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Sheldon Whitehouse on Gun Control

Democratic Jr Senator, previously attorney general


Common-sense solutions to fight gun crime

A former U.S. Attorney appointed by Bill Clinton and Rhode Island’s Attorney General, Sheldon Whitehouse has successfully fought for tough new gun control legislation that strengthened penalties for armed criminals and prosecuted members of the Rhode Island Latin Kings, a violent criminal gang that committed murder, drug dealing, assault, and racketeering. In the U.S. Senate, Whitehouse will work for common-sense solutions that help local law enforcement fight gun crime and to hold irresponsible gun makers and dealers accountable for their actions.

Whitehouse says, “I’ve prosecuted gun crimes, and I’ve seen first-hand the differences that resources and cooperation can make in our fight to get guns off our streets. Congress needs to take decisive action to make sure that local law enforcement has the tools it needs to make our neighborhoods safe.”

Source: 2006 Senate campaign website, www.whitehouseforsenate.com , Jul 27, 2006

Fight to keep guns off our streets

Source: 2006 Senate campaign website, www.whitehouseforsenate.com , Jul 27, 2006

Strengthened penalties for armed criminals

As Attorney General, Sheldon fought for tough new gun control legislation that strengthened penalties for armed criminals.
Source: 2006 Senate campaign website WhitehouseForSenate.com “About” , Dec 25, 2005

Voted YES on banning high-capacity magazines of over 10 bullets.

Congressional Summary:

Proponent's Argument for voting Yes: Sen. BLUMENTHAL: This amendment would ban high-capacity magazines which are used to kill more people more quickly and, in fact, have been used in more than half the mass shootings since 1982. I ask my colleagues to listen to law enforcement, their police, prosecutors who are outgunned by criminals who use these high-capacity magazines. I ask that my colleagues also listen to the families of those killed by people who used a high-capacity magazine.

Opponent's Argument for voting No: Sen. GRASSLEY. I oppose the amendment. In 2004, which is the last time we had the large-capacity magazine ban, a Department of Justice study found no evidence banning such magazines has led to a reduction in gun violence. The study also concluded it is not clear how often the outcomes of the gun attack depend on the ability of offenders to fire more than 10 shots without reloading. Secondly, there is no evidence banning these magazines has reduced the deaths from gun crimes. In fact, when the previous ban was in effect, a higher percentage of gun crime victims were killed or wounded than before it was adopted. Additionally, tens of millions of these magazines have been lawfully owned in this country for decades. They are in common use, not unusually dangerous, and used by law-abiding citizens in self-defense, as in the case of law enforcement.

Whitehouse says, "Whitehouse (D-RI)"

Reference: Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act; Bill S.Amdt. 714 to S. 649 ; vote number 13-SV103 on Apr 17, 2013

Voted NO on allowing firearms in checked baggage on Amtrak trains.

Congressional Summary:AMENDMENT PURPOSE: To ensure that law abiding Amtrak passengers are allowed to securely transport firearms in their checked baggage.

On page 37, between lines 8 and 9, insert the following: "Allowing Amtrak Passengers to Securely Transport Firearms on Passenger Trains.--None of amounts made available in the reserve fund authorized under this section may be used to provide financial assistance for the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) unless Amtrak passengers are allowed to securely transport firearms in their checked baggage.

Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Sen. ROGER WICKER (R, MS). This amendment aims to ensure that gun owners and sportsmen are able to transport securely firearms aboard Amtrak trains in checked baggage, a practice that is done thousands of times a day at airports across the country. I emphasize that this amendment deals with checked, secured baggage only. It would return Amtrak to a pre-9/11 practice. It does not deal with carry-on baggage. Unlike the airline industry, Amtrak does not allow the transport of firearms in checked bags. This means that sportsmen who wish to use Amtrak trains for hunting trips cannot do so because they are not allowed to check safely a firearm.

Opponent's argument to vote No:Sen. FRANK LAUTENBERG (D, NJ): I object to this disruptive amendment offered by the Senator from Mississippi. He wants to enable the carrying of weapons, guns, in checked baggage. One doesn't have to be very much concerned about what we are doing when they look at the history of attacks on railroads in Spain and the UK and such places. This amendment has no place here interrupting the budgetary procedure. The pending amendment is not germane and, therefore, I raise a point of order that the amendment violates section 305(b)(2) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974.

