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tv   School Shootings and Safety Hearing  CSPAN  March 18, 2018 10:35am-2:19pm EDT

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hearing on school safety. witnesses include the father of a student who died in the parkland high school attack, and a teacher who sheltered in place with her students during the shooting. this is three hours and 40 minutes. [crowd noise] sen. grassley: we welcome you to a very important oversight hearing. we're here this morning to discuss another national tragedy and reflect on the loss of 17 innocent lives. the february 14th, 2018, attack on marjory stoneman douglas high school at parkland, florida, was an evil act committed by a
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troubled young man. he will account for what he has done in the court of law, but today we will also call the government to account for its role, or absence of role, in this tragedy. federal, state, and local officials each received tips about the alarming behavior of the parkland shooter. their failure to act allowed the parkland shooter to obtain and continue to possess firearms. in the wake of the parkland attack, this committee has an obligation to find out what happened and make sure plans are in place to prevent future tragedies.
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but we must rally around consensus evidence-based , solutions that will protect our country's most valuable resource, its young, from violent attacks. i hope political opportunists will not inject partisan agendas into this debate. it might be good for the parties and fundraising for midterms, but it is not good for america and the safety of our citizens. i saw this happen after newtown. after newtown, i worked with my colleague senator cruz to introduce legislation that would have improved reporting to the background check system provided , grants to support school safety measures and programs, supported the prosecutions of dangerous people who lied to try
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to buy firearms, and authorized a government study to solve the problem of mass shootings. that law could have helped prevent tragedies like sutherland springs, and the parkland shooting. the majority of the senate supported our bill on a bipartisan basis. tragically, it was held hostage by partisan politics and did not pass. senator cruz and i reintroduced the protecting community and preserve the second amendment act of 2018 last week. in addition, i have worked with senator hatch, former chairman of this committee and on my right, to draft the stop school violence act, which will provide needed funding to increase school safety. that bill now has cosponsorship, bipartisan, 36 senators.
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i am also a cosponsor of senator cornyn's bill, which is supported by 68 senators. i also support the president's effort to regulate bump stocks, if necessary, to pass a bill to get it done. and today, i want to announce i will be introducing the marjory stoneman douglas high school memorial act of 2018. this bill will provide funding to support secret service national threat assessment efforts to cut down on school violence. it will also enable the national threat assessment center to train more of our nation's schools and how to conduct early intervention. the secret service has already trained 93,000 government officials, school administrators, teachers and law enforcement officials in implementing effective threat-assessment programs. this training enables local
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communities to prevent dangerous and unstable individuals like the parkland shooter from carrying out intended attacks. the bill will enable the national threat assessment center to share its own proven techniques and research with more of our nation's school systems. it is a fitting memory to the victims and survivors of the parkland attack, and will help prevent future violence. vivors e helpand attack, and will prevent future violence. i invite my colleagues on this committee to support this bill as cosponsor. it is clear we have a number of bills the senate can come that canto support reduce school violence and mass shootings. some on this committee has said we are not taking action, that we are not holding hearings and marking up builds on this issue. this is the second hearing on mass shootings and related legislation that we have had in four months. that is more hearings than the
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last chairman held on this issue, at this point, in that tenure, despite the d.c. sniper attacks, the virginia tech shootings and other attacks during that time period. as for markups, i have had discussions with senate leadership and members of this committee on both sides of the aisle, on how we can an act legislation to prevent violent attacks. colleagues well know, legislation on controversial issues such as gun issues are of concern to the entire senate. it is common for builds on these andes to bypass committee, to be brought straight to the senate floor. that was the strategy the democrats used when they brought up senator manchin and senator toomey's bill on universal background checks when they were in the majority.
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that bill went straight to the floor without a hearing or markup, where it was debated by the full senate. it is possible a similar approach may be used now, as the senate works together to consider what should be done about school safety and preventing mass violence. we are holding, this hearing, which i believe is a great opportunity for the entire senate and indeed the country. i hope today's hearing can shed light on what government can do better to prevent future attacks. since the parkland shooting i have instructed my staff to investigate what went wrong. so we had officials from the fbi immediately brief the committee's majority and minority staffs. we also heard from representatives of facebook, instagram, google, youtube. these companies outlined efforts to work mostly with law enforcement and quickly respond to inquiries.
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-- responded to inquiries in the parkland case and similar cases. google and facebook officials noted the fbi did reach out to them to help identify and locate the shooter. if the fbi had done so, both companies said they would have been able to provide detailed information, including ip addresses. that information likely would have divided the fbi with a physical address. they also highlighted efforts to use technology and user feedback to identify a alarming content that should be referred to law enforcement for further investigation. so i want to thank those companies for their willingness to meet and discuss these very important issues, and for sending them representative to the hearing today. i also want to thank ryan petty, the father of elaina patty, who
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petty, who was a victim in the parkland shooting. of that the loss community at that school and look forward to your perspective on these issues. the committee also invited broward county sheriff scott israel to testify. he declined. i have seen that share up all over television, discussing the shooting, so it is disappointing that he has refused to speak to the country through his testimony before this committee. secretary ofll, florida's department of school and families was also invited. this department investigated and interviewed the shooter before the attack and appears to have dropped the ball. ppears refused to a even though governor scott didn't oppose his attendance.
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by thumbing their noses at congress, sheriff israel and theetary carol have let american people down, and also the citizens of a floor they serve. as we will discuss, the broward county sheriff and the department of child and families are integral to the parkland fact pattern, and that fact pattern is, as you all know, very, very disturbing. in 2017 the shooter posted a comment on a youtube video that "i am going to be a professional school shooter." the creator of the video flag the comment and reported it to the fbi. the september 2017 kit was routed to the fbi's west virginia call center. according to what the fbi told the committee, the responsible fbi agents did not believe they had enough information to identify the shooter who made
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the youtube post. the fbi closed the case. i january 5 of this year, the fbi received a call from a woman who knew the shooter well. she described a troubled young man who posted disturbing statements and pictures of mutilated animals and guns on social media. the caller described the shooter as suicidal, with homicidal ideas. providedr also the fbi with usernames to four of his social media accounts. in one account he wrote, "i want to kill people." the caller also explicitly mentioned her concern that he may try to get into a school and , "shoot the place up." the caller, the call taker concluded there was no imminent threat because the caller did not provide a target date and
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target location. if the fbi followed up on that tape it would most likely have sent agents to interview the shooter. either way, it appears that the fbi did not communicate with local law enforcement. addition to the fbi, the state of florida has a tremendous responsibility as well. 28, 2016, florida's department of children and families opened an investigation into the shooter. at that investigation, that department of child and families aoncluded that he is " vulnerable adult due to mental illness." that department's investigation also mentioned that a mobile crisis unit was deployed at and determinedh, the shooter was not a risk to himself or others. on november 12, 2016, that department closed the investigation. , itppeared local officials
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appears, i should say, local officials in florida including the broward county sheriff may the necessary steps to involuntary commitment. if he had been involuntarily committed to a mental institution for treatment, he would have been entered into the makes system and prohibited from systeming -- the nix and prohibited from purchasing firearms. we must determine the best approach toed improving school safety. senator feinstein. senator feinstein: thanks very much, mr. chairman. this hearing comes on the one-month anniversary of the heinous attack at marjory stoneman douglas high school by a 19-year-old who legally purchased the weapon used.
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14 high school students and three faculty members were shot to death that day. beingday their memory is honored by students and parents across the country, who are marching and reflecting during a 17-minute moment of silence. i want to begin by giving my deepest and sincerest condolences to each of the families and all of their loved ones, and to my two colleagues would be speaking shortly, senators nelson and rubio. i just had the opportunity, along with the chairman, to meet son.yan petty and his and all i could do was give them a big hug. it is a terrible thing about this. all you can do is give a victim a big hot. just this past saturday in my home state of california, the nation woke up to heartbreaking news of a gunman who took
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hostages in a military veterans home. the gunmen brutally gunned down home victims, each of worked at the veterans home. jennifer was pregnant with her first child. their lives were abruptly ended and their family's -- and their is enormous.ef these events have become too commonplace as gun violence in this country gets worse and and assaultuns weapons continue to flood our streets by the millions. when i first joined the senate in 1992, following a mass shooting at a law firm located at 101 california street in san francisco, we worked to pass an assault-weapons ban. this band was law for 10 years. as the chart shows, when the
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legislation was enacted in 1994, it works. befored to the decade the ban was enacted, the number of gun massacres fell by 37%, and the number of people dying from gun massacres fell by 43%. now here is the thing. --the decades that followed in the decade that followed the expiration of the ban in 2014, things got measurably worse. gun massacres increased by 183%, and there was a 239% increase in deaths from those massacres. this is stunning. the fact is, since the ban have seen more and more children, families, communities victimized by mass shootings from military-style assault weapons. and on with on
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numbers. let's just go to sandy hook. gun,ught, who could take a a powerful military weapon converted for civilian use, and go into a school of six and seven-year-olds, and just kill 20 of them and six staff, outright? but ladies and gentlemen, it happened, and it is still happening. since sandy hook, there have been 239 school shootings shotnwide, with 438 people and 138 people killed. this average is out to five school shootings per month. this is outrageous in the united states of america. apart from school shootings, since sandy hook, approximately 7000 children have been killed by gun violence.
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just yesterday, we all received a sobering reminder of this figure when 7000 pairs of donated shoes were neatly laid across the capitol lawn to represent the children lost since sandy hook. i regret it didn't get much shoes werethose there and those deaths happened. this congress cannot continue to do nothing, because nothing means more lives are lost, including the youngest and most vulnerable among us. we must act. we cannot continue to sit in this room and other rooms, week after week, and simply do nothing. high school students who have lost their friends are literally begging us to take action to get these guns off the streets and
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out of our schools. there are options. we can talk about getting better background checks, limiting purchases of magazines, banning bump stocks, raising the age of who can buy a semi-automatic rifle, and provide a legal process for securing a restraining order when someone has a mental illness. i would very much like to see an assault-weapons ban. one, we thinkten it makes sense, it has introduced but i'm first one to the nra's power in these united states of america. ladies and gentlemen, the statistics are reaching the point of killings that do not justified millions of these weapons floating over our streets and being used in our
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and being used in our schools of this country. hope this committee will take some consequential action. thank you very much, mr. chairman. chairman: thank you, senator feinstein. now have the opportunity to hear from the two senators from florida. we thank you very much for coming. we are sorry you have to be here under these circumstances. nelson: mr. chairman, thank you for the courtesy. i have to go to the commerce committee. so, after my statement, if you will excuse me, senator thune and i need to kick off the committee meeting momentarily. mr. chairman, matt of ranking member, by fellow senators, we have had our fill of this in florida in the last two years.
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49 souls lost at the pulse with a six f in our mcs. the florida airport with a rapidfire in -- rapidfire handgun. and now in ar-15 at the school. senator rubio and i have joined together as we work well together on so many other pieces of legislation that will affect of this, things that are steps in the right direction, like what the florida legislature did, the most significant, the three-day waiting period, but that's it. age 21, yes, arming some school personnel, yes, i getting at the bump stocks. senator rubio and i trying to
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offer federal incentives and legislation that we filed to make schools safer, trying to catch the red flags and get them to the attention of authorities, another piece of legislation. but these are just steps in the right direction. when you go through what we have gone through, you realize there's a difference between an assault rifle and a handgun. and all you have to do is talk to the trauma surgeons in orlando and in broward county and they will tell you that a handgun bullets, of which they handle many, they can save their life unless it it's an oregon like the heart -- it hits an organ like the heart.
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but they cannot save somebody hit by an assault rifle will because it is three times the velocity and three times the energy when it hits its target and it tumbles. likef it hits an organ, the liver, it will pulverize the liver and come the other side of this victim as big as an orange. that is the difference between these weapons. rifleou add an assault with a banana clip that now has 30 rounds, and by the way, i'm a hunter. i grew up on a ranch. i hunted all my life i still want with my son. and there are son game that you hunt that you are limited as to the number of bullets or shells. you put a banana clip in an assault rifle and you are out to do massacres, just what we have
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seen. and it's common sense. i'm a cosponsor of senator feinstein's legislation. what about all the assault rifles out there? senator feinstein is absolutely common sense. you can't go and eliminate all of them out there. so her legislation is on a going forward basis. to get the sense assault rifles and the banana clips off the streets. and the other piece of legislation is so common sense, background checks. there are too many ways to get around it. we actually have a constitutional amendment in the state constitution from the late 1990's in florida that says background checks are mandated,
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but people get around it by doing the gun shows and the nonfederal he licensed dealers one to another. they get around it. so if you require a universal background check, then you will catch things. and then you can add what sooner -- what senator rubio and i have been trying, the red flags. you can add the restrainer's that are being picked up. you can even get it at the terrorist watchlist or somebody who had been on the terrorist watch list but was not when they purchased the weapon, like omar mateen. had he had that check, he would not have killed those 49 people in orlando because he would have been caught in that background check. universal background checks, common sense. i know the politics here, mr.
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chairman. and it's tough. and of course, what i would like to see, as i have supported in a bipartisan way with my colleague and a little step that we can get. but at the end of the day, you are not going to stop these massive until you get at these two common sense things i have suggested. and oh, would i like it not only no more that school, massacres, but that would be the last forever. thank you, mr. chairman. and if i may be excused to go on to the commerce committee and chairman grassley: thank you, senator nelson. sen. rubio: thank you for holding this hearing. unlike any of the issues we have confronted the seven years here,
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iis one has a double impact, have two girls in high school. it's time the picture comes up of the student and their i know i am familiar with the stories because they are the stories that could have very well been the classmates of the children mike -- classmates -- classmates that my children go to school with. our hearts break for the families that are carrying it now. and the hopes that we can act you so this never happens to anyone ever again. today, across the country, in a few minutes, students across the country will be exercising their first amendment right demanding changes on how we regular our second amendment right. it is an interesting lesson in civics and in our constitutional
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process. other -- more than any other committee in the senate, this committee also understands the difficulties and the political back-and-forth that occurs. the strong, well-intentioned opinions that exist. i think the one thing we have common ground on is i know of no one in this country who wants to see another community or another state and/or such senseless suchnce -- state endure senseless violence. withspent time talking everyone we could talk to to learn to ultimately identify what could have stopped of this. and i want to unequivocally state you that this tragedy was of two the first was of a multisystemic failure by government agencies at the federal, state, and local level. and second, because of vulnerabilitie in our existing
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laws that need to be addresseds. one of the family members that i have spoken to regularly is ryan petty, elaine is father -- alayna's father. she was a friend of many. you have the opportunity to hear from ryan and from miss catherine posada, a teacher at the school. listen.age everyone to he said yesterday that the shooter was the worst kept secret in parkland. that is perhaps the most stunning truth of all. the school system new he was dangerous. local law enforcement new he was dangerous. the fbi was told directly that he was dangerous. someone close to the shooter called and said they feared he would carry out a shooting to both the police and the fbi. at one point, he even declared he would be a professional school shooter.
