Rand Paul Talks Gun Legislation with WKCT
[00:00:18.28] You might hear the term " along party lines", was not necessarily the case. There were some Democrats supported Republican proposals, Republicans who supported the Democratic proposals, there were two each, all failed yesterday, but I do not believe I saw your name crossing over Senator Paul, so I assume you voted against all four measures yesterday, is that correct?
[00:00:40.15] Well no, I voted for the two put forward by the Republicans that I think would have prevented, you know, the terrorists from getting weapons, but would also, you know, have some due process.
[00:00:52.29] One was Senator Grassley's and-
[00:00:57.06] Yeah I voted for Grassley's and Cornyn's
[00:00:57.06] The Grassley one was something we talk about a lot with these is mental instability, and that was one of the Republican proposals, which would have required states have more information on mental health to a national database, and then the other republican proposal was to delay gun sales to individuals included on a government terror watch list. US Senator Rand Paul joins us now to talk about these votes in the Senate. There's another one scheduled for today, is that correct?
[00:01:31.01] You know I'm not positive what will happen yet today, that's sort of gonna get decided by leadership, but what I will is that you know, we're having a big debate about gun control, but we've really missed the point here. This guy wasn't on any list. The real problem was we thought that we need to search the list or take away guns from people on the list, he needed to be on the list to begin with. And so I've actually put forward a proposal, and I'm still working on it, that I think all 100 Senators would vote for. And that is that if you have been investigated by the FBI, instead of closing the investigation and taking you off the list, leave you on the list for five years. So for example, the Boston bombers they investigated and I think they made a mistake, they said they were not a credible threat and they closed the investigation, took them off the terror list. Also with this Orlando killer, he was investigated twice and actually turns out now the FBI was tipped off two more times, at least one time by a gun store owner, and now another guy has come forward to say he called the FBI as well. And they still closed the investigation.
[00:02:37.29] What is the reason for them taking someone off the list? It's not like it costs money to keep them on a terrorism watch list.
[00:02:47.18] It makes no sense at all to me. And here's the real rub of this, when they take them off the list they're saying they don't believe him to be a credible threat. Well the person they said they didn't think was a credible threat twice said he was gonna kill people at work. Another time five years before the police academy said he was gonna make it look like Virginia Tech, and they escorted him off the premises, surrounded his car with police and took him off the premises. He went to Saudi Arabia, he knew a suicide bomber. How many people have all of these strikes against them? Then a gun store owner calls five weeks in advance and says, "Hey, there's a guy speaking Arabic in here who wants to buy 1,000 rounds of ammunition, he seems really sketchy, we're not gonna sell to him. Did the FBI do anything?
[00:03:30.10] How many red flags do you need?
[00:03:31.22] The thing is, they say well we didn't have his name. Well have they ever heard of a photo lineup?
[00:03:42.02] How many people do you think have been investigated for terrorism within a hundred miles of that gun store? Maybe twenty? You take a list of twenty people with their pictures, you go to the gun store and say which one of these guys, was it one of these guys that came into your store trying to buy the ammunition. The guy points him out, you go to his house and maybe you stop this. But instead what we're getting from the FBI and everyone else is well we need more power to do surveillance on everyone, so we want to look at everybody's data, everybody's phone calls, everybody's email. And that's how we're gonna stop people, and I'm like, no you guys just need to do better police work! And let's leave them on the terror list is you've investigated them.
[00:04:17.24] Where is this coming from? Is this just the FBI making these kinds of decisions or is it coming from the Justice Department do you think.
[00:04:26.19] I think this is mostly FBI. The FBI investigates domestic threats of terrorism, and see the thing is I'm a big believer that when you analyze a problem you look for the crux of the problem and you try to fix it. The crux of the problem isn't that everybody on the list needs to have their guns taken away. The crux of the problem is we need to try to have people on the list who are threats. Two major attacks in the last two years, the Boston bomber and then the Orlando killer where people who had been investigated then dropped from the list. If you remain on the list the current practice is the gun is not sold. The FBI is called. The FBI has a couple of choices though. The FBI can immediately come in and try to arrest you, put you before a judge, and try the case. They can let you buy the weapon and follow you to see if you're connected to other terrorists. Thought really we don't want the FBI to be told in advance which one they have to do because it may well be they do want to follow the guy when he picks up the arms and follow him where he goes to see if he connects to other terrorists. But the bottom line is both times the bombers in Boston as well as the killer in Orlando is that they had been on a list, the FBI would have been notified prior to the purchase of the gun, and the FBI can make a decision. So I'm still pushing to try to get this. If we get one thing out of this and that's that we kept people on the list longer, I think we'd have made some advance here.
[00:05:55.22] One thing I think all Americans could agree on is that terrorists should not have the ability to buy guns, so it's really easy to say well we should say that anybody on the terrorist watch list can't get a gun. and it'd be really easy for us to ram through this legislation that would say that, but the concern is who gets on that list, what can happen if you get put on that list as a potential terrorist? We've talked at one point in time Ted Kennedy was on a terror watch list.
