9:06 PM EDT

John N. Hostettler, R-IN 8th

Mr. HOSTETTLER. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself 1 minute.

Mr. Chairman, today I rise to offer an amendment that would prohibit the Department of Treasury and specifically the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, or BATF, from using taxpayer dollars to enforce the provisions of a settlement agreement between Smith & Wesson, the Treasury Department and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Mr. Chairman, this is not a new amendment, but it is new circumstances in which I offer it given the fact that the agreement constitutes the 22 pages of legislation that was never considered in these Chambers nor passed by Congress and includes new duties for the BATF.

Now the BATF will no longer just enforce Federal laws; they will now enforced a private civil agreement. This greatly expands the BATF's scope of power without Congress's approval.

Failure to pass this amendment will allow the executive branch to continue to coerce legal industries, in this particular case the gun industry, to enter into these agreements whenever they feel they cannot get their agenda through Congress.

Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.

9:07 PM EDT

Carolyn McCarthy, D-NY 4th

Mrs. McCARTHY of New York. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Chairman, last month my colleague, the gentleman from Indiana (Mr. HOSTETTLER), attempted to turn back the clock on gun safety. He failed twice and the House bipartisanly rejected his amendments. Well, it is time to defeat this amendment again.

The bill has changed, but the amendment is the same. Instead of the Department of Justice or HUD, the gentleman from Indiana (Mr. HOSTETTLER) tries to prevent the Department of Treasury from spending any money related to the HUD-Smith & Wesson agreement.

More than 500 communities across the Nation from Los Angeles to Long Island, New York, have endorsed this agreement. Secretary Cuomo and more than 10 of the Nation's mayors successfully negotiated the agreement with gun manufacturer Smith & Wesson in March. This agreement is making our communities safer, and we should allow it to continue without congressional tampering.

Mr. Chairman, the Committee on Appropriations has agreed to hire 600 ATF agents and fund DNA ballistics technology that will assist law enforcement in arresting criminals. My ENFORCE bill authorizes the same programs.

The funding levels of this bill are a victory for gun enforcement. It is the first time gun safety and pro-gun Members have decided to give law enforcement the tools necessary to enforce existing gun laws. Now we all agree gun enforcement equals more ATF agents and funding for ballistic technology.

While the bill's funding level also increases gun enforcement, the Hostettler amendment cuts gun enforcement. It says that the ATF cannot enforce the Smith & Wesson agreement.

Here is a quote from the mayor of Bloomington, Indiana. Mayor John Fernandez calls these efforts a ``direct attempt to preempt our ability,'' their ability, the mayors, ``to build these kinds of successful efforts in partnership with the Federal Government, partnerships that will save lives in our cities and help make our communities safer.''

Here is a quote from Police Chief Trevor Hampton of Flint, Michigan: ``The gun manufacturers, like Smith & Wesson, can help police departments do their jobs by adjusting the guns they produce. For example, by putting a second hidden serial number in the inside of every gun they make.''

This only helps our police officers track those guns.

We constantly hear that Congress should not meddle in the affairs of our cities and our counties. The Hostettler amendment is meddling. It says local communities cannot work with the Federal Government to reduce gun violence. This amendment says the Department of Treasury should not keep [Page: H6704]

their word. It says it is trivial that 12 children are killed every day by gun violence.

The Department of Treasury reached an agreement with Smith & Wesson, and Congress should honor that agreement.

I urge all Members, Republicans and Democrats, to again defeat this amendment.

Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.

9:07 PM EDT

Carolyn McCarthy, D-NY 4th

Mrs. McCARTHY of New York. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Chairman, last month my colleague, the gentleman from Indiana (Mr. HOSTETTLER), attempted to turn back the clock on gun safety. He failed twice and the House bipartisanly rejected his amendments. Well, it is time to defeat this amendment again.

The bill has changed, but the amendment is the same. Instead of the Department of Justice or HUD, the gentleman from Indiana (Mr. HOSTETTLER) tries to prevent the Department of Treasury from spending any money related to the HUD-Smith & Wesson agreement.