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you not only bought multiple guns, he stepped foot in that school. he did not falter when cracked. he slipped through many cranks. there are -- cracks. must pass the stop violence act, the strengthened school training, create threat assessment and crisis intervention team so these entities can come together and prepare notes. i believe, had it happen here, they would have acted. we also need to provide law enforcement and family members who have someone they know who is dangerous and threatening. today, they have very limited options of what they can do about it. i hope we can pass a law that incentivizes states to do a ford has done now and that is great gun violence protection orders that provide due process that
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also a mechanism by which dangerous individuals cannot just be prevented from buying any gun, but also lose the ones that have now before they take action. third, something that has not received enough attention, i believe we need to spend some time examining the policies that could potentially discourage schools from reporting dangerous students. i want you to understand i do not want students being arrested, especially for things that would not be a crime to an adult or things that are typical of a school experience and whatever. but i do think this guy should have been arrested, because he specifically threatened students and their lives. he was a dangerous individual. and broward counties policies that serve as a framework for we federal guidance to date cannot determine how exactly the reports related to the shooter were handled. we have a diversion program called promise, but i was told by the superintendent he was never in the program. really other route that remains is law enforcement.
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yet, it is not to that law enforcement -- that he was ever referred to law enforcement act. if he had been come a fat -- if arrested or committed, he would never have passed a background check. there are other things we should do. nick'srt the bill to fix act. i support senator toomey and senator coontz. i thank you for the opportunity to testify today. i hope you consider us willing partners to move forward on this. i want to close with this note. out of tragedy and out of heartbreak, the families of the 17 victims in parkland decided they would set aside for a moment there are differences on ulcerative other dishes so that -- other issues so they could come together and fight hard on the things they agree on. that should serve as an example
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to this body. there are things we agree on. we should pass those things. there are things we should disagree. we should debate them. but first, we should act on the things we agree on and take action so this never happens again to anyone anywhere. thank you, mr. chairman. chairman grassley: thank you, senator rubio. i appreciate it very much. we will call our first panel. introduce the first panel, i will wait until your name gets up there so you know where you will sit. but i would like to have you stand. and i would like to swear you before you take a seat. do each of you affirm that the testimony you are about to give before the committee will be the
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truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you god? thanks for each of you assenting to that. sit down. i will introduce you know before you speak. mr. brandon is the acting director of the bureau of alcohol, tobacco, firearms, explosives. he began at this agency within the department of justice as a career special agent in detroit in 1989. mr. brandon is also. -- has also been in the united states marines from 1978 to 1982. is the actingh deputy director of the federal bureau of investigation. he began his career as a police officer in new mexico in 1991 and then joined the fbi in 1995 as a special agent that served as a swat team member.
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-- lina alathari is the chief of the u.s. secret service national threat assessment center. has worked on cases of targeted violence. she is well known for providing guidance based on her research to the u.s. government agencies, international security agencies, schools and businesses. beingk each of you for here, and particularly for the time you had to prepare for testimony of possible questions. rector brandon, we will begin with you. bowd and then dr.i alathari.
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brandon: thank you for the opportunity to speak before this body. on behalf of the men and women of atf, i extent deep felt condolences to the family, friends and loved ones of those killed or injured and to the survivors and the families. we have the utmost respect for the teachers, staff and students at the school and the bravery that they have demonstrated. the park when shooting investigation is ongoing and the alleged shooter has been charged in foot a state court. because it is ongoing, i am limited in the information i can provide today about the case. but i can genuinely -- generally outline the role in response to the shooting. to first atf agents reported the school within minutes. they assisted in clearing the building of students while the search for the gunman was
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ongoing and in securing the scene. atf quickly trace the firearm recovered at the school. it was an ar-15 type rifle. determining that the legend weapon had attained the and secured additional evidence. they determined that the ff l conducted the required background check prior to completing the sale and the alleged shooter past that check. this process was ongoing. other atf agents continued contacting other in the area to determine if the shooter had acquired any other firearms to ensure that any such firearms were located and secured as. the investigation continued, atf agents assisted in several search warrants. these warrants resulted in the currently of nine additional firearms on which atf conducted urgent traces. information resulted in conducting additional interviews
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of those who sold the firearms and securing additional evidence about the stratton's actions. atf helped identify all firearms by the shooter and assure that those firearms had been recovered and security. included 40 special agent send dozens of sports -- special staff, and from our crime gun intelligence division. the park was shooting has focused on the unfortunate reality that law enforcement agencies receive several tips about the alleged shooter's mental health issues and possession of firearms. these disclosures are gutwrenching for all law enforcement. we are universally committed to responding appropriately when there is information received about the potential for violence. theoon as i learned possibility of tip information from the public had not been effectively acted on, i ordered
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a review of policies and procedures for assessment and documentation of tips from the public. at the time of the parkland the process had been in place for several years. it includes calls to agents to field agents across the country and tips through our toll-free national tip lines and through emails and online tips and via text messages through a mobile device application that we deployed in 2016. fieldty agent in each division is designated to document, assess, and investigative's directly received in the field while our joint operations center, which is staffed 20 47 is responsible for handling tips received 3 million text messages -- 24/7 is responsible for handling tips through emails and text messages. procedures could be improved by centralizing responsibilities for these functions in each center and by leveraging new
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technologies. using existing resources, we quickly developed and have now deployed -- actually last week -- an effective system to document, disseminate, and track tips we receive from the public to ensure consistent follow-through on these tips. mr. chairman and members of the committee, thank you again for the opportunity to discuss this matter with you today. but before i close, i would like one last thought. shootingse-scale understand stanley drop public's renee, crimes -- public scrutiny, crimes involving firearms occur every day. atf battles this by using our expertise. i can assure you that the men and women of atf are ready and are working every day to find
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ways to stop the daily toll of firearms related deaths. i'm happy to answer any questions that the committee may have. thank you. chairman grassley, ranking member feinstein, members of this committee, it is my privilege to appear before you today as the acting deputy director of the fbi. my first formal appearance before any congressional affairs desk committee and i wish that it were under different circumstances. on february 14, 2018 at marjorie stoneman douglas high school in parkland, florida, a former student shot 17 innocent people and cause significant physical and emotional harm to countless others. this tragedy abruptly ended the lives of kids who had their lives and their dreams ahead of them. and stole their futures. to the families. -- ahead of them and stole their futures.
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director ray, myself, and the rest of the fbi extend our deepest sympathies to you. though nothing can be said to undo the herd and the loss that you feel, please know that the fbi continues to work closely with our state and local law enforcement partners in florida to ensure that justice will be served. unfortunate, as was disclosed by the fbi shortly after this terrible incident, the fbi did receive two separate tips that we now know were related to the shooter, nicholas cruise -- nikolas cruz. the fbi could have and should have done more with the information prior to the shooting. while we will never know if we could have prevented this tragedy, we clearly should have done more. our investigation continues into exactly what the fbi knew before
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figure 14, 2018, what we did what we did not do in response. to summarize the results of our investigation to date, let me quickly walk the committee through the relevant timeline as we understand it. it is important to understand that the fbi -- fbi receives tips from the public through our public access line or pal. it is the central call center for all calls and electronic chips made to the fbi field offices. the access line is responsible for receiving and vett informationing -- vetting information from the public. to understand the volume of leads we receive, during 2017 handled 35,000 email tips. on december 25, 2017, we received a email tip in
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mississippi that a person unknown to him posted on his youtube channel context -- i will be a professional school shooter. it was from nikolas cruz. in response to this day, the pal opened what is called a guardian lead and decided it to a jackson, mississippi field office. with a local along task force officer, interview the tipster on october 2, 2017. at the time of this interview, of aips provided a copy screenshot of the subject's post. believing the true poster -- the true identity of the poster cannot be determined, the guardian lead was closed on october 11, 2017, without additional investigative activity. i generally fifth, 2018, the fbi received another tip by way of a byl through powell -- pal
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someone who identified yourself as a close friend of the family. ruz harmingabout c himself and others, references to isis, that he had threatened his mother with a rifle, that he had purchased several weapons, that he wanted to kill people, and she believed he was going to explode, that he was mutilating small animals. the caller was concerned that cruz would shoot up a school. the caller also noticed that the shooter was 18 years old but had the mental capacity of a 14-year-old. she wanted someone to look into this matter. upon finishing this call, the fbi operator conducted a search of our databases and found the closed guardian lead out of mississippi. the operator then consulted with her supervisor and the matter was closed.
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the information was never forwarded to a field office or to any of our state and local partners for review or action. as the fbi learned of the parkland shooting incident, our personnel searched our holdings and discovered the two tips. this is not the kind of news i want to deliver to this committee, to the families, or to the public. but we are committed to transparency in all that we do on behalf of the american people. while i cannot fathom the anger and the sense of loss of the victims' families and friends, i again want to express behalf of the men and women of the fbi our deepest to put these and regret. when we make mistakes, we will not hide from them and we are committed with your help to doing whatever is necessary to correct our net -- our mistakes so that tragedies like this cannot be repeated. thank you and i look forward to your questions.
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chairman grassely: thank you. now dr. alathari. dr. alathari: i would like to thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss school safety and the important work the secret service program has done. on behalf of the men and women of the secret service and the threat assessment center, i want to express my sincere sympathy to the victims and families impacted and both the tragic shooting at marjorie stoneman douglas high school in parkland, florida, and the clinician killed last week in california. years, ourst 20 center has been conducting research, training, and consultation on the prevention of targeted violence. in fulfilling its congressionally authorized it has researched and published reports on attacks targeting government officials and facilities, public spaces,
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k-12 schools, and races of higher education. what we have -- and places of higher education. what we have learned from these efforts to adapt to the changing dynamics of those who come to our attention and pose a threat to the larger community. our agency adopted its own protocol to ensure that we partner with state and local law enforcement and others to share information that we and cover during our investigation so that we might prevent a threat to the places where we work, live, and learn. it has recently initiated a project specifically related to school safety. the first will be the creation and a submission of an operational guide that will provide school personnel, law enforcement and others with guidance on the creation of comprehensive targeted
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prevention -- violence prevention in schools. targetede incidence of school violence. the overall goal of these projects is to provide guidance to the thousands of school personnel, law-enforcement and others with evidence-based best practices and prevention and early warning detection. we know that previous research has significant impact in this area. in 20 after two thousand two, in partnership with the department c releasedon, nta a report with the findings and the accompanying guide setting the standard for the creation of threat assessment programs in schools. as evidence of the immediate impact the study had, following the release of the findings of school in new bedford, massachusetts was able to use this information to react quickly when a student came with
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information about a potential attack. the administrators, teachers, resource officers, and local police department were able to quickly identify the students involved in this alleged plot and make arrests. following the incident, the chief of police attributed the to your secret service recommendations based on the findings of the safe school initiative. in subsequent years, ntac engaged in other activities related to school safety in calais birdie -- and collaboration with other agencies. based on our research, we know that threat assessment programs are most effective at reducing the risk of violence when implemented in a comprehensive manner. as outlined in more detail in my written testimony, the major function of a school threat assessment program is to identify students who are exhibiting concerning behavior, gather information, and assess whether they pose a risk of
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violence and identify intervention strategies to manage that risk. since the release of the ssi, ntac has been providing in-depth training to school personnel, or enforcement officers, and mental health professionals. to date, ntac has conducted training to more than 93,000 attendees and we continue to do so. we also provide consultation for schools, law enforcement, and other agencies on the development of threat assess -- assessment programs tailored to their own missions and resources. the goal of ntac activities is to promote best practices, and the standardization of assessment. chairman grassley, making mender feinstein, and members of the committee, the secret service thanks you. i would be happy to answer any questions you may have.
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chairman grassely: before we start our five-minute round of questioning, i would like to make sure that some documents are inserted into the hearing record. i have six. first, a letter from sandy hook promise, an organization formed in response to sandy hook massacre supporting threat assessment training. as annator hatch's bill effective way of preventing school shootings. number two, a timeline for the shooter. firearm purchases. number three, the copy of the florida department of family and children investigation into cruz. a description of the call about cruz. five, the broward county sheriff call log regarding cruz. the broward county sheriff timeline of events of the day of the shooting. and if there is no objections, i
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would like to submit these documents for the record. then one other statement about the fbi our letters that we 2018,to them on march 2, following up on the briefings that the fbi gave my staff on february 23, when 18. ask 2018. i should say not just my staff, but the staff of the entire committee, revoking a democrat. although i asked for a response by march 12, have never received both republican and democrat. although i asked for a response by march 12, i have not received one. i will start with my question. then i have a list of the republicans and i will ask senator feinstein to give me a list of the order of the democrats.
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i will start with director bowdich. 2018 tip was so specific. it provided clear detail of cruz's potential to be a school shooter. however, the briefing you rovided to the committee -- i'm sorry. thever, according to briefing you provided the committee, the fbi believed cruz was a local matter because the tipster said that she had called parkland police department about cruz. did the fbi reach out to law enforcement to give them a warning about cruz? if not, why not? dir. bowdich: no circa we did not. i do not know why the call taker
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did not do so. she conferred with her supervisor and she made some sort of a presentation about what was contained in that call and a decision was made. there was discussion about the fact that the local department had been notified. you are absolutely correct, senator. the call was very explicit. however, they made a decision to close it, no lead value, and no call was made to the local jurisdiction. is that fbissely: employee considered to be a diligent person? senator, i don't know the employee personally. chairman grassely: that's good enough. if you can't answer it, then don't answer it. we ought to be finding out. director brandon, i want to ask you about bump stocks. in its advance notice, the atf proposed a rulemaking process "that would interpret statutory
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statutory definition of machine-gun and the firearms act and the gun control act of clarify whether certain devices commonly known as bump fire falls in that definition. the president called for the atf "to promote a rule banning all devices that turn legal weapons into machine guns." last saturday, doj announced that the proposed relation had been submitted to the white house for omb to review it. does the atf propose regulation focused on bump stocks or does it include other devices or how soon can we expect the bumps? and how soon can we expect the bumps regulation to be promulgated? dir. brandon: when it was clear, we would step on the gas.