[00:06:30.28] Yeah, you're exactly right. Here's the problem with taking away the second amendment rights of everybody preemptively on the list. Number one the list is secret, it was created by President Obama, it's secret, the criteria for being on the list are secret. You're never told you're on the list. And so you'd have to find out about it when you go to purchase a gun or when you go to try to buy a weapon, and then you find out about it, but then how do you get off the list? The ACLU's been suing now for nearly ten years to try to say there has to be a way to remove yourself and they found people actually are soldiers who have been put on the watch list and have been prevented from travel. There have been some of our soldiers stuck overseas who were put on a watch list. Not active soldiers, they must be out of the service, but put on the list and then had trouble trying to figure out how to get off the list to get back home, and have been stranded overseas. So we have to be a little bit careful about, you know what I always ask liberals is, they hate the second amendment, but what about the first amendment? Are they willing to take away your right to freedom of press, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, are you willing to take away that freedom from people by putting them on a list? So we can do both, we can keep guns from terrorists and also protect our Constitutional rights at the same time.
[00:07:53.18] You know, one of the most frightening things I read on the, not sure if it was the New York Times, but I read it last week. It was talking about the relatively few number of people that the FBI can monitor on a 24 hour basis. I want to say it was somewhere in the neighborhood of around 50 people that the FBI can watch and we're talking about thousands of people who have been flagged at some point in time. Is that a concern to you that the FBI is not able to keep us safe? I mean the San Bernardino and Orlando shootings and the Tsarnaevs as well, we've all been told that these people are a threat, are a danger, but the FBI acts like they just don't have the resources to follow these people consistently.
[00:08:41.25] Well I think there are different degrees. Let's say you investigate someone you don't believe they're a threat. I would leave them on the list but maybe you don't have to have the resources to follow them 24 hours a day. But if this Orlando killer had been left on a list the FBI would have been notified when he went to buy the guns, they would have been notified when he went to buy the ammunition. So they would have been notified and we would have had a chance had he been on a list. But what gets me is the FBI comes and testifies to us not once did they ever mention that they were notified from that gun store, the gun store that turned him down, they never mentioned that and you know we have these top secret briefings where really very little top secret is ever told to us, but I can tell you what they didn't tell us, and that was they didn't tell us that that gun store owner warned them and they didn't follow up on the lead. They also make it sound like oh all we need is more power, just give us more power to search everyone's records. But I think the haystack, you also have to consider how big the haystack is so for example, I think we have to look at countries that have a terror threat, that have active terrorist organizations, and we have to be very very careful about letting anybody in from those countries. And in fact, I think until we know where everybody is, I think a moratorium on some immigration from certain countries that have a lot of terrorism going on wouldn't be a bad idea because we don't know for example 40% of people overstay their visas. They get a visa, they come and visit us, 40% don't go home when they're supposed to. There's 150,000 students coming from the Middle East every year. If 40% of them are staying in the country, that's a significant terror threat. Look at what's happened to Europe now. They have let millions of people in who are coming in with no identification whatsoever. And I think the open borders of Europe is probably gonna cause a generation of warfare in Europe.
[00:10:29.09] So you don't think all these people are properly vetted Senator?
[00:10:32.15] To say the least! I mean you guys remember what happened in Bowling Green just with two people admitted through the refugee program, and you know the other thing that has to be discussed, and look I have a great deal of sympathy and you know I am a member of a church that helped bring families over from Bosnia, and there are a lot of good Bosnians in our community, there are a lot of good people that have come in our community, but at the same time, you have to wonder with a country like Iraq, if you admit 70,000 of the most pro-Western people to our country, who's gonna be the ones left in their country to actually stabilize it and have you know, good Western ideas as far as law and order and Constitution, if they all come over here who's left in their country to try to restabilize their country?
[00:11:19.04] And the whole idea with refugees, people who seek, who want to flee persecution, the whole idea is for them to return back to their country when that violence is ended. But that does not seem to be the formula that's been taking place.
[00:11:37.24] Yeah, and I think there's a difference between people offering charity and bringing people over and helping them, and there's a difference between that and immediately enrolling everybody on government assistance. So for example, one of the things the refugee program does which is different than all other immigration is, you're immediately eligible for all forms of welfare. So we're talking about government housing, government health insurance, the works, and we've got a lot of people in our country that we need to take care of and so I just don't know if we have enough money to invite the whole world over here and say we're gonna put you on federal assistance.
[00:12:15.00] We're already borrowing a lot of that money, aren't we?
[00:12:15.29] Yeah, we're borrowing a million dollars a minute, so part of charity means giving it individually but also giving out of your surplus. You know, nobody goes to the bank and says, hey I want to borrow money to help put up somebody who we want to bring into our country. So that's sort of the question is the country's running such a deficit, can we really afford to bring in tens of thousands of new people?