More than 500 communities across the Nation from Los Angeles to Long Island, New York, have endorsed this agreement. Secretary Cuomo and more than 10 of the Nation's mayors successfully negotiated the agreement with gun manufacturer Smith & Wesson in March. This agreement is making our communities safer, and we should allow it to continue without congressional tampering.

Mr. Chairman, the Committee on Appropriations has agreed to hire 600 ATF agents and fund DNA ballistics technology that will assist law enforcement in arresting criminals. My ENFORCE bill authorizes the same programs.

The funding levels of this bill are a victory for gun enforcement. It is the first time gun safety and pro-gun Members have decided to give law enforcement the tools necessary to enforce existing gun laws. Now we all agree gun enforcement equals more ATF agents and funding for ballistic technology.

While the bill's funding level also increases gun enforcement, the Hostettler amendment cuts gun enforcement. It says that the ATF cannot enforce the Smith & Wesson agreement.

Here is a quote from the mayor of Bloomington, Indiana. Mayor John Fernandez calls these efforts a ``direct attempt to preempt our ability,'' their ability, the mayors, ``to build these kinds of successful efforts in partnership with the Federal Government, partnerships that will save lives in our cities and help make our communities safer.''

Here is a quote from Police Chief Trevor Hampton of Flint, Michigan: ``The gun manufacturers, like Smith & Wesson, can help police departments do their jobs by adjusting the guns they produce. For example, by putting a second hidden serial number in the inside of every gun they make.''

This only helps our police officers track those guns.

We constantly hear that Congress should not meddle in the affairs of our cities and our counties. The Hostettler amendment is meddling. It says local communities cannot work with the Federal Government to reduce gun violence. This amendment says the Department of Treasury should not keep [Page: H6704]

their word. It says it is trivial that 12 children are killed every day by gun violence.

The Department of Treasury reached an agreement with Smith & Wesson, and Congress should honor that agreement.

I urge all Members, Republicans and Democrats, to again defeat this amendment.

Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.

9:10 PM EDT

Virgil H. Goode Jr., I-VA 5th

Mr. GOODE. Mr. Chairman, first I want to thank the gentleman from Indiana (Mr. HOSTETTLER) for his efforts on behalf of the second amendment. He has taken the time to analyze this 24-page Smith & Wesson agreement and to understand its ramifications.

Many may think this applies only to Smith & Wesson, the Department of Treasury, HUD, and the localities that signed it. Not so. This has a direct and significant impact on individuals.

For example, a widow living alone who wanted to buy a firearm to protect herself in her own home goes to a gun store and, under this agreement, can she get a firearm? No, she cannot, unless she has taken a government-approved course or passed a government-approved test.

What if she wanted to buy something besides a Smith & Wesson, a Colt, a Berenger, or some other brand? No, she cannot get it under this agreement.

I urge my colleagues to read this agreement. We want our second amendment right preserved. I ask my colleagues to stand up for their right to defend themselves, their right to own a firearm, and vote for the Hostettler amendment.

9:12 PM EDT

Richard Neal, D-MA 2nd

Mr. NEAL of Massachusetts. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentlewoman for yielding me the time.

Mr. Chairman, what the gentleman from Indiana (Mr. HOSTETTLER) has continued to do here in each and every appropriations bill is to undo a freely negotiated settlement between the Department of HUD and Smith & Wesson.

Smith & Wesson is synonymous with not only gun safety over the years but, just as importantly, an excellent reputation for community service. And also it is a major employer in my district.

What troubles me about this is that we always hear these complaints about the intrusive nature of the Federal Government. This agreement was not forced upon Smith & Wesson. They voluntarily entered into this agreement. Overwhelmingly, the American people agree with the negotiated settlement. It is sensible and visionary public policy.

The continued effort here to resist this negotiated settlement is what is intrusive. This interference that has come now on three appropriations bills is what is intrusive. It is a mistake to proceed in this manner. We should allow this agreement to stand as it is, and we ought to honor it.

9:13 PM EDT

John N. Hostettler, R-IN 8th

Mr. HOSTETTLER. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself 1 1/2 minutes to respond to some of the comments made earlier.