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it was announced on september 26. we received over 2000 comments. following the attorney general's ,irection and the president's we have now at omb, as you mentioned, a notice of proposed rulemaking that will deal with bump stocks. hairman grassely: dr. alathari, you have studied the issues of school safety for many years. what is theion, best way to prevent school shootings and how did you arrive to the conclusion you're going to tell us? dr. alathari: based on our research and expense, but assessment programs have been the standard for preventing these types of attacks, not just in the school plays, but in the work face as well for the past 20 years. we believe that a advance of
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threat assessment program is the most effective method of reducing this violence. it would offers cool's to identify students who may be exhibiting concerning behavior, assess and gather information on this behavior and come up with intervention strategies. directorgrassely: bowdich, the next audit log can be be used to flag subjects. clear evidence exists that the individual wants to buy a firearm to commit a crime. cruz the fbi have placed on the list. did the fbi place them on the audit log? and if you did not, why not? dir. bowdich: senator, i would have to look could we have. i know that he was not placed on the next audit log.
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he purchased six weapons come in addition to the one he used in the shooting. all were legally purchased. chairman grassely: senator feinstein. it is mystein: understanding that, under federal law, fugitives cannot legally purchase or possess guns. we have heard from local law enforcement that the justice department has issued a memo that forced the fbi nix background database to drop names of fugitives without sending arrest warrants because it was uncertain whether those fugitives had fled across state lines. can you describe why this determination was made by the justice department? dir. bowdich: yes, ma'am. that was a decision made under the previous administration. it was the department of
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justice's office of legal counsel that reviewed the law. it believed it needed to be interpreted so that, if someone was a fugitive in a state, there had to be indications that they had crossed state lines. otherwise, they were not known to be a fugitive under the law in the way that it was interpreted. feinstein: we would appreciate seeing that opinion. would you provided for the committee, please? i will confer with the department of justice. but, yes, ma'am, i will be sure to get it to you. sen. feinstein: following the murders of nine churchgoers at the ame emmanuel church in 2015, the fbi admitted they did not properly obtain information regarding the gunmen's drug arrest record, which should have prohibited him from buying a handgun.
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the fbi apparently had not completed its review within three days because the dealer was legally permitted to complete the sale to the handgun -- to the gunman. as a result, nine were killed. there are two questions. are there instances where state records or other records cannot be physically obtained within a three-day delay period by the fbi? and in those instances, would it make sense to eliminate the three-day requirement that allows a gun dealer to transfer a gun without a completed background check? dir. bowdich: that is a great question. the decision on whether or not to eliminate is not ours. as you believe -- as i believe you know, a decision has to be made within three days to either proceed or not. after that, the firearms dealer
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has the option to proceed with it. sen. feinstein: that is what i was trying to say. maybe i did not say it accurately. correct.ich: you are there are a variety of reasons why we cannot at times find the necessary amount of information to proceed. and in that case, that three-day expiration does take place. what we find is that many of the big box sellers do not proceed after three days until we get them more information. sen. feinstein: would it make sense for those who do proceed, regardless of the need for additional information, to for anthat period additional period of time? dir. bowdich: i guess i will leave that to those that actually make that decision. on the face of it coming seems to me -- sen. feinstein: on you number two in the department? dir. bowdich: yes, ma'am. sen. feinstein:. you have any
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input? dir. bowdich: i do have input. it would make sense, yes. sen. feinstein: thank you, mr. chairman. senator? >> i know we are all feeling a commend us sense of urgency to prevent terrible mass shootings like this. i do believe that it is important for us to do what we can do while we continue to debate upon things on which there is not yet consensus. because they're 69 senators who are cosponsoring a bill to improving background check system, which is a result of the failure of federal agencies like -- thertment of defense department of
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gun at sutherland springs. since the shooting in sutherland springs, 4000 people with dishonorable discharges have been uploaded into the background check system that had not previously been loaded, which of course is a disqualifying factor undercurrent law for purchasing a firearm. nix billpass the six today -- the fix nix bill today. we know that senator hatch has a school safety bill that many of us support that provide additional resources to help improve safety. we know congress has passed a bill lasted december called the 21st century cures act, which includes money to assist states in operating assisted outpatient
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programs, a civil court procedure by which judges can supervise the treatment of people with mental illness without civil commitment. we know that congress has passed and president obama signed into law money for training for active shooter training, which after the columbine shooting, law enforcement changed its tactics to go in and interact with the shooter to prevent additional killing. and part of the bill that we passed that has now been signed into law would authorize the training of emergency medical officials to go in after the shooting site is secured because i learned first you have to stop the killing, then you have to stop the dying for people who were injured. but if law enforcement does not go in and the emergency medical technicians don't go in, obviously, the loss of life will than it needs to
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be under the circumstances. but it strikes me that we have a conundrum here. i would like to get your comment on it. law enforcement in america is trained to investigate and prosecute crimes, not pre-crime. that is the stuff of movies. but we still have to have some tools available to intervene when people demonstrate their dangerousness to themselves and to the others. some of these tools already exist, like the assisted out payment -- assisted .utpatient procedure there are tools available, but they are not widely recognized. law enforcement and communities need to be trained to take advantage of those. particular, i agree with
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senator rubio. there was a catastrophic failure at every single level that occurred here, which made this shooting possible. and we have to find a way to plug those holes. i would be interested in hearing your comment about this conundrum between law enforcement being authorized to investigate and prosecute crimes but not pre-crime, and the challenge of dealing with people who have demonstrable mental illness and should not legally undercurrent law be able to firearms,nd possess getting access to them in committing crimes like this. dir. bowdich: thank you, senator for the question. you are right, pre-crime is the stuff of movies. however, one thing we are charged with this protection of our country and our communities. sometimes, that does take disruptions prior to the act. in this case, and in many other
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cases, there are limitations for us. and we know that. to be fully transparent on, we made mistakes here. no question about that. that said, even had we done everything right, i'm not sure if we could have stopped to this act. but it sure would have been nice to try. it would have been nice for our investigator to sit down in front of mr. cruz and have that discussion. you made another great point during your narrative about the system and howx it is only as good as the information that goes into it. it is a good system. it's not perfect. but it is a good system. we are trying to work with our state and local counterparts to ensure that we have as full participation in that system. one of the problems we have is disposition of crimes. we are still lacking many of
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those throughout the country. the attorney he recently put up guidance for us to build and strengthen those partnerships to make sure everyone understands the stakes of us lacking certain dispositions going into that system. i don't want to take up all the time, senator. dr. alathari: thank you, senator, for that question. it is an interesting question because that is one of the main focus that my center does in training our own agency personnel, as well as other state and local law enforcement on preventing various targets of violence. one of the things we talk about is the protective intelligence of the agency which is managed at headquarters. but investigations are carried out by our global field network of offices. for the most part, when someone comes to the agency for an inappropriate interest or possibly a threatening interest, they have not committed a crime. so the goal of a protective
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intelligence investigation is to identify these people, assess why they again in the behavior that brought them to our attention, and then come up with prevention strategies. a lot of times, those intervention strategies cannot be about arrest because they have not committed a crime. if they do not meet the threshold of imminent risk, than they are not able to be committed. we were closely with our partners in the community, through our network of field offices and agencies the field, by building liaisons, partners, identifying resources that we can offer to these individuals so that we can mitigate the risk of them engaging in a harmful act to themselves or others. sen. cornyn: mr. chairman, there was a discussion at the beginning. we have had a lot of hearings on this issue. we had a number of them when i was chairman on gun violence.
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meaningful advanced legislation on universal background checks, school safety grants, straw purchasing, assault weapons bans, and received over 50 votes in the senate. rememberhearings, i said theypeared and opposed universal background checks even though it was obvious on the evidence that a lot of guns were being bought a gun shows and elsewhere, straw purchases and so on. we talk about our children being killed. what can be done to fix it? we have to admit the fact that the united states is unique in this thing. we cannot say, oh, we are no
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different than any other. let me show you a chart. do you have that chart their? -- there? look at these. gungun deaths per capita, deaths for mental disorders. you know, we are off the charts in just one category, gun deaths. you say this is a mental issue. saying,ired of people when something like this happens, this is not the time to talk about gun safety or gun legislation. we should say a prayer for the victims. of course, say a prayer for the victims. but don't claim this is just mental disorder. look at these figures. we are an outlier in this country. we have to do something about it. we have to do this on behalf of the children who are marching in
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solidarity in my state of vermont and in every other state today. brandon, i think of atf, and we work with atf in my state of prosecutor,id as a americans would be shot to know your agency is forced to use a backwards paper only systems trace content. congress forced you to act like back in the 19th century. you are prevented from electronically searching records. this is what you have to go through. there couldhat is be stored in something like this, yet you have to go -- if you can even find the papers to do it, and why? has -- fromress doing it.
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these circumstances have prevented your agents from doing their jobs? thank you.n: i may have misspoke when i answered the chairman's questions about bump stocks. wasy have said december 26 the date, but it was actually september 26. to answer your question, sir, that is the law and we comply with it. understand.i would you be a lot better off if you could electronically search these records? dir. brandon: any detective or --nt knows you don't conduct when you conduct an investigation, time matters. anything that can enhance that is beneficial for public safety. forced to: so being go through paper records cuts down your ability to react. director, -- i mean, mr. senator, is it
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octomom, no, but it is the law and we comply with the law -- is ptimum, no, but it is the law and we comply with the law. those background checks take between 48 and 100 hours, do they not? dir. brandon: yes, sir. on the chairman of the appropriations committee. i know you are on a very tight budget. if you are going to do those detailed background checks, you don't have it. so let me ask you one other question. a lot of individuals sell firearms online or at gun shows,
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elsewhere. they can do that without background checks. is that correct? dir. brandon: that is correct, assuming they have a federal arms license and then they would be required. sen. leahy: i am concerned about this. i know that senator feinstein asked about nix background checks. the justice department instructed the fbi to remove the records of individuals of outstanding rests, warrants from the background check system, 500,000 individuals. dude you notify the states before you removed these individuals? you had this data for decades. last year, they were removed. did you tell the states you are doing that. dir. brandon: senator, i don't know the answer of when and how that messaging was done.
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but i can get back to you on that. sen. leahy: please. i understand the states were not notified. if i was in charge of law enforcement of the state, i would be pretty upset. thank you. >> is it bowich? dir. bowdich: bowdich, sir. >> do you know how often law mr. cruznt met with ? dir. bowdich: i can get that information for you. sen. graham: the profile, the risk assessment, let's apply what you do with what we learned here.
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what happened here? how can you have 30 to 40 interventions? was the man kicked out of school? do we know? dir. bowdich: yes, sir, he was. sen. graham: so the local cops met him 30 or 40 times, he was kicked out of school. youalathari: i can't offer an opinion on something i have not studied. sen. graham: just in general. dr. alathari: i can speak to our own research and how we talk about threat assessment. sen. graham: how about yes? dr. alathari: it's a more comprehensive answer than that. sen. graham: why is yes not the right answer? the cops go to your house 30 or 40 times because you disrupted. shouldn't that put you on some of his risk assessment? dr. alathari: i can tell you in situations i studied, a lot of the individuals that have engaged in these targeted attacks having gazed in
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concerning behavior before, have come to the attention of law-enforcement and others for these type of behaviors. for the most part, the interventions varied on how people responded to them. again, whether they had committed a crime or not or risen to the level of imminent risk. i cannot speak to this particular case, but that is what we have seen before. fbi,graham: back to the when you got the call, you don't know why -- what did the supervisor tell the lady? dir. bowdich: director wray immediately launched an inspection team for the facility. sen. graham: is that inspection over? dir. bowdich: the report is being completed. sen. graham: do you have preliminary findings? specifically, what made the supervisor believed you should pass this on. dir. bowdich: that is one of the recommendations that came out. the way the call was presented between the call taker to her supervisor, we have two
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different recollections. so we do not actually know what presented. so in the future, one of the recommendations is there will be more fidelity on how that was presented and more of a thro -- sen. graham: nobody followed up and called the local cops, do you know this guy? dir. bowdich: no, sir. tools,aham: in terms of i have been involved in legislation was senator blumenthal that would allow law enforcement agencies to go to a federal district judge on magistrate to petition -- judge or magistrate to petition for where yousment order, have to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the person in question is an imminent threat to himself or others. do you believe that would be a good tool available to the fbi and other law enforcement officers in situations like this? dir. bowdich: anytime we can get more data to make a better decision, i think that is a good tool.
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this is not data. this is going to how to use the data. would you support allowing federal judges and magistrates to receive requests from law enforcement officers, like if the evidence weren't going to a judge to say this person is a danger to themselves and others? do you think that's a tool that would be beneficial? largest --ng led the read the legislation, it's hard to say. it seems like a sensible issue. sen. graham: are you aware of what florida did regarding risk orders? >> i am not. brandon, would you like a tool like this to deal with people when there's plenty of evidence from the community and law enforcement that this person is becoming mentally unstable?
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do you think there is a gap in our law? >> thank you for the question. -- which ihy to be think is what you are saying. i would welcome it as long as there is a process where we could go and it's not a law-enforcement officer making that decision, but a judge. i think it's healthy for the public. it,member getting a call knocking on the door, the guy was clearly mentally ill, and i went to the local shares for information -- sheriff for information. i'm sure my law enforcement partners to the same. -- did the same. my observation is demanded everything but take an ad out in the paper.
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doesn't it become incumbent upon us as a society to do something? that's what we are trying to do. this legislation is to make sure your government can do something. senator blumenthal. chairman.ou, mr. i want to follow up on that line of questioning. i want to begin by expressing my respect and my gratitude to you as experienced law enforcement officials and your dedication to making america safer. i want to ask you to, for the veryt, abandon euphemism and jargon. i know we are in a setting where the temptation is to use both. you have just been asked by
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senator graham about the legislation we have been introducing, and it is attracting greater support that would give you a tool to prevent when you know a person is dangerous, from having or buying a weapon of war. say something when you see something, but do something to protect the public. that's what america wants. you know the people who work in your agencies on the street want to prevent bloodshed and tragic deaths. toting to help for you to go ,o to a magistrate and say
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there is this 18-year-old threatening to shoot of a school or shoot himself, or shoot his 26 people then kill in an on metro school -- elementary school? we want to take his gun because we have more than ample cause. what if that be helpful? >> of course it would. absolutely. i'm always leery until i read something myself so i understand the full contents. the way senator graham described it, it sounds like very sensible legislation. do you agree? >> yes, senator, i do. sen. blumenthal: do you? >> i am not a law enforcement official. i'm a researcher. i will leave that to experts. sen. blumenthal: you can still have an opinion.
