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member of the National Rifle Association of America introduced legislation in 1958 to try to stop this tide of junk.
We believe that S. 1592 would violate the interstate commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution because it would seriously curtail free trade between the people of the various States. We believe it would seriously curtail our rights to keep and bear arms under the second amendment because in our State, as in most States, the militia consists of every able-bodied man between the ages of 18 and 15.
For these reasons we plead with you not to pass S. 1592, and request that your subcommittee hold hearings in communities throughout the Nation before any action is taken.
ADDITIONAL STATEMENT BY SENATOR Paul J. FANNIN Mr. Chairman, the purpose of this testimony is to respond to recent statements before the subcommittee by Attorney General Katzenbach and the chairman which attempted to make some correlation between crime statistcs in my hometown of Phoenix and the pending firearms control bill, S. 1592.
It is my hope to put this situation in proper perspective for two reasons: (1) to further inform the subcommittee on some aspects of S. 1592, and (2) to put before you a true and accurate picture of the crime situation in Phoenix in comparison with other metropolitan areas.
I have lived in Phoenix all my life and, as the chairman is aware, have recently completed serving three terms as Governor of Arizona, of which Phoenix is the capital and largest city. To put it mildly, I was surprised to hear the Attorney General of the United States single out Phoenix for special attention as a problem crime city.
I know of no city in the Nation where it is safer for a woman to walk down the street at night. The implication of Mr. Katzenbach's testimony and subsequent remarks by the chairman is that Phoenix would benefit from enactment of S. 1592—a conclusion which I submit cannot be substantiated from the incomplete and misleading figures cited.
I know the subcommittee is interested in facts. And since I was puzzled by the figures cited for Phoenix, I felt compelled to check them at the source. For this purpose, Mr. Chairman, I went to the Phoenix Police Department which is headed by Chief Paul Blubaum, a young professional career officer of outstanding ability. On the basis of the information he has provided, I must emphasize that Phoenix does not deserve the notoriety attributed to it. Here are the facts:
First, let me refer to the figure cited by the Attorney General and repeated in these hearings, to the effect that 65.9 percent of the homicides in Phoenix last year were committed with firearms. This figure simply cannot be substantiated.
Chief Blubaum had both his records and the FBI reports in his office checked thoroughly and could find no such figure. However, he did provide the exact figures on homicides. They disclose for 1964 a total of 41 homicides, 25 with firearms. This is 60.9 percent--not 65.9 percent.
However, Mr. Chairman, even the correct figure by itself has little meaning. For example: three of the 25 homicides committed with firearms were held by the courts to be justifiable self-defense in connection with robberies or other attack. This reduces the percentage to 53.6. Furthermore, of the remaining 22 homicides, 4 others are virtually certain to be held to be self-defense, which would of course reduce the percentage even more.
Let me explain why this is so. One involves the death of a man beating his wife he was shot by her sister, another involves the death of a drunken husband beating his wife-he was shot by his stepson; another involves the death of a man attempting to attack a woman he was shot by her husband; and the fourth involves a man killed by an outraged husband.
I should mention, Mr. Chairman, that the Arizona constitution guarantees the right of the “individual citizen" to keep and bear arms for self-defense, and this always has been construed to include defense of his home and family.
Some brief additional facts about Phoenix will give the subcommittee a more complete understanding of the true crime situation there. Phoenix has been one of the fastest growing cities in the United States since World War II. In that time it has mushroomed from a city of less than 15 square miles to one of 245 square miles, and from less than 100,000 to more than 500,000 population. Its metropolitan area population of more than 750,000 is comparable to the city of Washington, D.C.
We are proud of our fine police force, but its strength is only 1.57 per 1.000 population. This compares to 4.14 in Washington, 4.19 in Boston, and 2.33 in Buffalo, another city of Phoenix's size. But that is still only part of the picture. In Phoenix each policeman must cover 1.6 square miles. By comparison, in Buffalo it is one-tenth of a square mile, and correspondingly less in cities like Washington.