[00:12:43.19] You know something Senator that you talked about in your presidential campaign, you were really one of the only presidential candidates that was talking about this, was the lessons learned from when we launched the war on terror after the 9/11 terror attacks. And it seems like we've not learned the lesson that when a tragedy takes place, Orlando was a tragedy, San Bernardino was a tragedy, 9/11 was a tragedy, but you have to be careful to not give the government too much power to take away your rights. And that's what we did when we launched the Department of Homeland security. When we allow the government to listen to phone calls and mine data that they didn't need to prove in a court of law that they had a reason to get. And now it seems like they wanna do the same thing here in terms of when we put people on the terror watch list, we just wanna give the government the ability to say, well they're on the list, and we'll figure out if they really deserve to be on the list later.
[00:13:53.21] Well you're exactly right, if you go back to 9/11 you can see a lot of failures by the FBI and the CIA. So instead of fixing those problems, and the FBI doing better investigations, we just simply gave more power for the government in general and for the intelligence agencies to look at innocent people's records and scour all of our private belongings. And if you look at the 9/11 hijackers, two of them were in San Diego, they lived with an FBI informant for a year. The FBI informant was never made available for the 9/11 commission. So you've heard of the 28 pages that are missing, there's a great book by former Senator Bob Graham, a Democrat from Florida, called Intelligence Matters. He talks about the 28 pages and it was vetted by the CIA so he got permission to publish it, but it's a great book and he goes through eleven different instances where just through simple bad police work, we dropped the ball and we could have stopped 9/11. But time after time we kept letting people go in and out, we really just had this open border for terrorists which was a problem. We also just weren't talking to each other, the CIA wasn't talking to the FBI but the FBI did great work in their field offices in Arizona and Minnesota saying hey we're catching these guys, and yet the FBI headquarters did nothing. You know they refused to even ask for a warrant, it wasn't that a warrant was turned down, they never once asked for a warrant for Masouwi's computer, the guy they did catch, and he was connected, they looked at it on 9/12 and he was connected to four or five of the terrorists in Florida within a couple hours once they looked at his computer.
[00:15:34.01] You know I'm sure... this is a tough question for you to answer because you're a member of the body, but do you really believe that the Congress is capable of coming up with legislation in a week that has thoroughly been considered, thoroughly been vetted itself, I mean I think we should have learned the mistake of passing legislation that sometimes hundreds if not thousands of pages without really knowing what's inside ...with the Obamacare legislation where we basically said let's pass it and then we'll let the courts figure it out. Aren't we in danger of doing the same thing with this gun control legislation? We could pass something that might have some vagueness in it and then a court and a judge will have to decide later what the intention was.
[00:16:28.23] Well that's why I've been looking for common ground and something simple, so yesterday I went across the aisle and all these were voted down, I went to the Democrat side and I spoke with several Democrats and I got all of them nodding heads and I said, look what was the main problem here? The guy wasn't on the list. And the main problem is once we close an investigation, they're no longer on the list and the FBI's not notified. If we keep them on the list for five years, after we've investigated them, keep them on the list for five years, there's a very good chance the FBI would intervene before a sale like this happens. And they all nodded their heads and I said, look we don't agree on everything else to do with the list, but we can agree that people should stay on the list if they're investigated. I said if we narrow the focus of this bill to that one item, I'll bet you we can get 100 votes for it. The American people will see us working together. Nobody gets exactly what they want. The Democrats don't get bans on all the guns they want to ban, but we would have done something positive that might well stop the next Orlando killer, or the next Boston bomber, and so some that we're working on, there is a chance that that might be put forward. Now Susan Collins has a more extensive bill that she wants to put forward but I've been lobbying to have, let's do just the little thing of keeping them on a list. While it might be little and narrow, it might well have stopped this killing.
[00:17:50.15] And even though there were two Republican proposals defeated and two Democratic proposals defeated, the mainstream media has clearly made this somehow the Republicans fault that this gun legislation didn't get passed yesterday.
[00:18:03.28] Yeah I was watching earlier this morning one of the liberal commentators interviewing I think it was Biden this morning and the question was, well it's lamentable that we can't get any gun control passed and I thought, really? That's an objective question? But really these people have another, they've got an ulterior motive. They in many ways, they're always looking for an excuse, you know this is Rahm Emanuel's theory or doctrine for them, let no crisis go to waste. Always use a crisis to make government bigger to get your agenda across, and I think that's what liberals want here. They feign concern but in reality they want to get their traditional banning of guns and limitations on the second amendment, and in reality, none of that, everything they talked about, let's say you took away a gun from everybody on the list, it wouldn't have stopped this because the guy wasn't on the list. And so really the crux of the problem is let's get the guy on the list so the FBI knows if they're trying to buy a weapon. That has a very good chance of working and gives us some kind of defense against these terrorists. But that would be a smaller step, it wouldn't include gun control, and so let's see if any of them are willing to take that compromise.
[00:19:16.18] US Senator Rand Paul. Good luck in the baseball game later this week Senator.
[00:19:23.03] Yeah I'll be wearing my Western Kentucky Hilltopper uniform and hopefully doing better. The Democrats have beaten us six years in a row so it's a game for charity at Nationals stadium and we will be trying to beat the Democrats this year.