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i will go with the law enforcement. brandon, our tips required s required or information to be shared with other law enforcement officials at the state and local level? dir. brandon: yes, and they always happen. i have anecdotal evidence. it's usually, we get right to the locals. it's usually a local crime and we stay with them until our resources are no longer needed. i will just say we standardized and simple five hour tips after simplified our- tips after this incident. with respect to
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bump stocks, my understanding is atf provided an opinion. current authority was lacking for bump stocks to be banned. was the correct? >> when i first was -- with the tragedy, dealing with bump stocks internally within atf from our technical experts and our lawyers was that they did not fall within the gun control act, the national firearms act. an open i in the interest of public safety, and to be candid with you, i went to doj and i said, i don't want us to have tunnel vision. the attorney general past 18 to to look at-- a team it. then, we have advanced from -- to a notice of proposed rulemaking.
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sen. blumenthal: that has not been issued, but it will take time? dir. brandon: correct, sir. it does take time. sen. blumenthal: then it could be challenged in court? dir. brandon: correct. sen. blumenthal: as we sit here, everyone in this room wants to ban bump stocks, but the likelihood is there will be a challenge in court which will delay implementation, correct? dir. brandon: i have been told that by some attorneys. sen. blumenthal: it's a near certainty given the likelihood of litigation around this topic. wouldn't it be simpler and more effective for there to be legislation banning bump stocks? dir. brandon: in the same spirit of answering the question, octomom answer for public safety m answer for public safety, yes. we are doing everything we can.
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sen. blumenthal: my thanks to each of you for your service to our nation. thank you for answering my questions. thank you, mr. chairman. do you know what the word fulminating means? >> to be honest, not at the moment. >> i did not either. it means raging against something. cathartic, but can problem to solve the you have to actually do something? >> yes sir. >> you are a former marine, yes? >> yes sir. >> if you are a marine, what would happen if you disobey a direct order? >> to be subject to military court.
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>> they would inflict pain on you. you would be punished. >> yes sir. sometimes you would catch one. the nix database is only as good as the information in it? >> absolutely, sir. >> can we agree we have federal and state workers whose job is to enter information into the database? >> yes sir. sen. kennedy: can we agree some of our federal and state workers do a good job and some do a lousy job? >> i would never sell any organization as 100% hitters. can we agree everyone of america's governors of -- cares about the database? >> i don't know all the governors. i would assume the spirit would be to protect their people. sen. kennedy: can we agree the
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president genuinely cares about making sure the database works? >> i was sitting in the room when he gave the order to the attorney general. he seems intent on stepping on the gas. sen. kennedy: i want to describe a scenario and get your opinion. let's suppose the president and every governor in america called in everyone of his, or in the case governors, her, agency heads, and said, here is the deal. some of our people are doing a good job. some of them aren't. days, i want you to fix it. i have not been up your very long, but i was in state government a long time. i feel confident saying at least one agencies -- agency head is going to say, i can't do that. i don't have the money. or it's not one of my priorities right now.
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or i'm supposed to go on vacation next week. or can i have more time? trust me, that will happen. that is the one you fire. forward that goes the boss is serious about it. gets uploaded. disrespect,, no that would be more effective than saying, pretty please do your job, and i might take away our bonus? >> yes sir. depending on the situation, you have to direct. being directing on something that is important to everybody usually gets done. sen. kennedy: director modish. i want to go to sutherland springs.
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through in the air force did not upload the information they were supposed to? >> i don't know the answer. sen. kennedy: do any of you know? >> what i do know -- >> just a second. do you know the answer? dir. brandon: no sir. sen. kennedy: it has been four and a half months. do any of you know what happens to that person who did not do his or her job? >> no sir. sen. kennedy: i don't mean to denigrate anybody. has anybody in your research staff reached out to find out who it was and what happened to them? dir. bowditch: no, senator. we have received extraordinary cooperation from the air force. sen. kennedy: what do we know who did it? and if there were consequences? or were they put on probation? dir. bowditch: that's not really
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something i would have concerned. as more of a internal agency matter. -- and that is more of an internal agency matter. >> i have a letter from the american federation of teachers, the national education association. senator durbin. >> thank you, mr. chairman. it has been a long time. i don't have a lot of memories about what it was like to be in the first grade. i do know this. my six-year-old granddaughter who goes to first grade public-school in brooklyn new york has a memory of what happened after parkland florida -- parkland, florida. a teacher told the first-graders in her school that if there is a shooter, stay away from the windows and get on the floor.
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is there any sane person in america who believes that is what the founding fathers had in mind with the second amendment? that is why we are here today. that's why the students from parkland have inspired students across the unit is states of america to finally stand up and -- enough.i'm not. i have to put it in as straight terms as i can. the 17 lives in parkland, florida are worth more than the weak response we have heard from this committee and the president. [applause] i believe when 97% of the american people agree we should have universal background checks to keep guns out of the hands of people who misuse them, we ought to listen. when overwhelmingly americans say we have got to get rid of assault weapons and these
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high-capacity magazine clips, we've got to listen. when they tell us the sale of long guns, rifles, and others to people under the age of 21 is dangerous, we ought to listen. , sadly, are we have weak response is all around. why? in a lucid moment a couple weeks ago, the president identified it. politicians are petrified by the national rifle association. [applause] sen. durbin: the question we face very honestly is whether we are petrified by them. i'm not. i don't get their money. i don't care to ever have it. the question is whether members of the nra will step up its join us in doing something. a lot of them have come to me privately and say, we have got to do something. members of the nra understand. ,et me ask you, mr. bowditch
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i'm sure for the families here what you said was heartbreaking. stop nikolas cruz from his deadly rampage. i did a calculation. you can tell me if i'm wrong. in your testimony you suggested the number of telephone calls and emails which the fbi receives which purport to identify some threat, as best i can determine, it's about 4100 per day every day of the year. you160 staff people identified working in this agency, receiving these calls, would each receive each day 26 threats.ossible we have been meeting here for about 100 minutes.
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it strikes me that each one of those employees would have received five tips in the time we have been sitting here this morning. let me ask you this. what authority does the fbi have to deny a gun sale to a person based on information that the person has threatened to commit a mass shooting if the person has not been convicted of a crime or does not otherwise fall ofhin prohibited categories buying a gun under federal and state law? dir. bowditch: it's a good question, senator. if i could return to two things. are nuisance calls calls from repeat callers. they can quickly sift through those. other those -- other, though, are challenging to listen to. i went out immediately after this and sat down and listened to a number of our call takers to listen. they are challenging.
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those folks, they work hard out there. they are making judgment decisions. in this case, we have been 100% clear, we do not believe the right decision was made. sen. durbin: the fbi failed. what i am asking you is what authority does the fbi had under the circumstances i mentioned if they receive a credible threat the person has threatened to commit a mass shooting? dir. bowditch: it's a good question. i talked about this briefly earlier. do i think we could have changed the course of the outcome? i don't know. anytime we can get in front of this person is a positive thing. the fbi is sitting down with a local detective to discuss these types of behaviors. as far as authorities, he purchased before weapons legally. i don't know the mental health laws in the state of florida. it would have been a nice opportunity for us to get in
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front of them and take a long a state or local officers so that even if we did not have the authority to do anything, we could have made sure they knew. in hindsight, we know they knew as well. sen. durbin: what you have just heard is a commonsense suggestion to change the law to put authority in the hands of the fbi and others so that they can stop someone who has threatened to commit a mass shooting. the laws in this country are not clear on the subject and they should be. so should the laws when it comes to atf. deliberately ties the hands of this agency with paper records. do you know why they are paper? because the gun lobby does not want an electronic background check. [applause] we don't share information on gun dealers in the suburbs of she cotto -- chicago because the amendment limits the distribution of that. a law put in by the gun lobby.
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this is our responsibility. >> i will pass until i have heard more testimony. chairman.ou mr. thanks to all of you for being here. thanks for your willingness to testify. mr. bowditch, under guidance documents issued within the last few years by the department of education, public schools are reportingd from criminal conduct to police authorities. that criminal conduct that is included on the list includes a wide range of conduct, including threatening disruption on campus, drug possession, being under the influence, possession of drug paraphernalia , false accusations against school staffs, harassment, trespassing, vandalism.
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a lot of the kinds of criminal activities one might expect to see at a school are on the list. on the list of things that schools are discouraged from sharing information about with the police. the theory behind the guidance document is that administrators don't want to create -- and in fact, want to combat what is referred to as a school to prison pipeline. it is my understanding broward county, florida, which includes parkland, is heavily invested in this policy. policies have been adopted within broward county to comply with this and to not make these kinds of reports. , just ins new approach the last few years, a guidance
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document from the department of education -- nikolas cruz arguably committed what could be described as arrestable offenses on school campus, including assault, which in some cases can be a felony. also including threatening teachers and bringing ammunition onto school campus. yet he was never disciplined. he was never expelled. never taken into custody. is there a chance in your judgment that the outcome of the to and setting process might've ting different -- tip vet process might've been different had there been some sort of formal law enforced in record with regard to arrestable offenses in these areas? i have not seen
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the document you are describing to me. i think if you look at this case, and quite frankly, some of the other cases out there, we have young men and women that are troubled. trouble can come in many forms. anytime we have silos of information, it is dangerous. you need a holistic approach to find the best solution we can within the law. not having read the document, i don't know enough about it. i don't know if there was any discussion between broward county shares department and the --ools in this case sheriff's apartment and the schools in this case. might the process have turned out differently? dir. bowditch: in theory, yes. from a prevention point of view,
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i don't think there is a downside. fbi lee: i understand the assigns separate teams. tipseam to review phone and one to review online tips. this makes some sense. you've got a different kind of environment going on with a bone tip,u've got -- a phone you can interact with someone in the government. online, it is a one-way burst of communication. how does training differ between these teams? measure the fbi consistent review across these teams? >> you brought up two separate issues. we are looking at both of them. the training involves, for those
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sitting there reviewing thousands upon thousands of electronic tips, they have a word cloud. that word cloud, as they are looking through emails, look for words like isis, bomb, shoot. that will help them begin to pull out pieces of these emails. many of these are nuisance emails. there is a judgment that has to be made. as far as the training for the call takers, it is very similar. it used to be a three-week training session. today it is an eight week training session. there is much different protocol for those call takers today and much different training program. that is for good reason. there is new wants his when you are having a face-to-face. there is a skill involved as far as extracting information.
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we want to receive the call and make sure the caller is able to get out whatever they can unless it is a nuisance caller. there is definitely a different new wants to their training. nce to as the -- nua their training. as far as metrics, metrics can be a good thing. we are looking at, how were we judging our call takers before? part of that was the speed at which they were taking their calls, and how long it would take to do their follow-up. that could be database checks, it could be scrubs of additional checks they found. notre not so sure we did potentially drive behavior there that is not good in a case like this. you have to hold people accountable for their time. but that is something we have asked our inspection team to look carefully at. >> senator rona. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
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askedudents at parkland us to enact sensible gun legislation to protect students and our communities. students in hawaii are participating in 17 minute observation as well as 22 students visiting washington, d.c. from a high school who will be joining the rally on the capitol steps. to the students asking us to take appropriate action. i want to ask for clarification. rule you arefy the putting out regarding bump stocks? is it to ban bump stocks or to regulate them in somewhat? dir. bowditch: senator, thank you for the question. the office of management and -- forwould be to bonfire devices to fall within the definition of machine gun under the national firearms act. sen. hirono: if it is deemed
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such, they would be banned. dir. brandon: that is correct. 1986, you have to law that made it -- prohibited machine guns made before may 19, 1986, they were grandfathered in. anytime after that, unless it is for law enforcement or the military, they are banned. sen. hirono: it still has to go through a review process before an -- i would say that outright ban legislatively is a better way to go. calculations, the fbi receives about 4000 tips everyday via phone, email. even when they received a tip as specific as the one that got , eventhe parkland shooter when they went to investigate, they were not able to make the right judgment. is there anything you're training could have done to help the fbi better address this
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threat or correctly address this threat? >> i'm not familiar with the protocols the fbi follows. that is something i can't comment specifically on. i can tell you one of the main components of a conference a program is to establish central reporting mechanism. mechanism should be the repository where the information comes in. the protocol to have to establish for a conference --gram has to include comprehensive program has to include possibilities of the when theers, information comes in, who gets it -- >> i understand all those things you have developed. my question is, have you worked with the fbi regarding their eight-week training for their -- for the people take these calls you -- calls? >> know we have not. sen. hirono: would that be a
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good thing to do? >> we collaborate with the fbi on other projects. sen. hirono: would you like to respond? dir. bowditch: i think it is a great idea for the doctor to review our training block. sen. hirono: i would like to request that happen asap. you say that threat assessment is the most effective method to prevent school shootings. aat is limiting access to soul weapons designed only to kill change the nature of those people had? if fewer these weapons, what is that lower the likelihood of a mass shooting? dr. alathari: that is not an area i have studied. when you are investigating a person who has come to your attention, that might be at risk of engaging in concerning behavior, there is a whole approach including other information.
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what your threat assessment changes people did not have assault weapons? dr. alathari: it depends on a constellation of factors when you're doing a threat assessment, that might be one piece of it, but it would not be -- only piece your piece. i would have to do more research. sen. hirono: speaking of research, are you familiar with passed in congress in 1996 that will prevent the senate to do any kind of -- cdc doing any kind of study related to gun violence. did you think that makes sense we need to have a law that
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gunents bcdc from studying violence? dr. alathari: i'm not familiar with that amendment. sen. hirono: our other two test fires. are you familiar with the hinchey amendment? >> i'm not. sen. hirono: i just explained. do you have a response? >> i am familiar with it. ,ust like i said with nix anytime you have good information, that is basic decision-making. the more you know, the more you can fix things. sen. hirono: we have a bill to eliminate the amendment. [applause] >> senator cruz. >> thank you, mr. chairman. they do to the witnesses for being here.
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the american people are rightly horrified and outraged at the mass murders we have seen over and over. both at parkland and sutherland springs four months ago. both of those murders are preventable and should have been prevented. a my judgment, we have seen catastrophic and systemic failure of law enforcement. at every level. with regard to parkland, do you agree the fbi committed serious grave errors? dir. bowditch: yes sir, i do. on. cruz: we know now that september 24, 2017, a man tipped off the fbi that this shooter had posted on youtube a message saying, "i'm going to be a professional school shooter."