Another important point, Mr. Chairman, is the fact that in the FBI report on homicides, Phoenix, and Maricopa County are lumped together with a total of 52. Nor does the report make any mention of how many were justifiable under Arizona lawma determination usually left by the law-enforcement officer to the magistrate courts. This is a rate of 6.4 per 100,000 population, compared to 6.7 for Chicago, 10.1 for Dallas, 5.2 for New York City, etc. Keep in mind also that Maricopa County is an area larger than some Eastern States.
Now, Mr. Chairman, I want to make a point which I hope the subcommittee will consider in its deliberations on S. 1592. The regulations embodied in S. 1592 would take away some individual freedoms of the citizen. We must weigh the deprivation of individual freedom against the benefits to society in any piece of regulatory legislation. In this regard, the chairman is aware that New York City has long had the most restrictive firearms laws in the United States; they are so restrictive that the records disclose relatively few licensed firearins exist in that city. By contrast, Phoenix has no such laws. And yet the difference in homicides—even with all of Maricopa County, including many transient farm labor camps counted as part of the city of Phoenix-is only about 1 for each 100,000 population.
And if you use the true homicide total for Phoenix of 41, less those 3 already held justifiable, the comparison would be even more favorable.
Mr. Chairman, I do not presume to know all of the facts concerning homicides in New York City, nor do I claim knowledge of those facts for other cities. But I do suggest that the facts I have presented should convince you and the subcommittee that the figures cited by Mr. Katzenbach were in error and did not reflect a true and honest picture of the crime situation in Phoenix.
Until this year the reporting of Phoenix crime statistics on an overall basis made the city appear to be one of the worst in the Nation, for the simple reason that we have a law making the theft of a bicycle, or even an automobile hubcap, a felony. It is also a felony in Arizona, for example, to steal a dime from a pay telephone.
We have enacted these laws under the police powers reserved to the States to deal with local problems. I am sure many other States have similar laws. I mention them, Mr. Chairman, to indicate how questionable it is to enact broad Federal laws dealing with all persons either charged with or convicted of a felony, such as the Federal Firearms Act.
In checking the source of guns used in Phoenix homicides, it was found that 18 were purchased locally, 3 were borrowed. 14 had been in possession many years. and 7 were stolen. Three were rifles, five were shotguns, and the remainder were pistols. Of the pistols, 17 were cheap foreign imports, 10 were pot metal 22 caliber, 3 were war surplus, and 4 were medium-price imports.
Chief Blubaum's expressed belief that control of these cheap foreign imports by the Federal Government is called for-a belief I also expressed in my previous testiinony-would appear to be justified. Furthermore, it has been pointed out this control could be achieved without any new legislation.
Finally, Mr. Chairman, the subcommittee might also be interested in the Phoenix figures on aggravated assault. Out of a total of 1,381 over nearls is months, only 17.81 percent involved the use of firearms. More than 22 percent involved a knife and a like percentage involved other weapons, while 37.13 percent involved the use of the hands.
Mr. Chairman, the figures I have presented required only a brief study of the Phoenix Police Department records. With this in mind, perhaps this subeunt mittee should study the conditions in other cities of our Nation in order to more accurately assess the need for a law such as S. 1592, which would impose limita. tions upon the freedom of 50 million gun-owning Americans who are honest la v. abiding citizens.
Senator Dopp. Senator Allott?
We are very pleased to have Senator Gordon Allott, of Colorado, a very distinguished Member of the U.S. Senate, a man of great, good judgment.
STATEMENT OF HON. GORDON ALLOTT, A U.S. SENATOR FROM THE
STATE OF COLORADO
Senator ALLOTT. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the opportunity to appear and be heard today on S. 1592, to amend the Federal Firearms Act. I would like, at the outset, to express my concern that this subject not be acted upon in an emotional manner, nor in haste, perhaps as the result of a shocking incident which still is fresh in all of our minds. For these reasons, particularly, I am pleased to be able to appear here and to note that this committee obviously intends to conduct full hearings and give this bill the deliberation which it merits.
