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Congressman Luis Gutierrez

Representing the 4th District of Illinois

Judiciary, Crime, and Guns

Standing up for the safety of our communities is something that I have been doing since my earliest days in the House of Representatives. On February 16, 1993, I stood in the well of the House of Representatives and said,

“I believe the threat and danger of semi-automatic assault weapons in this country are grossly understated.”

In the wake of national tragedies at Columbine High School, Sandy Hook Elementary and Aurora, Colorado, and many others, and the senseless killings that occur in the City of Chicago week after week – my words have sadly been proven only too true.

The very first legislation that I introduced in the House banned the domestic manufacturing and transfer of semi-automatic assault weapons. Shortly thereafter, I introduced legislation to prohibit the possession or transfer of Junk Guns, called Saturday Night Specials. I supported the Assault Weapons Ban when it passed in 1994 and stand ready to support efforts again in the 113th Congress to reinstate the ban in the wake of too many horrific acts of violence. I do not believe that having military-grade weapons like assault rifles or semi-automatic weapons with large magazines available to the general public makes our streets or communities safer. 

On Mar. 5, 2013, I reintroduced the Junk Gun Ban, H.R. 965. This legislation addresses cheap, poorly made handguns that are prone to misfire and malfunction and disproportionately used in crime. Most of the crimes committed on streets across the country are with handguns and this is a particularly dangerous subset of handguns that are manufactured in the U.S. but not subject to the same design and safety requirements that similar handguns must meet in order to be imported into the U.S.

As a member of the Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee, I look forward to working with my colleagues like Judiciary Ranking Member John Conyers and Crime Subcommittee Ranking Member Bobby Scott on legislation to prevent unconscionable mass shootings and gun violence.