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the fbi was not able to track down and identify the person. 2018,w on january 5, another caller described the shooter as someone who wants to kill people. in that instance, the fbi did not open an investigation. why not? dir. bowditch: senator, i share your frustration. i share your concern. why not is what we are getting to buy our inspection teams. we have one team from the counterterrorism division who has looked at the jackson incident and how that was handled. out in westeam is virginia finalizing their reports that looked at the call center. the jackson incident, there were two potential options. one was, as the investigators,
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when they went out there to interview the caller, had they decided to submit what is called a 2702 letter, it is not a compulsory process, but it is a letter where we go to the provider and ask for ip address information. had they done that, -- sen. cruz: did they have the name? dir. bowditch: they had the name. sen. cruz: did they google it? dir. bowditch: we are still working through the audit trail. sen. cruz: did they have the location? dir. bowditch: we did not, sir. ,hat the investigators did find both part of the joint terrorism task force, an fbi agent and a looker -- local task force agent. they interviewed the caller. they conducted social media test
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-- checks. they also conducted database checks. leadfound another guardian from our houston office. theway they found it was term "school shooter" came up. the agent called an agent in houston, they had a discussion about this. what happened in houston was the term school shooter was used as part of a joke on social media. they wash that out. that was not related to mr. cruz. filegent had the option to a 2702 letter with the provider. the provider has the option to come back and say, here is the ip address, or not. the second option would have been, could have been, going to the u.s. attorney's office to seek a grand jury subpoena to compel -- sen. cruz: the fbi, these two
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complaints did not connect the two, is that correct? dir. bowditch: we did not connect between the call center in the jackson guardian -- actually we did, but that was whenone until january 5 our call taker received a call in west virginia. she conducted database checks. as she did so, she found another complaint which was the one from september, which was sent to jackson, mississippi. that complaint had initially come into our e-tip line. sen. cruz: you agreed the fbi made serious mistakes. dir. bowditch: i believe there were judgment errors -- sen. cruz: has anyone been recommended? -- reprimanded? has anyone been terminated? dir. bowditch: these employees have to process like everyone else. sen. cruz: so the answer is no.
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dir. bowditch: as of today, no. sen. cruz: have the systems changed? dir. bowditch: some of the recommendations have been bridged. the inspection team made a number of recommendations -- localruz: would you agree law enforcement had systemic catastrophic failure? cnn reported 45 call to the broward county sheriff's department about this individual. i don't believe that's my job to talk about another agencies -- sen. cruz: you work with law enforcement. 45 complaints about fighting, throwing his mother against the wall, abusing animals, law-enforcement did do anything. is that a systemic failure? dir. bowditch: having been a local law enforcement officer, those calls are all day and all night. i don't know the context. sen. cruz: for officers not engage in the shooter. is that a failure of law enforcement? dir. bowditch: i will of the
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public and the broward county sheriff's department -- >> is that consistent with fbi protocol? dir. bowditch: it is not. >> your time is up. senator booker. >> how has congress made it more difficult for the atf to do its job making sure firearms don't fall in the wrong hands? dir. bowditch: thank you for the question. any agency can do more with more. ,s far as our appropriations where 20 million in the whole under a continuing resolution. the spirit of atf is to do whatever we can to protect the public and serve the public. sen. booker: i know your commitment. i was a local mayor. we did joint task forces. i have been impressed with your agents and their commitment. i cannot tell you how many people from your agency, this is
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the word they would most often use. your agency is starved or resources. you could be doing a much better job in keeping guns out of the hands of criminals. local communities like mine, i lit in the inner city of newark, new jersey. we see guns pouring into our communities. we have found a significant number of them are coming from a very small group of retailers -- youll to criminals or are aware of that? dir. brandon: yes. sen. booker: the research shows that 1% of licensed dealers apply a whopping 57% of the kinds recovered in crimes. you are aware? dir. brandon: yes. it is a study that i think is over 20 years old. i would not agree with that today. sen. booker: but you do agree it
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is a small amount of retailers that are often providing illegal guns -- is a small group. not the majority of retailers. there are certain retailers that give strawone to purchases, illegal purchases? dir. brandon: most of the federal firearms licensees are law-abiding citizens. at the atf, we developed a business model called frontline. it is intelligence lined, risk-based. we take data to see who would be your dealers and put them as a priority. i establish a top 100 list to be inspected throughout the country every year. it feeds to what you are saying. focus on the businesses that are not compliant with federal law allegedly. we will target them for inspections. if the allegation is credible,
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we will go after them -- >> with more resources you could be doing more -- dir. brandon: sure, we could do more. a lot of the police chiefs, i get hit up all the time saying, give me five more atf agent. chicago, i got a call from police -- >> i want to underline that, highlighted. it is frustrating to those folks trying to prevent crime when overwhelmingly we try to look at it, only one person committed a shooting with a legally purchased gun. we have tons of illegal weapons pouring into our communities. another frustration is the tr amendment. you're are familiar with how law enforcement can't understand we can't get common sense trace spigot.shut off the dir. brandon: to be fair and
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balanced, there are some dealers that could be maligned by data when they are compliant with all federal laws just by where their business is. they could be doing everything correctly. i know instances of these inspections on paper, it would take someone like yourself -- this gun shop is responsible for 1000 guns. i could be doing everything correctly, it just could be the volume i am doing. sen. booker: we have issues of due process. the problem we are seeing is just getting pragmatic data is important to solving the problem. we have agencies that have been hamstrung on their ability to get common sense data. this is not a partisan issue. people who are trying to keep guns out of the hands of folks who are trying to do ill, they need data. they need access to information. we are not seeing that. [applause] dir. brandon: i feel your pain.
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i never met a person in favor of gun violence. i will share this with you. the departments are getting the data to an individual traits. i recommend they establish their own database. do we have all the data you are looking for you, but we have to comply with federal laws. sen. booker: the point i'm trying to make is that we should enable you with federal laws that allow you to do your job. local police forces in small communities don't have the resources to create the kind of databases new york city is able to do. we can't keep guns off our streets because we can't get basic information. i appreciate you, sir. your agency is incredible. very brave men and women. dir. brandon: thank you for saying that. they are on the street right now serving warrants, putting their life online. helps moret from you
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for morale for atf agents in the field. i sincerely thank you. >> senator harris. >> i also want to recognize not only the hard-working men and women of these agencies, but the students protesting. they are mourning the loss of their classmates and frankly, their innocence. knowing they have to be prepared for what might be a massacre at their own school. they are also protesting our inaction. the inaction of the united states congress and whether it is sandy hook or sutherland springs, or stoneman douglas high school, what i think all of these young people, these leaders, are making very clear, is it is a false choice to suggest you are either in favor of the second amendment you want to take everyone's guns away. what we need to have is common sense gun safety laws in our country.
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[applause] , -- harris: i was just that i don't know what we are waiting for. we don't need any more tragedies. we have seen some of the most tragic incidents one can imagine. we don't need any new ideas. we've got great ideas. what we need is we need the united states congress to act. [applause] having said that, i am troubled by a suggestion that has come from the administration that one solution might be that we armed teachers. understand what that might mean. let's break it down. as a career prosecutor, i have worked with many communities where children's go to sleep each night hearing gunfire. what we are proposing is that remember, sandy
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hook we're talking about six and seven-year-olds, children are supposed to go to school and look at the front of their class at their second grade teacher, and she is going to be strapped with a gun. i don't understand how that makes any sense. let's talk about it in the context of the studies, funded by the department of justice, which tells us that for trained law enforcement officials, they only hit their intended target approximately 20% of the time. in an armed confrontation, they only hit their intended target 20% of the time. we are talking about giving teachers training on how to use a gun. i would suggest their numbers are not going to be better than that. when we say we miss our intended target, we are necessarily
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saying there may be people we hit we did not intend to hit. if we are talking about a teacher in a classroom, that could be students. i would suggest we have to be smarter about what we really intend to be the focus of legislation and policy. [applause] i would love your thoughts on in terms of what that would result in if we are talking about training of teachers to be struck with a gun , and what might be your concern about unintended consequences of a policy of that nature. dir. bowditch: i share the outrage of these attacks, first off. as a career law enforcement officer in the local and federal level, i'm not a legislator. i believe that is the legislators job. sen. harris: this is a practical
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matter. what are your thoughts? dir. bowditch: i have personal thoughts on things. i'm not here representing me. i'm here representing the fbi. my thoughts are this is a matter for the legislators to take up and decide, what is the best solution. sen. harris: i would suggest that your thoughts would be very relevant to the decisions we make. we can have that conversation another time. i also have a concern when we talk about this, the impact of having armed teachers as it relates to african-americans and hispanics students. here is why i say that. there is an overwhelming body of evidence that shows that harsh disciplinary protocols disproportionally impacted children of color. we know that in studies that talk about what the rates are in terms of suspensions and expulsions. the fbi has done an extraordinary job of recognizing
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bias among all professions, including law enforcement. concern about a policy that would result in arming teachers and the concern we should make sure it's something like that were to occur, they would be carrying around bias? dir. bowditch: it's a good question. i never put the two together. i have not seen the document you are referencing. decide,whatever we training is necessary on all fronts. the implicit bias training we at the fbi administer two years ago is actually very important for the organization as a whole. internally, but for the optics. sen. harris: the fbi has been a leader in recognizing we all carry implicit biases. exercisey when we
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judgment that might result in harm to another person. i applaud your leadership. my time is up. >> thank you to all of you for your work. , we arely mr. bowditch so pleased there was -- people arrested in the bombing of the mosque in the twin cities. that was a horrific time for the community. we think the fbi for your work. dir. bowditch: if i could, very quickly, there was also a tip that came in from our atf partners. >> it was a really big deal. thank you to both agencies. i come from a big hunting state, minnesota. say,k at the proposals and will this hurt my uncle it in his deer stand? i don't think universal background checks would hurt. i don't think the proposals with
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assault weapons would hurt. i went to the meeting with the president. he looked right at me and said that he wanted that. also that he wanted to do something on assault weapons. that just has not happened. if you feel frustration here, you hear it more when you are out there with the students. i was encouraged that he talked about the age limit. we have seen businesses including dick's sporting goods and walmart raising the age. to be clear, under current law, if an 18-year-old passes a background check like the killer did in florida and buys multiple military style weapons, with the fbi have a record? dir. bowditch: rookie mistake, senator. if you purchased the weapons
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legally at 18 years old, we have a record, yes we do. sen. klobuchar: that goes right into your system? dir. bowditch: when there is a proceed, when people call for a proceed and they received a proceed to purchase that were to to sell that,or rather, we have to get rid of that within 24 hours. sen. klobuchar: that is a -- that is the law, so we should change the law. you don't have to give your own personal view. we could change the law? dir. bowditch: yes ma'am. sen. klobuchar: i think we should. one area we should be able to to find common ground is to protect women from domestic abusers. i give the president the figure that 6000 women have died at the hands of their partners with
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guns, and that is more than the number of troops we lost in iraq and afghanistan. the background check would help a lot of domestic abuse cases. the other thing would be the bill that i have to extend protections to include partners and to prevent those convicted of stalking from buying guns. police organizations have supported this. can you talk about the connection between gun violence and domestic abuse? >> first of all, i share your concerns about discouraging domestic violence. as far as the correlation, i don't have the data. certainly anytime you have the emotions that occur in those incidents, anytime there is a fire or in the mix, it can get worse very quickly. sen. klobuchar: i want to turn to a 2016 report by the gao, which found that the fbi took
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longer to deny a firearm purchase because of a misdemeanor message violence conviction than for any other prohibited category. the report found only 70% of nic and 2015between 2006 were denied within three days. that's observing, since gun sales are allowed to go forward after three business days if a check is incomplete. could you talk about why this might have happened with these longer processing times? dir. bowditch: i have not seen the document you have referenced. i would like to take that back to get you a better answer. sen. klobuchar: i would appreciate that. what it means is up to 30% of these gun purchases could have been allowed to go forward during this time even though these people could have been convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors. the gao report found that this led to out to as many as 6700
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firearms being transferred to people who should have been prohibited from owning a gun. those are astounding numbers. i would ask you to look into it and get back to me. dir. bowditch: yes ma'am. sen. klobuchar: thank you. >> thank you, chairman. the gaps in misjudgments have described did not provide the fbi's finest hour, but i do want -- claritypriority and candor of your acceptance of possibility here and the quick response by director wray have been admirable, and i hope are some solace to people who have concerns. we look forward to your report. what i would like to request of exposition ofer
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the data cloud that comes through your line that must be reconciled into investigative judgments. senator durbin referenced the $4100 -- 4100 calls per day figure. you said there is a certain amount of automatic sorting that takes place for frequent flyers who you have checked off as not being credible. many minutesvery with you here. if there is some sort of a diagram we could look at it shows what the background blizzard of information looks it would be helpful for us to see that. could you provided? know thattch: i don't we have it, but i can find it and provide it.
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the other thing i would offer to you and anyone else on this committee is we are more than happy to walk you through the call center at any point. could, this center was built january 2012. we were trying to save the fieldwork. we were trying to centralize and standardize the tips and leads that went out. they have evolved that center, doing a good job. it's not perfect. we made a serious mistake. one of the things we have done to develop that were clapping is we brought in -- that word do they have the right words associated with that cloud. >> i'd like to raise with you all a slightly different topic. one of the voices that has been harrowing sive and
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to me has been the voices of to rauma teams who've had deal with the effects of the high velocity ammunition that an a.r. 15 propels. i think it's still a little fresh to be reading through those details, particularly given some of the affected individuals who are here in the room. but i would like to ask unanimous consent that several articles like what i saw treating the victims from parkland should teebt the debate on guns, wounds from a military style rifle is a ghastly thing to see in "the new york times." after the las vegas shooting massacre, survival can be excruciating from "the washington post." and parkland a.r. 15 injuries harder to treat than han gunned wounds. i'd like to ask those articles mab made a matter of record in this proceeding, mr. chairman.
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>> without objection. so ordered. >> thank you. it does seem that the ammunition involved played a significant role in the casualty count in loot of these recent shootings. m wondering first, dr. altharia, in your work, do you take into account instrumentalities in evaluating risk? are you looking for more high risk actors? >> in terms of the research that we've done, multiple variety of weapons were used. firearms were the most common. but we've also had knives, explosives, vehicles, obviously, that's kind of been in the news lately. >> does the category of ammunition that an a.r. 15 launches create a different level of safety risk than regular handgun ammunition in your estimation? >> i cannot comment on that because that is not something that we came across in our research. >> would you take a look at that question and see if your research would support an answer to that question?
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>> i can look into that, sir, and see. >> i would appreciate that. bowdich and with respect to the added trauma hard and fatality from that specific type of ammunition, compared to regular handgun ammunition. >> senator, thank you for the question. i mentioned i was a young person in the marines. and i was trained on then the m-16 a-1. the training i received was ecifically the leethality -- lethality a small projectile high rate of speed causing major damage and i do know from reading similar reports like yourselves and the handgun ammunition traveling at much less, i think 223 round goes about 3,300 feet per second. so the article you referenced was just -- a boat going through the water and all separation, that projectile doesn't have to hit the tissue to do damage.