Members of the committee certainly are familiar with President Johnson's message to the Congress expressing his concern about crime and its prevention. As a part of that message, the President called for regulations on interstate shipment of guns and declared the right of citizens to be secure on the streets, and in their homes and places of business.
I certainly agree with the broad outlines of that message and, as a matter of fact, I had joined you, Mr. Chairman, in sponsoring your bill, S. 14, which was designed to help the States cope with the problem of firearms shipped interstate in derogation of the laws of the individual States. As you know, I had studied that bill, I had recognized that a problem does exist, and I had concluded that your earlier bill was a reasonable and effective piece of legislation.
But it seems to me that there is a basic difference in philosophy lietween the bill which I was pleased to cosponsor, S. 14, and the bill which is before you today. I believe that the basic philosophy expressed in S. 1592 is that guns are somehow bad per se and must be heavily regulated. With this philosophy, I cannot agree. The word "guns" is not a four-letter, Anglo-Saxon word with dirty connotations, as some seem to think, and putting the epithet “mail order” with it still does not make it unclean.
It has been hammered home that Lee Harvey Oswald used a mailorder gun in committing his heinous crime. So far as I know, however, it has not been generally recognized that Lee Oswald could have walked into any one of several sporting goods stores in Dallas and purchased a rifle of the same quality across the counter and he would not have violated any law in doing so. That gun from a sporting goods store would have been surely just as deadly as the mail-order weapon he used. Further, Jack Ruby, I am informed, used a Smith & Wesson .38 for which he had a permit. Yet, little has been said about the deadliness of a weapon carried by an individual who has a license from the local police authorities to carry that weapon. The point I want to make is that neither firearms nor mail-order firearms by themselves are bad. It is for this reason that I have asked for due deliberation and, insofar as possible, objectivity in approaching this question.
Perhaps we of the West are more familiar with firearms and therefore fear them less, recognizing that it is the abuse of the weapon that is the real problem. There are legitimate uses and legitimate users and I strongly feel that we must not unduly hinder these legitimate uses in attempting to curb the abuses.
S. 1592 may, perhaps, accept as legitimate the sporting use of firearms. It seems to me, however, that the bill rejects self-defense as a legitimate use, but in rejecting this it rejects half of President Johnson's declaration.
An instance of the type of thing I had in mind occurred very close to home just last year. A young lady from Brighton, Colo., employed in my office, owns a handgun and knows how to use it. She was taught by her father and I can testify that she uses it well and properly. About a year ago she was awakened at 5 in the morning by a noise in her apartment. It subsequently turned out that there was a prowler there. The young lady lives alone and her only real means of protertion against lawless elements is the gun, which she brought with her from Colorado and keeps in her apartment here in Washington. With that gun she was able to subdue the housebreaker and hold him until the police arrived and could take charge. The man involved has pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing, but I have often wondered what I would have had to tell that girl's parents if she had not had the gun. We are all proud of Joyce Morgan in our office and I take pleasure in recognizing her courage today. This, gentlemen, is an example of a legitimate use of a weapon.
The Attorney General says this measure is— not intended to curtail the ownership of guns among those legally entitled to own them. It is not intended to deprive people of guns used either for sport or for self-preservation. It is not intended to force regulation on unwilling States * * *. The purpose of this measure is simple: it is, merely, to help the States protect themselves against the unchecked flood of mail-order weapons to residents whose purposes might not be responsible, or even lawful. S. 1592 would provide such assistance to the extent that the States and the people of the States want it.