More on Judiciary, Crime, and Guns

August 25, 2017 Press Release
Today, Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) released a statement reacting to the news that President Trump had pardoned convicted Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. “It isn’t easy to find a convicted, notorious racist, but Trump found him and pardoned him. Sheriff Arpaio chose to ignore the law and judgements by federal courts. He chose to use race and ethnicity as a pretext to deprive people of their rights. He shredded the Constitution and became a celebrity for Fox News, white supremacists and the President. “Nobody believed the President when he said he would be the ‘Law and Order’ President and he has proven us all right. Joe Arpaio should serve a very, very long time for his crimes, but in him, Trump finds a kindred spirit. Both men are not ashamed to use overt appeals to racism to glorify themselves and both are not ashamed of abusing public office if it enhances their personal brand. This is a sad chapter even by the standards of the tragic saga of Trump.”
August 24, 2017 Press Release
WASHINGTON—Fifty-three members of the United States House and Senate are calling out Attorney General Jeff Sessions for holding critical violence prevention funds used by American cities hostage to the Trump Administration’s extreme immigration agenda. The Department of Justice has placed new and onerous conditions on local law enforcement’s access to federal funding through the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne-JAG) program, forcing cities to choose between redirecting already scarce resources from local policing efforts to enforcing federal immigration laws. The lawmakers are demanding an explanation, including the statutory authority for the Department’s new conditions, which will hurt the ability of local governments to fight violent crime in their communities. “These conditions are an unwarranted, coercive effort to leverage communities’ longstanding reliance on Byrne-JAG funds in furtherance of the Trump Administration’s mass-deportation agenda. By forcing local law enforcement to choose between redirecting resources from policing efforts to immigration enforcement or else sacrificing violence prevention funds that the Justice Department itself has described as “critical” and “necessary,” these new Byrne-JAG conditions will undermine the ability of local law enforcement agencies to combat gun violence in communities like Chicago and Baltimore,” the lawmakers wrote.
June 28, 2017 Press Release
The Congressional Hispanic Caucus urges the House to oppose “No Sanctuary for Criminals Act” (H.R. 3003) and “Kate’s Law” (H.R. 3004). These two measures will undercut law enforcement’s ability to keep communities safe, undermine Constitutional protections, and criminalize immigrants.
June 21, 2017 Press Release
Today, Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) spoke on the House floor to take note of the hearing this morning in the House Judiciary Committee to pass Republican bills to slash refugee numbers and make it harder for asylum seekers to find safety in the U.S. This comes just one day after World Refugee Day, a day “to reflect upon those in crisis and dedicate ourselves to helping those we can help,” the Congressman said. Standing in front of a replica of the “Irish Need Not Apply” signs from the 19th century, Rep. Gutiérrez noted that the bills voted on in Committee today would have kept many of the Irish out. He said: "Roughly 32 million Americans trace their roots to Ireland, that’s about 10% of the U.S. population. And, let’s be clear, the British rulers over Ireland were not sending what they considered their best people. They were poor, they were uneducated, and U.S. politicians at the time said they were sending rapists and murderers and drunks – even if some, they assumed, were good people… But who can imagine America without the Irish today?"
June 13, 2017 Press Release
Today, Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) spoke on the House floor to reiterate his call for the Judiciary Committee to begin hearings or investigations into the Trump/Sessions/Russia matter. Former FBI Director James Comey’s Senate testimony last week clearly indicates this is no longer a matter just for the Intelligence Committee, the Congressman said. But so far, there has been no action in the Judiciary Committee, which Gutiérrez said is working to “protect the President at all costs; shielding the President from tough questions.” The Congressman also noted that Trump allies have called on the President to fire former FBI Director Robert Mueller who currently heads the Department of Justice investigation, an action that Gutiérrez said would put the President “on a fast track to impeachment.”
June 9, 2017 Press Release
In a letter this afternoon, Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) called on Judiciary Committee Chairman Robert Goodlatte (R-VA) to invite the President of the United States to testify before the Committee. Earlier today at a press conference, responding to a question related to fired FBI Director Comey’s testimony yesterday, President Trump offered to testify under oath. He said he was “100%” willing when he was asked if he would testify to investigators of Former FBI Director Robert Mueller’s investigation at the Department of Justice. But Rep. Gutiérrez, who, along with other Democrats on the Judiciary Committee, has been calling on the Chairman to get the Committee started on its own examination of the unfolding scandal and potential obstruction of justice, called on the Chairman to convene the Committee and give Members an opportunity “to receive the President’s testimony.”
June 7, 2017 Press Release
Today, Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) spoke on the House floor today urging the Judiciary Committee in the House to get to work on investigations related to President Trump's and Attorney General Sessions' ties to Russia and efforts to derail investigations that are taking place in other committees of the House, in the Senate, and by former FBI Director Mueller at the Dept. of Justice. The House Judiciary Committee plays a special role in matters that could lead to impeachment of a sitting President, but so far has been silent. The Congressman, who sits on the Judiciary Committee, said: “From the Committee of jurisdiction that is supposed to be in charge and taking action, we have exactly nothing. Not a peep. Not a hearing or a subpoena. Nada, zip, nothing. Just crickets.”
May 24, 2017 Press Release
Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) issued a statement reacting to Judiciary Committee passage of a bill the Democrats labeled the Trump Mass Deportation and Child Incarceration Act of 2017 (HR 2431). The bill, which recycles the worst and least effective deportation-only approaches of previous failed Republican bills like the SAFE Act and the Sensenbrenner Bill (HR 4437 of 2005-06), is designed to make House Republicans look tough and uncompromising in opposing immigration, but in reality would undermine the civil liberties of American citizens, undercut the rule of law, and undo improvements in immigration enforcement that have contributed to historically low levels of illegal immigration in recent years.
March 29, 2017 Press Release
Today, Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) spoke on the floor of the House about the words of President Trump and when it is acceptable under House Rules to repeat them. Yesterday in the Immigration Subcommittee, Rep. Gutiérrez was reprimanded by Chairman Rep. F James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) for saying that Donald Trump had said that Mexicans are criminals and rapists. But the President said those things and Rep. Gutiérrez was simply repeating the President’s words. So the Congressman from Illinois came to the floor to deliver a rather sarcastic speech about when it is and is not acceptable to repeat the words of the President in the House of Representatives.
March 27, 2017 Press Release
Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) Chairwoman Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, CHC Immigration Task Force Chair Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez, and 18 members of the CHC sent a letter calling on the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Appropriations Committee. The signers ask the Appropriation’s leaders to reject the President’s proposed FY2017 supplemental budget request for an additional $3 billion to implement his executive orders on border security and interior immigration enforcement.