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and if it hits a certain organ, say leak the liver, you know, it's -- you won't survive it. as where handgun ammunition, i've seen -- on scenes guys shot in the leg, you know, and waiting for the e.m.t.'s, and i've also seen people shot with a.k. rounds 7.628 and they were screaming. >> a qualitatively different injury? >> yeah. and again, this is science. >> yes. thank you, my time has expired, mr. chairman. i appreciate it. >> senator. >> thank you, chairman grassley and ranking member feinstein and my thanks to all the witnesses, to mr. brandon, mr. bowdich and dr. alathari and other law enforcement agencies nd entities, d.e.a., marshalls -- marshals, we are grateful for the assistance from federal
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law enforcement as we tried to work federal, state, local to really tackle gun violence in my hometown. i'm also grateful to witnesses that will join us here on the third panel. katherine fasada and ryan petty from parkland, flab, and to the young people, the teachers, the faculty, the students, all over the country who are raising their voices even now. i've heard that high schools all up and down my state, middle schools, elementary schools, have walked out this morning to demand action by all of us in congress. from clay montreal, to concord high school, from caesar rodney to dover, middletown to newark, to st. mark's, we have dozens and dozens of schools across my small state where students are walking out to get our attention. they're asking the adults to be the adults and to solve this problem. so i'm grateful for their work. but i'm also -- i'm gravely concerned we don't seem to be able to come together on proposals that have a
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reasonable chance of being enacted here. in february alone, five individuals under 21 were shot in my hometown. and these are not the subject of national exposes or great focus either in "the new york times" or on abc news. and it's just a reminder that in small cities and large cities and rural communities and in urban communities across our country, week in and week out, gun violence takes lives. gun violence makes our nation one of the most violent and one of the most lethal on earth. and there are things we can do together to address it. i was grateful that senator toomey of pennsylvania, my neighboring state, joined with me to introduce two weeks ago a modest bipartisan proposal to better enforce existing laws. it's called the denial act. it simply says that when someone who is a person prohibited goes in to a federally licensed firearm dealer and lies on their form, tries to buy a gun, and are denied that opportunity, that that should be reported to
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state and local law enforcement so they can take appropriate action. mr. brandon or mr. bowdich, can i start by asking is a crime to try and buy a firearm if you're a person prohibited, if you're a convicted felon, adjudicated mentally ill or domestic violence, that's a crime, isn't it? >> senator, yes it is, we refer to it as lie and try. >> mr. bowdich. >> yes, it is. the attorney general came out with guidance where he is directing more efforts toward lie and buy. efforts. >> if someone goes in and tries legally to buy a gun that they are denied the chance to get, isn't that a great predictor that they're about to go try and get a gun another way? rather through a straw purchaser, through theft, through some other illegal means? >> senator, my experience, yes. often we come across cases where if the person is denied and typically it's a younger female, and offered some money that may be significant to that person who may be in a
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difficult situation, and lies on the form and it's transferred over. i routinely get reports of us making arrests in those situations. >> so there were 120,000 cases in 2016 of folks who were prohibited, who went in and tried -- who lied and tried. that would seem to be an important priority and i'm pleased to see that attorney general sessions is raising the profile of that. there were 32 cases considered for federal prosecution and i think we ought to be providing greater resources to state and local law enforcement, federal law enforcement and pass this bill. it is a simple bipartisan bill. let me ask the last question if i might, mr. brandon. request by the f.b.i. to recover an unlauf firearm, are particularly dangerous. because they require an a.t.f. agent to confront a prohibited person who's -- would you agree with me that where there's a nix failure or someone who lies and tries and then goes and secures a firearm another way,
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these are particularly dangerous for a.t.f. agents? >> yes, sir. you never know what you're up against. >> well, i'll just say this in conclusion. it seems to me that the voices of students from across my state, from parkland and from all over our country, are asking us to find responsible ways to work together. virtually every one of my colleagues who i've been with today have introduced bills that would tackle this problem from a wide range of areas. this strikes me as one of a dozen. whether it's banning bump stocks or limiting magazines or whether it's making sure that the nix system and background checks are made universal and effective. we should be doing this in the interests of our communities, our families, and our children. thank you. [applause] >> we have finished our questioning of your panel. so you folks are free to go now. and i'll call the second panel. and while the second panel is oming, i will introduce you.
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ryan petty is the father of four children including alena, petty who lost her life at 14 years of age in that attack at the high school in parkland since the tragic shooting mr. petty has engaged with lawmakers in florida and here in washington, d.c., to pursue meaningful reforms that will keep our children safe and power schools secure. mr. petty's son, patrick, is also in attendance today. katherine posada is a 10th grade teacher at marjorie stoneman douglas high school. she teaches language arts there. she was in the building during the attack. and she took great action to keep her students safe. michael beckerman is the
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president and c.e.o. of internet association which includes google and facebook as its clients. prior to joining the association, mr. beckerman served 12 years as a congressional staff member, serving as deputy staff director and chief policy advisor to the chairman of the u.s. house committee on energy and commerce. and for those of you involved in this tragedy, it's been expressed so many times, our condolences and particularly to mr. petty and mr. posada for the traumatic experiences that you've gone through. i couldn't imagine what they are. but you're here to speak on those so i'll start with you, mr. petty, and then ms. posada and then mr. beckerman. >> mr. chairman, madam ranking member and the committee members, thank you for having me here today. i'd like to share a quick statement from the families and
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then i'll begin my personal statement. the families of the amazing children and teachers killed at marjorie stoneman douglas high school on valentine's day would like to recognize the first responders who are witnesses that day to an unspeakable evil. many acted heroically, putting themselves in harm's way and saved many lives that day. thank you. to the caring and gracious people of the cities of parkland, coral springs, the citizens of our home state of florida, and those across america who have shown support for us and our time of sorrow and loss, we can only say thank you. please know that your kindness and support is deeply appreciated and has made a lasting impact on our lives. as families, we came from different backgrounds and we mold a variety of viewpoints. yet we are united around the as i remember idea -- around the simple idea, our children and teachers should be safe at
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school. we rally to the battle cry this time must be different. we came together to build on common ground, and we made history in florida by passing legislation to achieve -- to achieve a first step in just three weeks. it was a good start. but it is not enough. and there's much more to be done. now to my personal statement. in a season of loss, it is difficult to find meaning in tragedy. the senseless murder of so many, including my own beloved , tests the na limits of faith and demands more endurance than we thought possible. it is a test abruptly forced on us and we bear it the best we can. each of us, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, wives of
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those lost and loved strive to find that meaning. i believe we will be seeking it to the end of our days. however, our abiding faith tells us that our father in heaven has a plan. although the loss of our daughter, alena, was to us unforeseen, it was not a surprise to him. this gives us comfort during this difficult time. we will not know what this all means until that time. but we know that this thing that has happened does not mean -- what this does not mean. it does not mean evil will triumph. it does not mean we may do nothing. it does not mean we should turn against one another. we must not struggle over ashes in the shadow of our grief. so instead of the media-fed activist enflamed and plitly
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acura vated din of the past month i speak today about the real and substan active legislative and policy achievements we made in the state of florida. earned at an unimaginable cost. and i'll share a few ideas on how the united states congress can emulate and expand upon those accomplishments. the steps taken by governor scott and enacted by the florida legislature have little to do with opportunistic agitation launched in the wake of the parkland killings. they serve no political agenda. but they do serve the people's agenda because they build on common ground. they are cluff -- inclusive ather than divisive. americans are deeply interested in safe schools, in caring communities, and in secure neighborhoods. as family of one of the victims, we've learned at great personal cost that americans can come together. policy and political action
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ought to take their cues from this american majority. we do not have to all agree on guns. and we won't. but we can agree on the most fundamental things. we can agree that students and teachers should be safe. we can agree that schools should be secure. we can fre that -- agree that law enforcement must be competent and must do its job. i want to focus on that last -- briefly on that last point especially. nicholas cruz and the deadly danger he posed were the worst ept secrets in parkland. ith one inexcusable exception. he was kept a secret from many of the parents of the students of marjorie stoneman douglas high school. yet every relevant authority knew he was deeply troubled with a potential for lethal violence. the foster system knew it. the f.b.i. knew it. the school district knew it.
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and the broward county heriff's department knew it. yet despite the fact that each of thieves agencies were fully authorized and empowered to take action well before tragedy struck, not one of them fulfilled their duty. the testament of their failure is 17 dead children and teachers. 17 more with life-altering injuries, a burden we must bear forever. add to this failure the failure to warn the parents of the students. by this action or inaction, we were rendered powerless to fulfill our most sacred trust s parents. protect our children. forgive me, then, if i don't -- if i do not believe government ultimate solution. tion.
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our trust in our institutions and our office holders is deeply shaken. our broken hearts cry out every moment of every day for the rest of our lives. so what is the solution? the legislation passed in florida is a good start. and there must be more done to secure our schools. legislation being considered in this body will continue on the efforts begun in florida. and i call on congress to pass this legislation. follow the lead of what has been accomplished in florida. build on common ground. but it is not the whole solution. the problem of man against evil is as old as humanity itself and we cannot face it alone. if we think of school violence as a disease, we would not just treat the symptoms or only don protective gear to avoid accidental exposure, we must identify these youth before they become violent and get them the help they need. we can look to the programs in utah or the work being done by the l.a. county schools to identify potential threats. as we heard earlier, even the
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u.s. secret service has studied school shooters and defined six common karke sticks which can aid in identification and interdiction. identification and interdiction has become my mission. not one that i ever wanted but one i accept in alena's name. and i will see it through. ultimately the solution is not in any single policy, not in any piece of legislation and not in any activist fervent prescription. it is in our hearts. we can try to stop the next nicholas cruz with better screening, with competent law enforcement, and with better security. sometimes we will succeed. but sometimes those measures alone will fail. where we need to stop the next killer is in our homes, in our communities and through our faith. the best defense against the next nicholas cruz is in building up strong families where love can be shown to a hurting child. it is in the care we show to a struggling or overwhelmed neighbor, it is in the charity we extend to a stranger.
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it is in the comfort we give a wounded heart. it is in the kindness we show to an isolated, struggling young man. it is in the reflection of god that we have in ourselves. that isn't within the power of this congress or any body of men to give or command. but it is within each of us so we as a society understand that our efforts will continue to fall short. it is my hope that senseless tragic events like the one that took my dear daughter will awaken people across our nation that we need to work collectively to create a significant cultural shift. i hope we do. if we do, it will be the part of us that is most like alena. thank you. >> thank you, mr. petty. ms. posada. >> chairman grassley and
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ranking member feinstein, distinguished members of the committee, thank you for inviting me here today. on valentine's day, my fourth grade english honors class was discussing act three of shakespeare's macbeth when the fire alarm sounded. we started to evacuate but we were quickly told that it was a code red. which means that there is threat to safety inside the school. and everyone should shelter in place. i never imagined that there was truly anything wrong. i got my student back into my classroom, into the corner, where we couldn't be seen from the small window in the door. and waited for what i assumed was a drill to end. we had no idea that just a couple hundred yards away nicholas cruz had just fired over 100 bullets from an a.r. 15 assault style rifle killing 17 people and injuring another 17. our first clue that something was really wrong was a phone call one of my students got from his sister who was in the
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freshman building. she told him, she had seen someone with a gun in the hallway and heard several shots. my student a six foot tall football player started crying. worried for his sister's safety. i helped him calm down. reassuring him that if she could call him it must mean that she was all right. i started to go into panic mode but i struggled to keep it together for my students. knowing that if i lost it, they would lose it, too. then the texts started. parents, neighbors, even almost strangers texted us making sure we were ok. asking us what had happened. we told them we were safe. but we couldn't answer their other questions. we didn't know what was happening. some of my students had left their cell phones on their desks but i wouldn't let them go across the room to get them. what if the shooter was in the hallway? waiting to see movement in the classroom? as a parent, myself, i could only imagine the fears their parents must have been feeling not being able to get in touch with their kids. i texted their mothers from my own phone.