Reference: Wicker Amendment; Bill S.Amdt.798 to S.Con.Res.13 ; vote number 2009-S145 on Apr 2, 2009

Voted NO on prohibiting foreign & UN aid that restricts US gun ownership.

Amendment SA 2774 to H.R. 2764, the Department of State's International Aid bill: To prohibit the use of funds by international organizations, agencies, and entities (including the United Nations) that require the registration of, or taxes guns owned by citizens of the United States.

Proponents support voting YES because:

Sen. VITTER: This is a straight funding limitation amendment. Many folks who haven't followed the proceedings on this in the U.N. may ask: What is this all about? Unfortunately, it is about an effort in the United Nations to bring gun control to various countries through that international organization. Unfortunately, that has been an ongoing effort which poses a real threat, back to 1995. In 2001, the UN General Assembly adopted a program of action designed to infringe on second amendment rights. The Vitter amendment simply says we are not going to support any international organization that requires a registration of US citizens' guns or taxes US citizens' guns. If other folks in this Chamber think that is not happening, that it is never going to happen, my reply is simple and straightforward: Great, then this language has no effect. It is no harm to pass it as a failsafe. It has no impact. But, in fact, related efforts have been going on in the U.N. since at least 1995. I hope this can get very wide, bipartisan support, and I urge all my colleagues to support this very fundamental, straightforward amendment.

No opponents spoke against the bill.

Reference: Vitter Amendment to State Dept. Appropriations Bill; Bill S.Amdt. 2774 to H.R. 2764 ; vote number 2007-321 on Sep 6, 2007

Close the Gun Show Loophole; restrict show sales.

Whitehouse signed H.R.2324& S.843

    Makes it unlawful for any person to operate a gun show unless such person:
  1. has attained 21 years of age;
  2. is not prohibited from transporting, shipping, or receiving firearms and has not violated any federal firearms requirements;
  3. has registered with the Attorney General as a gun show operator and has provided a photograph and fingerprints;
  4. has not concealed material information nor made false statements in connection with a gun show operator registration; and
  5. notifies the Attorney General of the date, time, and duration of a gun show not later than 30 days before the commencement of such show and verifies the identity of each vendor at the gun show.
Imposes recordkeeping requirements on gun show operators and criminal penalties for failure to register as a gun show operator and maintain required records. Increases criminal penalties for serious recordkeeping violations and violations of criminal background check requirements. Authorizes the Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) to hire additional investigators to carry out inspections of gun shows.
Source: Gun Show Loophole Closing Act 09-HR2324 on May 7, 2009

Ban large-capacity ammunition.

Whitehouse co-sponsored Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act

Amends the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act

Source: H.R.138&S.33 13-S0033 on Jan 22, 2013

Other candidates on Gun Control: Sheldon Whitehouse on other issues:
RI Gubernatorial:
Donald Carcieri
Lincoln Chafee
RI Senatorial:
Jack Reed
Mark Zaccaria

RI politicians
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Retiring in 2014 election:
GA:Chambliss(R)
IA:Harkin(D)
MI:Levin(D)
MT:Baucus(D)
NE:Johanns(R)
SD:Johnson(D)
WV:Rockefeller(D)

Retired as of Jan. 2013:
AZ:Kyl(R)
CT:Lieberman(D)
HI:Akaka(D)
ME:Snowe(R)
ND:Conrad(D)
NE:Nelson(D)
NM:Bingaman(D)
TX:Hutchison(R)
VA:Webb(D)
WI:Kohl(D)
Senate Retirements 2014:
GA:Chambliss(R)
IA:Harkin(D)
MI:Levin(D)
MT:Baucus(D)
MT:Walsh(D)
NE:Johanns(R)
OK:Coburn(R)
SD:Johnson(D)
WV:Rockefeller(D)

Senate races Nov. 2014:
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AL: Sessions(R,unopposed)
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Page last updated: Aug 12, 2014