Jeff Sessions on Gun Control
Republican Jr Senator (AL)
As US attorney, led nation in gun prosecutions every year
If I am confirmed, we will systematically prosecute criminals who use guns in committing crimes. As United States attorney, my office was a national leader in gun prosecutions every year. We will partner with state and local law enforcement to take
down drug-trafficking cartels and dismantle gangs. We will prosecute those who repeatedly violate our borders. It will be my priority to confront these crises vigorously, effectively and immediately.
Source: 2017 Trump transition: A.G. Confirmation Hearings
, Jan 10, 2017
Overturning Heller means cities could and would ban guns
Q: After a mass shooting, the discussion quickly goes to guns.
SESSIONS: The Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear arms. If the Heller court were to be reversed what that would mean is that any city, county or state could completely
ban the use of firearms in America. It would be the greatest evisceration of the protections of the Second Amendment since the founding of the republic. It was 5-4 in the Supreme Court. Now that Scalia has passed away, the next president will appoint
the 5th vote. If Hillary Clinton is elected president, she will appoint a judge who will declare it not to be a personal right, but would say that it could be constricted by local governments. Imagine the cities in America that, if they had the power,
would immediately ban firearms. Washington DC had to have a federal court overrule their ban of all firearms in Washington. Heller is the only thing that protects us, it was 5-4 and it could flip 5-4 the other way if Clinton appoints the next justice.
Source: Fox News Sunday 2016: interviews for 2016 Veepstakes
, Jun 12, 2016
2nd Amendment is a specific provision, not a broad principle
SESSIONS: You stated that ours is a Constitution "that has all kinds of provisions in it, so there are some that are very specific provisions. But there are a range of other kinds of provisions in the Constitution of a much more general kind,
and those provisions were meant to be interpreted over time, to be applied to new situations and new factual contexts. Sometimes they laid down broad principles." Would you classify the Second Amendment as a "very specific provision" or a "broad
principle" in the Constitution?
SCOTUS nominee Elena KAGAN: I did not mean to suggest in my hearing testimony, that all constitutional provisions fall into one of two categories--"very specific provisions" or "broad principles." Rather, I meant that
different constitutional provisions contain language at different levels of generality, which present different interpretive issues. The issue in DC v. Heller was that the Second Amendment conferred an individual right to bear arms.
Source: ScotusBlog.com on Kagan confirmation hearing
, Jul 9, 2012
Voted NO on banning high-capacity magazines of over 10 bullets.
- The term 'large capacity ammunition feeding device' means a magazine or similar device that has an overall capacity of more than 10 rounds of ammunition
- It shall be unlawful for a person to import, sell, manufacture, or possess a large capacity ammunition feeding device.
- Shall not apply to the possession of any large capacity ammunition feeding device otherwise lawfully possessed before 2013.
- Shall not apply to qualified or retired law enforcement officers.
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.
Reference: Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act;
Bill S.Amdt. 714 to S. 649
; vote number 13-SV103
on Apr 17, 2013
Voted YES 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 YES 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
Voted YES on prohibiting lawsuits against gun manufacturers.
A bill to prohibit civil liability actions from being brought or continued against manufacturers, distributors, dealers, or importers of firearms or ammunition for damages, injunctive or other relief resulting from the misuse of their products by others. Voting YES would:
Reference: Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act;
Bill S 397
; vote number 2005-219
on Jul 29, 2005
- Exempt lawsuits brought against individuals who knowingly transfer a firearm that will be used to commit a violent or drug-trafficking crime
- Exempt lawsuits against actions that result in death, physical injury or property damage due solely to a product defect
- Call for the dismissal of all qualified civil liability actions pending on the date of enactment by the court in which the action was brought
- Prohibit the manufacture, import, sale or delivery of armor piercing ammunition, and sets a minimum prison term of 15 years for violations
- Require all licensed importers, manufacturers and dealers who engage in the transfer of handguns to provide secure gun storage or safety devices
Voted NO on banning lawsuits against gun manufacturers for gun violence.
Vote to pass a bill that would block certain civil lawsuits against manufacturers, distributors, dealers and importers of firearms and ammunition, mainly those lawsuits aimed at making them liable for gun violence. In this bill, trade groups would also be protected The bill would call for the dismissal of pending lawsuits against the gun industry. The exception would be lawsuits regarding a defect in a weapon or ammunition. It also would provide a 10-year reauthorization of the assault weapons ban which is set to expire in September 2004. The bill would increase the penalties for gun-related violent or drug trafficking crimes which have not resulted in death, to a minimum of 15 years imprisonment. The bill calls for criminal background checks on all firearm transactions at gun shows where at least 75 guns are sold. Exemptions would be made available for dealers selling guns from their homes as well as members-only gun swaps and meets carried out by nonprofit hunting clubs.