Mr. Chairman, I once again want to reiterate the fact that the gentlewoman from New York (Mrs. MCCARTHY) said that this amendment is going to stop cities and Smith & Wesson from continuing in this agreement. This amendment does not.

This amendment merely stops the Federal Government from intruding in this situation from being a part of this agreement. So if Smith & Wesson and the cities and towns that are involved in this want to collude to compromise the safety of their men and women in uniform, they are free to do that.

Secondly, I would like to say that the gentleman said that this was an agreement that was freely entered into. It is not. This kind of Congress that makes the laws that the BATF is supposed to enforce never entered into this agreement. The people's House did not speak. This agreement was made between a private company, and the Congress said nothing.

[Time: 21:15]

But the gentleman from Massachusetts said now we are interfering. Now the Congress of the United States is interfering in legislation that was crafted by the executive branch and Smith & Wesson. Well, pardon us for interfering in the legislative process, but that is what we are here to do.

According to article 1, section 1 of the Constitution, all legislative power shall be vested in a Congress, not the lawyers at HUD, not the lawyers at Treasury and not the lawyers with Smith & Wesson. It is our prerogative to create policy as the Congress of the United States and not these entities that we have mentioned before.

9:13 PM EDT

John N. Hostettler, R-IN 8th

Mr. HOSTETTLER. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself 1 1/2 minutes to respond to some of the comments made earlier.

Mr. Chairman, I once again want to reiterate the fact that the gentlewoman from New York (Mrs. MCCARTHY) said that this amendment is going to stop cities and Smith & Wesson from continuing in this agreement. This amendment does not.

This amendment merely stops the Federal Government from intruding in this situation from being a part of this agreement. So if Smith & Wesson and the cities and towns that are involved in this want to collude to compromise the safety of their men and women in uniform, they are free to do that.

Secondly, I would like to say that the gentleman said that this was an agreement that was freely entered into. It is not. This kind of Congress that makes the laws that the BATF is supposed to enforce never entered into this agreement. The people's House did not speak. This agreement was made between a private company, and the Congress said nothing.

[Time: 21:15]

But the gentleman from Massachusetts said now we are interfering. Now the Congress of the United States is interfering in legislation that was crafted by the executive branch and Smith & Wesson. Well, pardon us for interfering in the legislative process, but that is what we are here to do.

According to article 1, section 1 of the Constitution, all legislative power shall be vested in a Congress, not the lawyers at HUD, not the lawyers at Treasury and not the lawyers with Smith & Wesson. It is our prerogative to create policy as the Congress of the United States and not these entities that we have mentioned before.

9:15 PM EDT

Ellen Tauscher, D-CA 10th

Mrs. TAUSCHER. Mr. Chairman, well, here they go again. Today, the gun lobby and their congressional friends are again trying to hijack the will of the American people.

Since the Smith & Wesson deal was announced, over 500 police departments and community leaders have pledged to buy only firearms that meet at least minimal safety standards, standards much like the ones included in this deal.

For some inexplicable reason, gun safety threatens some of my colleagues in this Chamber. Instead of obstructing responsible gun manufacturing as this amendment would do, we should be encouraging it. As parents and legislators, our job should be to promote responsibility, ensure safety and educate the American people when it comes to owning, selling and manufacturing firearms. It is certainly not our job to get in the way of responsible Americans who want responsible gun safety standards.

Mr. Chairman, it is time for children to once again feel safe in our schools and our neighborhoods. And it is time for this Congress to once again defeat this reckless amendment.

9:16 PM EDT

John N. Hostettler, R-IN 8th

Mr. HOSTETTLER. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself the balance of my time.

In closing, I just want to remind my colleagues that this issue is not an issue about gun safety. You do not need a 24-page agreement crafted by lawyers at HUD, BATF and Smith & Wesson to create an agreement considering gun locks, trigger locks and new modes of creating pistols that make those handguns more safe.

This is an argument of gun control and our second amendment rights and should we allow the Federal Government to bypass the legislative process to create more gun control and deprive us of our second amendment rights.