causes, they don’t always play out with violence. The mentioned root causes of poverty, unemployment, and drug addiction is not a good metric to predict violence. There is more to it.

        In major cities where violence is a problem, the reports by the city governments or police departments is that the same core of known people commit the majority of the crimes. While this core may have the issues of the identified root problems, far more people who have these root causes are not violent or committing crimes.

        Considering that most people who are unemployed, impoverished or drug addicted do not commit crime or violence, can we still say those or the root causes? Or is there yet another unidentified cause that better predicts violence and crime?

        What say you?

      • MINOR49er. You miss an awful lot, don’t you? Seems that while they did not say it directly, it was implied throughout their testimony.
        We have so many laws now that are not enforced and you Lefties want more, more more? They say that insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result. I do believe that applied to your approach to the “violence” problem. Note that I did not say “gun violence”?

        • “Seems that while they did not say it directly, it was implied”

          Oh, you just made up that stuff about the expert witnesses saying it was a “farce”, got it.

        • you just made up that stuff about the expert witnesses

          Says the EXSPURT on making shit up…. Pot meet kettle…

        • MINOR49er. No, I did not make it up. It is an observation based on the testimony of your own “experts”. Yep, that makes your “gun control” nonsense and their lack of support makes “gun control” a FARCE!

          Can you tell us ONE case where “gun control” saved a life?

          What is your take on dacian, the DUNERHEAD’s claim to be a “firearms expert”? You know the same guy who can’t tell us what the firing sequence of a cartreidge is?

        • “You know the same guy who can’t tell us what the firing sequence of a cartreidge is?“

          I don’t know about that, but I bet he knows how to spell the word ‘cartridge’ correctly.

        • MINOR49er, you have hearsd of a typo? Or are you just grabbing for what you can ?

          Do you know the firing sequence of a cartridge? If you do, maybe you can help the DUNDERHEAD?

  4. Just remember boys and girls, it’s election season. At no other time are Liberal democrats more likely to portray themselves having more moderate stances on hot button issues. Up and until they are reelected. Only to revert back to the Liberal/Progressive policies, that caused those hot button issues. To become problems in the first place.

  5. Uh-oh. Time to go expert shopping. Maybe encourage the right expert testimony with some grant and funding leverage.

  6. Just another ‘Dog and Pony’ show. As most all Senate/Congressional hearings are. Nothing more…Nothing less.

  7. Hit it again, Sam….
    Politicians with laws never stop bad guys with guns, evil intent.
    They only control the good guys, which is their true agenda.

    Doing the same thing over and over expecting a different outcome is the definition of insanity…..or politician. But, then, I repeat myself.

    • “Doing the same thing over and over with the same outcome is the definition of insanity…..or politician.”

      I have zero interest in “hearings”. Republicrats never forward their agenda. Dimwitocrats always prosper.

  8. The Party has a platform of many planks. They don’t have enough support within their own ranks for each and every plank. They can’t get enough support from the Quislings in the Republican Loyal Opposition to pass each of their planks. So, they have no choice but to prioritize.

    – more gun control laws;
    – more support for social programs that might mitigate violence;
    – more support for mental health;
    – etc.
    – more pork for favored constituents.

    The Party will choose its priorities according to what suits the Party leaders, not their constituents.

    More pork for favored constituents yields dividends in contributions and therefore votes. That will be a priority.

    More gun control law garners support from constituents who genuinely believe in that cause. It doesn’t cost money. They have no intention of paying for more criminal justice system resources. It’s just the votes they want.

    Social programs, especially mental health, pay no dividends at all.

    The Party’s priorities are easy to figure out.

    Please stop! Stop pretending the Democrats care about crime! REPUBLICANS, stop pretending you believe them. “Civil Rights” are things the State doesn’t control, which Democrats find intolerable. Crime, victims, “the children” are all just EXCUSES, not the real reason, for any of their their actions.

  10. quote———–Rather than call for more Second Amendment restrictions, they focused on root causes like poverty, unemployment, and drug addiction, while trying to interrupt the cycle of gang violence and retaliation.———quote

    The Democrats have been trying for years to pass these Socialist programs and they have been blocked by the Gangster , Criminal, cheap ass Republicans every time they introduced such bills.

    • With what money would such programs be paid for? NY has needed 2 bailouts to remain solvent as a state in just the last decade and with the way NYC is going will need another probably before 2025. Oh and that is assuming the programs are administered and staffed with competent employees…….yeah about that we have trouble running just the mental health facilities let alone the outpatient treatment community programs. You are focused on a fantasy built on dreams.

    • dacian, the DUNDERHEAD, you are 100% right. We Conservative Republicans BELIEVE in personal responsibility not your Leftist nanny state. Cheap? How about you Lefties start putting your money where you mouth is and contribute to charities which cater to organizatiions that try doing something about “the cycle of gang biolence” which you Lefties created with the welfare programs which have encouraged women to have more babies they can’t cae for to get more welfare money from the state.
      Didn’t anyone ever tell you that your “Utopia” society doesn’t word?

      Let me put it another way. You are a cheap “let the other guy do it” Leftist.

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