Reference: Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act;
; vote number 2004-30
on Mar 2, 2004
Voted NO on background checks at gun shows.
Require background checks on all firearm sales at gun shows.
Status: Amdt Agreed to Y)50; N)50; VP decided YES
Reference: Lautenberg Amdt #362;
Bill S. 254
; vote number 1999-134
on May 20, 1999
Voted YES on more penalties for gun & drug violations.
The Hatch amdt would increase mandatory penalties for the illegal transfer or use of firearms, fund additional drug case prosecutors, and require background check on purchasers at gun shows. [A YES vote supports stricter penalties].
Status: Amdt Agreed to Y)48; N)47; NV)5
Reference: Hatch Amendment #344;
Bill S. 254
; vote number 1999-118
on May 14, 1999
Voted YES on loosening license & background checks at gun shows.
Vote to table or kill a motion to require that all gun sales at gun shows be completed by federally licensed gun dealers. Also requires background checks to be completed on buyers and requires gun show promoters to register with the Treasury.
; vote number 1999-111
on May 11, 1999
Voted YES on maintaining current law: guns sold without trigger locks.
Vote to table [kill] an amendment to make it unlawful for gun dealers to sell handguns without providing trigger locks. Violation of the law would result in civil penalties, such as suspension or revocation of the dealer's license, or a fine.
Bill S 2260
; vote number 1998-216
on Jul 21, 1998
Rated A+ by the NRA, indicating a pro-gun rights voting record.
Sessions scores A+ by NRA on pro-gun rights policies
While widely recognized today as a major political force and as America's foremost defender of Second Amendment rights, the National Rifle Association (NRA) has, since its inception, been the premier firearms education organization in the world. But our successes would not be possible without the tireless efforts and countless hours of service our nearly three million members have given to champion Second Amendment rights and support NRA programs.
The following ratings are based on lifetime voting records on gun issues and the results of a questionaire sent to all Congressional candidates; the NRA assigned a letter grade (with A+ being the highest and F being the lowest).
Source: NRA website 02n-NRA on Dec 31, 2003
Oppose the United Nations' Arms Trade Treaty.
Sessions signed Letter to Pres. Obama from 50 Senators
Dear President Obama:
We write to express our concern and regret at your decision to sign the United Nations' Arms Trade Treaty. For the following reasons, we cannot give our advice and consent to this treaty:
We urge you to notify the treaty depository that the US does not intend to ratify the Arms Trade Treaty, and is therefore not bound by its obligations. As members of the Senate, we pledge to oppose the ratification of this treaty, and we give notice that we do not regard the US as bound to uphold its object and purpose.
Source: Letter to Obama from 50 Senators 13-UNATT on Sep 25, 2013
- The treaty violates a 2009 red line laid down by your own administration: "the rule of consensus decision-making." In April 2013, after the treaty failed to achieve consensus, it was adopted by majority vote in the UN General Assembly.
- The treaty allows amendments by a 3/4 majority vote. When amended, it will become a source of political and legal pressure on the US to comply in practice with amendments it was unwilling to accept.
- The treaty includes only a weak, non-binding reference to the lawful ownership and use of firearms, and recognizes none of these activities, much less individual self-defense, as fundamental individual rights. It encourages governments to collect the identities of individual end users of imported firearms at the national level,
which would constitute the core of a national gun registry
- The State Department has acknowledged that the treaty is "ambiguous." By becoming party to the treaty, the US would therefore be accepting commitments that are inherently unclear.
- The criteria at the heart of the treaty are vague and easily politicized. They will steadily subject the US to the influence of internationally-defined norms, a process that would impinge on our national sovereignty.
- The treaty criteria as established could hinder the US in fulfilling its strategic, legal, and moral commitments to provide arms to key allies such as Taiwan and Israel.
Ban gun registration & trigger lock law in Washington DC.
Sessions co-sponsored banning gun registration & trigger lock law in Washington DC
- Nothing in any provision of law shall authorize the Mayor, or any governmental authority of the District of Columbia, to prohibit possessing firearms by a person who is allowed to possess firearms under federal law.
- Denies the District any authority to enact laws or regulations that discourage or eliminate the private ownership or use of firearms.
- Repeals the ban on semiautomatic weapons.
- Repeals the District's registration requirement for possession of firearms.
- Repeals the trigger lock law.
- Maintains the current ban on the possession and control of a sawed-off shotgun, machine gun, or short-barreled rifle.
- Eliminates criminal penalties for possessing an unregistered firearm.
- Specifies exceptions to the prohibition against carrying concealed weapons in the District.
Source: D.C. Personal Protection Act (H.R.1399/S.1001) 2007-S1001 on Mar 27, 2007
Page last updated: Feb 28, 2019