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assuring them that their children were ok. sending them pictures of proof. people from outside the school told us the rumors they were seeing on the news. there was an active shooter on our campus at least two people were dead. as time went on the rumors changed. police suspected that there were two or three shooters:none had been apprehended. the death toll kept rising. three dead. seven dead. i kept reminding my students that we couldn't believe everything we heard. no one seemed to know what was really happening. the truth was that i didn't want to believe it. i was in shock. i think we all were. we sat in the corner of my classroom until after 5:00 that day trying to be as quiet as possible. trying to re' sure our friends and family for our safety and panic.not to after what seemed like an eternity voices in the hallway outside my room. men were shouting. but we couldn't understand them. we didn't know if they were the
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police or if panic. after what they might be the shooters. we heard them trying keys in the door. a good sign but i wondered whoever it was had shot someone and stolen their keys. i faced the door hoping these would be the good guys. thankfully they were. my students and i were lucky that day. my classroom is on the opposite side of campus from the 1200 building. and although we were terrified, we were never in any immediate danger. others were not so lucky. not only did we lose 17 of our own, hundreds of others were scarred from this experience. students in my other classes who were in the freshman building that day have shared some of their stories with me and the things they saw and heard will stay with them forever. many saw friends die and had to step over bodies and pools of blood to get out of their classroom. loud noises and the bells between classes make them jump. had a girl ask me if we could
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stand with her back to the wall because she didn't feel safe sitting in the desk in the middle of the classroom not knowing what was behind her. dwyane wade, a professional basketball player, came stand with her back to the to o school for what should have been a fun treat for the kids in the midst of their grief but many were triggered by the shouts of excitement that erupted when he walked on to campus. there were -- too similar to the screams of terror they heard just a few short weeks ago. these kids will be dealing with this trauma for years to come. and yet the marjorie stoneman douglas students have been stronger than teenagers should ever have to be. they have gone through the worst, most traumatizing experience imaginable. and instead of collapsing under the immense pressure, they have focused on channeling their anger and grief into something positive. and they have succeeded. they have succeeded in getting gun control legislation passed in florida. a state that hadn't passed similar legislation in over two decades. the marjoriestonman douglas act certainly isn't perfect. the idea of putting more guns into schools in order to reduce gun violence seems to me like an idea that can only end in more tragedy. but the many other provisions
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in the bill make it of great step in the right direction. and it proves that what i tell my students is true. their actions can change the world. i got into teaching because i wanted to inspire students. but now they are inspiring me. the issues that surrounding mass shootings in this country are complex and to pretend otherwise is naive. and continues to put the general public, especially our children, in danger. people have suggested that this is a mental health issue. some have suggested that it is a school safety issue. i agree with both of those statement. we do need better resources for the mentally ill in our country and not just to prevent mass shootings but to work together for a better quality of life for the thousands of people who suffer from the mentally illnesses. we do need to increase safety in our schools to protect our children against those who would want to harm them. but to say that the issue of shootings isn't also a gun
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issue is absurd. i cannot imagine a scenario in which nicholas cruz could have come to my school armed with a different type of weapon such as a knife shootings isn't also innocent people. some of the victims were shot through doors or even through walls. a knife can't do that. even a handgun would not have been able to cause such carnage. the style of gun he used has been a weapon of choice in so many mass shootings in recent history. how many innocent lives could have been saved if these weapons of war weren't so readily available? while increased funding for mental health programs and school security will no doubt have positive effects, mass shootings will not stopal until we rid society of the weapons that make them possible. please help us protect our children by addressing all facets of this issue. and considering common sense gun laws. thank you. >> thank you, ms. posada. now mr. beckerman. >> thank you. chairman grassley, ranking member feinstein, and distinguished members of the committee, thanks for the opportunity to have me here
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today. my name is michael beckerman. i'm the president and c.e.o. of the internet association, representing over 40 of the world's leading internet companies. the internet association, all of our members are horrified by the tragic shooting in parkland, florida, and the violence experienced by the students and staff at marjorie stoneman douglas high school is something that no person should ever experience. we are committed to doing what we can to help protect our communities from this sort of senseless violence and to support law enforcement and public saist agencies in their response. i remember vividly the columbine shooting back in 1999. since then, we've had too many school shootings. and i sincerely hope that congress, law enforcement, and society at large can figure this problem out and put an end to it. i was close to one of the survivors of the columbine shooting and cannot even imagine the pain for people like mr. petty who lost his daughter, or ms. posada who had to stand there with her class and her students. i'm truly humbled to be sitting
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with both of you today. thank you. i'm here to talk about the ways the internet companies can serve as an early warning sign for friends, families, teachers, mental health professionals and law enforcement. and the ways our companies proactively work with law enforcement to prevent tragedies like this one. i'm proud of the work that internet association members are doing. and that they wanted their voice heard at this important hearing. we're part of the solution. our members make efforts to find problem of content and remove it from the internet and to identify threats both on and offline within the confines that are acceptable in our society of freedoms, individual privacy. cooperation with law enforcement is vital. in the specific case of the parkland shooting as noted by the earlier panel, authorities were alerted to the threat well in advance of the shooting. in appropriate circumstances, companies do disclorse pertinent information to law enforcement, often proactively, without being asked to do so. through both proactive and
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responsive disclosure mechanisms internet companies have been able to vigorously support authorities around the world in responding to potential terrorist incidents, suicides, homicides, and to assess -- and to assist authorities as they investigate crimes. the industry's history of successful cooperation with law enforcement has helped save lives and bring criminals to justice. internet association members have policies about what is and what is not allowed on their platforms. these policies are the cornerstone of safety and security online. and while these policies do vary by company, they are all prohibit content including credible acts of violence, terrorist propaganda and child exploitation. internet companies use a variety of tools and mechanisms to enforce these policies. one tool is artificial intelligence. which can to his artificial intelligence, which can automatically identify content.ating
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while the efficacy of automated tools is constantly improving, challenges remain. identifying problematic content often requires analyzing rows of context and we cannot rely on technology alone. for example, an image of a terrorist could be used to promote a terror group or be part of a legitimate news article condemning the attack. also, the phrase we are going to kill you could be a threat for law enforcement or it could be competitive banner for sports teams and not a threat at all. likewise, photograph of a teenager with a gun could be threatening or could be a family hunting trip or taken during a gun safety course. while technology like ai and machine learning can work well in some of these cases, and others, particularly as it relates to people with guns and gun violence, it is not possible at this time for the algorithm to always distinguish between what is harmless and what needs to be flagged for
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law-enforcement. we depend on members of the community, friends and family, to contact law enforcement to provide context. given the amount of content online, use a reporting is essential to keeping everyone safe. our users receive millions of reports of potentially violating content each week. use a report companies are not enough and we encourage users to reach out likely to law enforcement if they become aware of threats of credible violence. i cannot emphasize this point enough. you know your friend and family members of the compute -- .ommunity better than ai educating the public about these issues is crucial. we will do more to educate the public about these kinds of red flags and identify at-risk
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individuals and how to report them to law enforcement during in conclusion, i want to express how sad and we are by this shooting and the tragedies that have happened around the country. i'm proud of our member companies taking a part in this leadership debate. grassley: thank you, mr. beckerman. social media played a role in the tips received by the fbi on september 2017 and again january 2018. the shooter was active on a number of social media websites, such as youtube and instagram and his comments have postings .n these sites prompted concern members of the public contact -- contacted fbi. according to briefings divided by google and facebook, the fbi never contacted these companies to ask for assistance in identifying the authors of these
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concerning posts. what steps are internet and social media companies taking to proactively monitor threatening content posted to their services as opposed to relying on other users to bring such content to their attention? mr. beckerman: there are strict community guidelines and there are mechanisms in removing that content. the first his artificial intelligence, which is good at identifying known images of violating content and blocking it before it reaches a platform. the second are the teams of thousands of individuals around the country that ari humanized. and the third mechanism is the ability for individual users to see that context of content and flag it for both companies and law enforcement.
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chairman grassely: the committee learned from youtube, from their representatives, that the man who reported and find the post,rs september 2017 which read "i want to be a " hidssional school shooter under the heading of spam. what are social media companies doing for users to flag content? mr. beckerman: i can't get too much into the specifics of that since there is an ongoing investigation. options that do exist and did exist for the moderator of that post to flag it, there was one that mentioned violence. it just so happened that the person clicked a box it said spam. but there are options for violence and other content. in your grassely: written statement, you state that americans are not interested in surrendering or curtailing constitutional rights.
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it also argued that americans can agree on some fundamental principles, namely that students and teachers should be safe, schools should be secure and law enforcement should be competent and do their job. what in your view is the most effective way to prevent school shootings. : mypetit: -- mr. petty > concern is that we go down the path that we have gone down ever -- after every mass shooting in school shooting and inevitably end up in a debate over the second argument -- the second amendment. that we don't all agree on. it is quite divisive. my view is that the best way we can prevent school shootings -- first of all, i think the first step is to improve security at our schools. that is something we can all agree on. the kits should be safe. the teachers should be safe.
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that parents shouldn't be worried about sending the kids to school. i would like to see us act there first. ,eyond that, the best way despite what happened in parkland, and what we are learning, early identification and interdiction seems to be the best way to prevent these from happening. as a part of that, as i said in my testimony, if we can identify these potential violent actors, these school shooters, get them the help they need, help them understand who they are and that they don't have to resort to violence, i think to me that is the best way to prevent these. chairman grassely: question you may have already answered by what you just said. but i thought i ought to have the benefit of your judgment since you have gone through such a tragedy, the best thing congress could do to honor your daughter's legacy in memory. or maybe you have already stated
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it. mr. petty: that this never happens again. chairman grassely: i would like to ask you another question. i understand that you have a background in technology. transcriptss and released by the fbi and inform us that the shooter made a .umber of alarming posts . social media companies have cooperated with all law enforcement requests related to the parkland shooting. it also appears that they did not tip off law enforcement about the alarming content. mr. petty: i think it is a difficult question to answer. i appreciate the testimony by mr. beckman. to identifying is troubling content and get it in front of -- as much as i trust
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and know that ai is improving, i still think at some point it needs to be viewed and reviewed in context by a human being and then law enforcement needs to be informed. and hopefully, they will do their job. chairman grassely: senator feinstein. sen. feinstein: thank you, mr. chairman. i want to make just one comment to mr. petty. my heart and thoughts are with you. but i would make this comment. i went to public school, kindergarten through eighth grade. there was never such a thing as a shooting in school. and there was never such a thing as an assault weapon. as long as you have these iapons easily available, believe you cannot stop these shootings.
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i have followed it as closely as i can for the last quarter of a century reading everything,, educated as is might be. but i might just say to you that is really my conclusion. to mention anded i have given letters to the chairman from the national teachers union to reference in theoncerns outlined possibility of teachers being armed. thatld like to point out the president of the american federation of teachers has stated that they are strongly opposed. they believe this proposal to harden schools and to arm teachers is straight out of the nra playbook and antithetical to the needs of children and
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ignores the purposes of public education. similarly, national education association president lily garcia has said our students -- and this is their position -- need more books, art, and music, nurses and school counselors. they do not need more guns in their classrooms. if i could ask the gentleman representing the internet companies, is there any content threatening violence or killing that your industry would flag or take down? absolutely.n: policies very much by company and platform for what is appropriate. but all content threatening violence is in a violation of their policies and does get removed in time. sen. feinstein: are you telling me that companies, twitter, facebook, whatever it is, would
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take any threat down? mr. beckerman: it depends on the circumstances. some of these things are very nuanced. there could be the same tax that could be a credible threat -- sen. feinstein: how about of the comments made by this shooter, that he wanted to be a school shooter. mr. beckerman: that was a -- that was removed. it was removed by the person moderating that video. sen. feinstein: who would that be? i want to be: careful not to get too much into the details as they are obviously doing investigation still. but it has been reported hadicly the gentleman who the video where the post was made both flagged it and removed it before any action was taken. also, he called law enforcement, flag for law enforcement, as was noted by the fbi in the previous panel. sen. collins: thank you. we will check that out. that is good to know.
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ms. posada, let me thank you for position andnd what you have gone through and your spirit and strength is very impressive. what lessons have you taken out of this with respect to what you believe we should do? ms. posada: i don't think there is a simple solution. if there was, we would not be here. we would have done it. there have been enough of these occurrences in our past that, if it were simple to fix it, it would have been done. unfortunate, it is not. we do need more funding. we need more communication between law-enforcement and the different agencies of law enforcement at local, federal, and between technology companies, things like that. we have all of these resources. they are just not quite making the connections between them. we need to figure out how we do
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that. what is the best way to do that. weapons aret these out there on our streets, that they exist, that a 19-year-old can go into a gun store and buy a semiautomatic weapon and a magazine, the fact that he could do that is insane to me. that is something that people have access to. whether you are mentally ill, as this person may have been or not, no one needs that kind of weapon. there's no purpose to that kind of gun other than to shoot as many bullets into people in a short amount of time as possible. until we take these guns away -- [laughter] no way we can really
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prevented these things from happening, unfortunately. sen. feinstein: thank you. chairman grassely: senator durbin. sen. durbin: thank you. i wasn't here when you major statement, but i read it and its entirety. it is touching and i know came from your heart. our hearts are with you and with your family at this time of loss. you talk about reaching out to these young people before. they reach best before they reach the point they are dangerous. thank you. that is a noble statement from somebody who has suffered as much as your family has suffered. focusing on trauma and the ,mpact of trauma on children when i find gun violence is chicago and go into the jails and ask about these teenagers, most all of them have been victims of violent trauma or have witnessed trauma and they are changed by it. and they need help. i'm glad you made that point. i want to ask you something you
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may not be able to answer. i reflect on it a lot. why? why did this incident on february 14 have such an impact on america? it's not the first mass shooting by any means. it is not the first shooting in a school by any means. but this seems to have been a breaking point, a tipping point. i don't know if it is because of the students at your school or america. what do you think? was it just this horrible thing occurred at a moment when people were open? or was it something special about the students and the circumstances? , number one, think the biggest difference has been our students. we come from a great school system. i am a proud teacher at our school. it is a wonderful school. we have excellent teachers. they have prepared these kids.
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we did not know we were preparing them for a tragedy like this. we did not know that we were preparing them to deal with this kind of thing on such a wide national scale. but we did. and the fact that they have been evento take this horrible and really find themselves called to make a difference i think has been something that has made this particular shooting different than the others. unfortunately, with sandy hook, the students there were two oo young to know anything. i think our students at stoneman douglas are very intelligent and well spoken as we have all seen. and they are tired. they are tired of being under threat. they are tired of being attacked. and they are standing up and
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saying, you know, adults have failed us. our system has failed us, and we need to be the ones who will make a difference because no one has done it yet. i hope those students can and those who believe in them will not give up the fight. clearly, from what has been proposed by the president and the committee, they are not ready to tackle the obvious answers to some of these issues. we need to have more pressure. i recall meeting one of your students from the school at a television studio in new york a couple of weeks ago. i introduced myself and he wasn't exactly in all of my office because the first thing he said was do you take money from the national rifle association? i said no. he said where do you get your money? an interesting introduction to a high school student. not the kind of questions i usually run into. but their fearless approach to it i'm sure turns people off. but a me it shows the seriousness of their commitment.
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they want to get to the bottom of this. they want answers and they don't want political baloney. too often, that is all they get. i have just a minute left. when i pull out my iphone and see my latest email, down at the bottom is a suggested reply, two or three suggested replies based on the content of the email sent to me. some thing somebody -- something i'm sure -- with ai calls through enough words in my email to suggest a response, two or three different responses. i'm thinking that is interesting, a little invasive, but interesting. is that where we are headed in your industry in terms of these comments being made on the internet this should be taken seriously? mr. beckerman: thank you, senator. ai is certainly improving and can be used in cases like this to identify problematic content. certainly, it is not there to build the context.
