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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

December 21, 2017 Press Release
Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) delivered a letter to Ranking Member Jerold Nadler (D-NY), the newly-elected Ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, to be prepared to call the Committee back to Washington for immediate investigation and possible impeachment proceedings if the President fires Special Counsel Robert Mueller over the Christmas recess. The letter congratulates Rep. Nadler on his new position and expresses Rep. Gutiérrez’s concern that the President may use the absence of the Congress in Washington over the holidays to obstruct justice in matters related to Mueller’s investigation into Trump family, Trump campaign, and Trump White House ties to Russian meddling in U.S. elections. In his letter, Rep. Gutiérrez writes: "Before we leave for Christmas, I want to be very clear that as the Ranking Member, you should be prepared to call the Committee back to Washington if and when this President attempts to undermine Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation by removing the Special Counsel from his post during this holiday season. Every Democrat on the Judiciary Committee should be ready to launch an immediate investigation into obstruction of justice if the President takes this action over the holidays and be prepared to fight to impeach him."
December 13, 2017 Press Release
Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) used his question and answer period during today’s House Judiciary Committee oversight hearing with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to ask about sexual assault allegations against the President of the United States. The Congressman said: "I believe these women. In fact, I would say without hesitation whenever it is a case of his word against her word, I generally give her word a lot more weight.” He continued: "And when the ‘him’ in question is Donald Trump, there really should be no further discussion because, as everybody regardless of their political affiliations or partisanship can clearly see, we have a man in the presidency who has a very difficult relationship with the truth. In this case we have women who were made to feel powerless and insignificant, who at great personal cost and risk, have come forward. And I believe them. I do."
November 15, 2017 Press Release
Today, Rep Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) participated in a press conference at which articles of impeachment against Donald Trump were introduced in the House of Representatives. The articles of impeachment were authored by Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) and Rep. Gutiérrez has joined as an original co-sponsor along with Rep. Al Green (D-TX) and Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY) who also spoke at the press conference, and Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH) and Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY).
November 14, 2017 Press Release
Rep Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) will be among those questioning Attorney General Jeff Sessions at an oversight hearing in the House Judiciary Committee this morning. The Congressman said he will demand that the Attorney General – for a change – tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth under oath. In previous testimony before the Senate, the Attorney General has denied meetings with Russian officials that in fact took place, denied participating in meetings about connections between Russia and the Trump campaign that in fact took place, and otherwise failed to answer questions truthfully and completely in both oral and written testimony under oath.
October 31, 2017 Press Release
(Washington, D.C.) - Congressmen Emanuel Cleaver, II and Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL) applaud the news today that one of the largest private prison systems in the United States has agreed to their request to support criminal justice reform efforts. Earlier this year, Congressman Cleaver (D-MO) and Congressmen Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) sent a letter to the CEO's of Core Civic and The Geo Group, INC urging the private prison CEO’s to back national criminal justice reform efforts. In the letter, which can be found here, to CEO Damon Hininger and CEO George Zoley, the Congressmen stated, "Your organizations have often publicly said that you do not support positions that lead to enhanced incarceration, but in supporting a President who is implementing policies designed to increase the populations of individuals in both criminal and immigration detention, you are advocating for policies that deprive people of their liberty in order for you to increase your profits," "We believe this is immoral and unjust,"... Today, Core Civic responded to the letter announcing a stepped-up effort to lobby for government programs and policies to keep former inmates from returning behind bars. Core Civic listed several steps to achieve this goal on their website. Among the concrete steps, the company said it will advocate for "ban the box" policies to keep employers from asking about a job applicant's criminal history until after an initial interview. "Ban the box" policies have been put in place for state workers in 29 states. Nine states have removed the conviction history question from private employer job applications, according to the National Employment Law Project. Of the 405,000 prisoners released in 30 states in 2005, 77 percent were re-arrested within five years, and more than half returned to prison, a federal study found. Roughly 70 million Americans have an arrest or a conviction record.
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.”