That is certainly not the way I read the bill. The flat prohibition on the shipment of firearms in interstate commerce, coupled with the severe limitations placed on acquisition on handguns, particularly, seem to me a clear demonstration of an intent to make it difficult, if not impossible, for the ordinary citizen to acquire a pistol.
To be more specific, section 2(a) (2) would prohibit an individual from acquiring or disposing of a pistol or revolver while he was traveling in interstate or foreign commerce. Incidentally, this section would transform any violation of State law concerning the transportation of a handgun into a Federal offense. Let me give a specific example of what the prohibition on acquisition or disposition may mean. I own a handgun which I brought with me from Colorado. My legal residence, of course, is Colorado. Am I, while engaged in my duties as a U.S. Senator in Washington, D.C., traveling in interstate commerce? If I am, and if I decide to sell or in any manner dispose of my gun, presumably I cannot legally do it outside of Colorado. If this bill becomes law and I find the regulations promulgated by the Secretary of the Treasury burdensome, I nevertheless must find some way to get that gun back to Colorado before I can legally dispose of it.
Or, presume a person who does not own a handgun becomes disturbed enough by the crime statistics in Washington, D.C., that he decides to purchase a gun for the protection of himself and his family. After this bill becomes law, as I read the bill, he may not legally be able to acquire that gun here, but would have to return to his home State. purchase one, and then face the problem of legally transporting it
here, in accordance with the laws of each State through which he might pass to arrive here.
Another perfectly legitimate use of guns is target shooting, and meets are held all over the United States. Although I have not attended one in recent years, I know that it used to be quite usual for gun enthusiasts to trade not only long guns but handguns at these meeis. If a person attending such a meet has come in from outside that State, may he legally trade with another sportsman? Under the bill as it now stands, I think not. The prohibition is on "sale or other disposition thereof," and on acquisition, 2(a) (2) (A) and (B).
Presumably, guns may be shipped by common carrier intrastate under this bill. I would point out to the committee that there are many remote areas in my own State, and many other Western States, which are not serviced by common carrier. Handguns, of course, are nonmailable except to manufacturers and dealers. Add to this the prohibition in section 2(b) (3) against sales of handguns to nonresidents of the State where the dealer is located, and it seems obvious to me that we would make it as a practical matter very difficult for a rancher in eastern Colorado, or the extreme mountain area of Colorado, to acquire a pistol. There are areas in my State from which the residents customarily cross State lines and go into Nebraska or Kansas, W voming, Utah, or New Mexico to do their shopping. This law would be a real imposition on the good citizens of these areas, who have legitimate need for such guns.
The high cost of licenses proposed for dealers under S. 1592 is, of course, designed to, and I believe will, stamp out the carrying of guns and ammunition in stock by small stores. It will lead to further concentration of the industry in a few sources, and these sources would presumably be located in the metropolitan areas. This is simply one further facet of the hardship imposed on the people who live in rural areas, or small communities. I do not happen to know whether Walden, Colo., for example, now has a gun dealer in town, but I do know that the cost of a license proposed under S. 1592 is likely to make it economically infeasible for any store in Walden to purchase such a license, and people from that area will then have a long way to go to purchase even ammunition.
As you know, Mr. Chairman, antiques and unserviceable firearms are exceptions to the Federal Firearms Act. I do not know how many collectors of such firearms there may be in this country, but it is, I believe, a legitimate hobby. An exception is made in S. 1592 for such guns only in the provisions relating to importation. Obviously, S. 1592 is going to work a hardship on the collector, particularly if he wants to acquire as a part of his collection pistols or revolvers, even if those guns cannot possibly be fired. Apparently, the only route of acquisition open to him if he wants a gun presently owned by an individual in another State is to find a licensed dealer who will handle the transportation, thereby presumably adding to the cost of acquisition. Section 2(a) (4).
Another exception in the present law, which is dropped from S. 1592, is that for banks, public carriers, and armored car companies and although governmental agencies are excepted generally from the provisions of the bill, the "duly commissioned officer or agent” who is