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the same phrasing can be used in something that is completely denied as an something that is signing. so we rely on human viewers at companies. in cases like this, members of the community that can flag content. we encourage people to do that. sen. durbin: thank you, mr. chairman. chairman grassely: after senator blumenthal, if they are here, koontz.and harris and i am going to step out for three or four minutes. you are always on the honor system. sen. blumenthal: first of all, etty, thank you for being here. i know it involves relieving the pain and grief you suffered in
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this very room. parents of the sandy hook victims came to talk to us about their grief and pain in similar testimony and nothing happened. congress has been complicit. has continuedcity to cause death every day, 90 of them everyday, this day in america on average. my hope is that something has changed. ms. poseidon, not only because your students are intelligent and active, but the young people of america are saying enough is enough. the sign that one of them carried the other day -- our blood your hands. thousands of them today, i just left them out on the front steps change.apitol demanding
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the title of this hearing is "see something say something."? we have to do something, not just talk about it, not just reality show rhetoric, which is respectfully what we are hearing from the white house instead of real action. , in your remarks at your daughter's funeral, you said about the shooter we wish and believe that, if somebody had been able to put their arms around him and show him compassion and love to the extent that would have enabled him to get some help, things may have been very different last week. much courage and strength it must have taken to say those words and how much faith. but one of the proposals that we
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have in the congress now, senator graham and i have ,ffered it, would be a statute a red flag statute of the federal level, similar to the one that florida has adopted, based on the connecticut and preventmodels that someone who is dangerous to himself or others from having or buying weapons. experience,ut's more than half of the individuals whose guns are taken from them are able to receive mental health care. so they become less dangerous to armselves and hopefully are put around them, speaking metaphorically, in the way that you suggested perhaps it should be done or should have been done for that individual. so let me ask you whether you
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feel that this kind of red flag statute at the federal level, similar to the one of florida now has, but florida is still in a handful minority of states that now have it, whether it would make sense at the federal level. mr. petty: i believe it would. in florida, we call it the gun violence restraining order. one of the things i could have made a big difference here was -- we heard the testimony from the fbi. i read the media reports about the response to the broward sheriff's office. they visited somewhere between 30 and 40 times. that investigation will continue. i believe, if we had had the uzility to separate mr. cr from his weapons, things would have been different. violence restraining order we passed in florida is a step in that direction.
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i think it should be enacted at the federal level, absolutely. sen. blumenthal: thank you. among theny procedure companies you represent for of theng law enforcement kind of information that would prove useful in issuing these orders, call them extreme risk protection orders or restraining orders as they are called in enforcementthat law and maybe family members can take action? absolutely.n: our companies were very well with law enforcement, particularly when there's threats of a minute violence. -- imminent violence. i so -- i also believe that social media can be a newly warning sign. you can see somebody in your community that maybe has a cry for help or needs love and
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compassion and certainly can be flag in these cases. our companies are more than happy to work with the community and mental health professionals and law enforcement to make sure that happens. blumenthal:-- sen. is there more that can be done? mr. beckerman: there are tools in place and getting information to law enforcement and local communities off of the platforms. sen. blumenthal: thank you. i think senator booker is after me. sen. booker: thank you. , i was very moved by you or grateful your have the courage after great dane in your lives. the agony and the trauma of what you all have been through is profound. listened to the story of talking about what happens in the aftermath, on how cheering and
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yelling for an mba athlete shapes children, how a loud noise makes folks jump. what is painful for me as i -- as i listen to this is what you're talking about is something i experience where i live. i live in a city of low income community where were -- where hearing gunfire is not an odd thing. teachers tell me lots of stories about children and parents telling me that the fourth of july's not the happiest time because of firecrackers going off and kids who are traumatized by that. i know in my personal life, with the proliferation of guns in this country, that in my neighborhood, you can jog around the community and see shrines to children and teenagers murdered, teddy bears and candles. it is hard to avoid. i stood on tree
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corners with bodies still lying in the street. i have been in the aftermath of shootings moments after they happen. i had a gruesome experience of having a 19-year-old died as i vainly tried to stop him from bleeding from multiple gunshot wounds. and i am an adult at that point. i was writing about this recently. my chief of staff, i told him, after interviewing the police officer and telling him how shaken i was. and he corrected me. you were shaken for a long, long time. you are affected. calls "never again" which i agree with a lot. but the problem is that it is happening everyday. every day in our country, we are having people die. at the top of my blog on monday, where i live, a young man that i know was murdered by an automatic weapon. i talked to his mother yesterday. i'm going to the funeral on friday.
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he and i lived together in a building for about 10 years. of young men that he hung out with in the lobby that i used to play basketball with, just about all of them are dead right now due to gun violence. is that weme so much don't have the moral urgency to do the things we have to do. your testimony was painful to listen to, but here in congress -- i have been here for five years. multiple mass shootings, thousands of people and committees like mine have died and we have done nothing, not .ne thing from better funding the atf to better laws that we already have to banning weapons of mass destruction to making universal background checks, things supported by over 80% of nra
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members, we just haven't been able to do. efforts.laud local the courage of my police officers in my city, in my state, i applaud local efforts. but some of these -- so many of these changes have to happen on i willional level during be back in my committee for yet where itoy in a box barely makes a headline and does not make a blip on the national news. from tell you right now, the 10-year-old killed in atlantic city it couple of weeks ago to a teenager killed in my city about a week ago, this is happening every single day so what i just what you say to a congress right now? at least the florida legislature did something.
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we don't have a scheduled vote. we don't have a bill moving out of committee to the floor. have any specific members with messages to the people here that are doing nothing? the opposite of justice is not injustice, it is in action. it is an difference. it is apathy. you have a message to this congress who is prepared to do nothing in the face of these tragedies in your communities and mind? >> yes. this time must be different. a congressman from florida said the bullet holes on our school are on the outside. i committed to him to work with him to figure out how to solve
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those problems in his neighborhood as well. i don't want a mass shooting to ever happen in a shooting -- in a school again. there are lots of communities that are suffering as you mentioned that don't get on the news and don't get the attention that parkland gets. my heart goes out to those communities. i'm going to work with my representatives. this time must be different. focus on the things you can agree on. that was the difference in florida. that was the difference. .e did not agree on everything there were things republicans did like about the bill, there were things democrats didn't like about the bill. rather than focusing on the differences, they focused on the common ground and we took some ground in florida. i would urge the congress here to take some ground. we second amendment fight will continue to have those. take.he ground you can
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secure the schools. keep kids safe. keep guns away from people who should not have them. health soove mental we can put our arms around these kids before they turned violent. i think my message would be similar. not a partisan issue. this is the children of republicans and they are not immune to bullets. anyone can fall victim to something like this. before thes named shooting, the number one sacred city in the state of florida and the next today this happened. this could happen anywhere to anyone. congress, to this point, has kept allowing it to happen by their inaction.
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as you said, they are complicit. in action is at this point inexcusable. we need to work together. i tell my students we have lost the ability and people in this room know it more than the average person, to listen. we have lost the ability to communicate civilly with someone with whom we disagree. we are very divided and if you disagree with me, you must be a terrible person. we have to stop that attitude. down at a table across from each other and compromise on these issues or it's never going to stop. he will never solve this problem. >> senator ayers? thank you. i am so sorry for your loss. you are the best of who we are in terms of the courage that you
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are showing in the face of your personal pain. clear to me that you have decided that this will be a lifelong mission and so i thank for the courage you shown these past couple of weeks but for what i am clear will be years and years of your leadership and advocacy. mr. beckman, you talked about ai. subject of ai, artificial intelligence, is some ways a complex one in some ways not. isificial intelligence basically a series about resumes -- series of how the rhythms that will be relevant to the extent there is a large amount us toa to then inform make the right decision. it's a function of data.
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ai,ly, when talking about data is king or queen. us thea gives information that allows us to have some reference point based on experience so we can predict something that happens in the future. it's artificial intelligence but it's like teaching a child. they are exposed to information the first time in the second time. they have a wealth of experience that allows them to make decisions about something they should be afraid of her some and they should be concerned about. same thing for ai data. you have heard testimony about the dickey amendment. prohibitiont right on the research of gun violence yet we know that gun violence is among the least researched major causes of death in the united states. my request of you is that you ave mentioned that you are
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member of organizations that i'm familiar with. -- my requestou of you is that your organizations strongly advocate for the repeal of the dickey so that you and we can have the research and the data that is available if we just study this thing. to help us in every sector, including you with social media. having the data to inform ai and to create the algorithms to help us to text the difference between some kid who is saying you killed it because they did well with a high school the threatgame and that you might actually be prepared to kill a classmate in school. we you be willing to make commitment to advocate among your members that the dickey amendment be repealed and that we support the kind of work that is happening from the secret
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to have a renewed interest in studying this? >> thank you. appreciate the question. we don't have a position in particular on the dickey amendment that i can agree with this context, and many others, that data is queen and the more data we have, the better it is for all of us. >> would you commit to taking it back to your members in a formal way? in terms of not allowing this to have the research and therefore the data we need? particular, through things like artificial intelligence, which is part of how we will be more productive and effective for policy and predictive policy? >> i will actually go back and discuss with my members. >> thank you. , you have been
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educated in middle life commitment to teach our children. in that context, nurture their .reams and their spirit extraordinary with your .ourage you spoke of the students at stoneman douglas and you said they were extraordinary and i couldn't agree more. my question to you is, we see all of these kids throughout the country today taking their 17 minutes to go in honor the young people who have died. to commit themselves to being a part of the leadership on issue like this. ?hat is your advice for us the people who sit at this podium who have these big bully pulpits?
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what is your advice to us about what we should be saying to them? to harness that energy that they are showing. .elieving in our democracy i see a great deal of optimism. these kids believe that if they are heard and seen, we would do something. what can we do to encourage them and support them? >> my first recognition be to listen to their concerns and how they are feeling. do not dismiss them. too many people have said, they are teenagers, what do they know? i think that is a mistake. children, theyre are intelligent and they know
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their minds and they will tell you what they think if you let them. that would be my first recommendation. them, i know that a lot of these kids have been attacked personally by people saying that they are not real or -- that type of thing. in the long-term term, it may be very discouraging. minimumthat at a bare and to allow them to speak their voice, they are prepared to really take this all the way. bash soonerons goons? -- senator coons? >> i would add, please do let them down.
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there is a stunt pulled in tallahassee with the kids he did not understand the procedural mechanism. the senate and the u.s. congress are far more complex than tallahassee. i hated to see the images of those kids disappointed. there was no chance of that amendment passing. listen to them but be honest with them. they are our future. they need to know they can trust you. sooner -- senator coons? >> i'd like to continue the conversation with you if i could. they keep are coming to testify with us today. were going to make some positive out of your loss. i have heard from students up and down my state of delaware. i agree with you that we need to
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keep faith with that action. i want to ask you, given the law that was fined in florida, that tackles things a little bit from both sides, is in bold, isn't big, doesn't do what i'd like to see but make some progress, raising the age to 21 in benin banningcks, -- 21 and bump stocks, are the things that you would support that would go beyond that? it's a great question. let me say one thing. there is they walk out movement but the movement walk up which i think should get equal airtime. it's where students go and put their arms around another student that is having trouble or is alone or isn't eating
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lunch with them. tunes notcourage his only to walk out but to walk up. specifics,ting into there are things about that legislation that i personally disagree with. there are things that other family members that they disagreed with. there was enough in common that we decided to set aside those differences and come together. i think we made some change. that, to me, is the model for going forward. there are things on the edges we will always disagree with. if we come together and say, look, and i think ms. passado said it well. we have to quit impugning the motives of the other side. they are deeply held beliefs on both sides and just because somebody holds a particular belief, doesn't make them a bad person. we have to talk to them.
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we have to listen to them. there are a lot of things in front of this congress that are common ground. they should be done quickly. you can continue to debate the things that you don't have in common. >> i am worried we will do nothing. the bill i introduced as a exist --forcement to to enforce existing law. things we should an act otherwise we risk sending the message to families like yours, to the students around the world, that we are not hearing them. i would support you are proposing. ms. posada, thank you for your testimony and your dedication.
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my mother and grandmother were both public school teachers early in their careers and i get a sense of how hard that is. i want to ask you a second question about school safety. there are a wide range of teachers,about arming and there is a company that manufactures ballistic armor and they deployed in once -- in one school district in my state, clipboards and blackboards that look like any other clipboard or blackboard, so they don't create a heightened sense of instability or insecurity but they are ballistic protective material. it would allow and inspected event, teacher or student to possibly exit with something between them and the shooter. i don't know if you had any views on what sorts of actions we should take to make school safer.
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investing more in school counselors are mental health? prepping and training teachers? or whether these kinds of investments in school systems that would make them safer our best? i would welcome your input. >> i think the problem with a lot of the proposals that have been made as far as arming teachers, what you just mentioned, those things you just mentioned, the biggest problem i see with those things is the cost. toas a nation seem investtly be unable to in education and the education of our children. but we are willing to spend millions of dollars on arming teachers. passed in florida allocates $67 million to the potential of arming teachers. i know that the teachers and broward county until this year
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had not had a raise for several years. that's a large concern for me. that we seem to be willing to put a lot of money towards things like that but not towards education in general. i am personally, strongly opposed to arming teachers. morenk it will pose a much danger on a day-to-day basis to teachers and two students. in the past few days, there have been a teacher today in california accidentally discharging a gun in a classroom and injured a student. yesterday, a teacher in utah accidentally discharged a firearm and injured herself. these were trained teachers who were allowed to carry those in just two days, these accidents have happened. scale,o this on a larger
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i fear those things would happen more and more. as far as the kevlar, bulletproof items, that would be a good thing to be able to have. but i think investing in education in general is a much more important step for the nation as a whole. you, ms. posada. mr. petty, you mentioned we make sure we invest in school environments where there are limits on bullying and resources for counseling. it's something i would see real value in. making school safer but also investing more in our teachers. it strikes me as a priority. mr. chairman, thank you for holding this hearing. i have no more questions so
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we are done but before you go there are a couple things for housekeeping. noter one would be that everyone could come here and for a committee of 21 members there's probably 21 different reasons why people could be here or not be here. sometimes you get questions in writing, particularly from people who cannot come. i hope you will respond to those. we will keep the record open for a week. all three of you should be thanked but we couldn't help but since the difficulty for mr. becaused ms. passado they have gone through so much so we thank you for coming. i think with the two of you have said that we need to come together in the senate to find a memon ground, it seems to and bills that are evolving here thanks to improve school safety
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and take guns out of the hands of dangerous people and reducing school violence as a result are things that we ought to really find common ground on. beyond that, we have a responsibility to find common seems we should be able to move ahead of some of these things very quickly. thank you very much in the
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>> next saturday, students from
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around the country are taking part in the large for our lives lawmakers tog on take action against gun violence in schools. coverage on live c-span. >> c-span's washington journal, live every day with news and policy issues that impact to you. press congressional correspondent and the hills congressional reporter mike liles. preview key storylines on capitol hill and at the white house. center'srtisan policy -- talks about a new report on ways to talk about the -- to supplement the food stamps. join the discussion.
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>> last week president trump announced he was replacing secretary of state rex tillerson with mike pompeo. as he left the white house for a trip to california, president trump stopped to talk to reporters about his decision. later that day the outgoing secretary made a statement to a reporter at the state department. we will show you that after the president's comments. >> mr. president -- president trump: i've worked for some pompeo now time three tremendous energy come much menace intellect -- to menace energy, amend us and nurture -- tremendous energy, tremendous intellect. i wish rex tillerson well. i've worked really closely with, will be the first woman director the cia.


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