Chuck Grassley: Obama Gun Argument Turns Constitution 'On Its Head'

Iowa Republican says Constitution is meant to curb government, not people.
9:40 | 01/30/13

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Transcript for Chuck Grassley: Obama Gun Argument Turns Constitution 'On Its Head'
What happened at -- -- our nation. We will never forget where we were how we reacted. When we learned that twentieth very young children -- six adults were killed that day. Or we forgot about that specific instance you don't forget about all the tragedies that have happened recently. As a grandfather and great grandfather -- cannot imagine how anyone would permit. An evil act like that. And I cannot ever begin to know what it would be like QB a relative of one of those slain children. We pray for the families who continue to mourn the loss of loved ones. We pay for. Pray for all victims of violence and guns. Buy guns and otherwise. Clearly violent crimes and those who commit them are -- plague on our society. One that has been whether it's for -- -- all. We've looked at these issues before. But I welcome this renewed discussion. I think the need -- -- judiciary committee to hold hearings after new town. Is very clear. All over America. People were appalled by what happened to those vulnerable and -- victims. And we all want exam sensible. Actions that could reduce the likelihood. Of future crimes. And we've extended a special welcome to former congresswoman. -- She was doing what a conscientious representative. Should do what -- hope all of us do. Taking the pulse of constituents. To represent them -- congress. She was representing the people over congressional district when a gunman opened fire the shooting was a horrible tragedy. But her determination to overcome -- injures progress through rehabilitation. And continue contribution to society are an inspiration. Or we should be administration all of us. I thank her for being here today and where their husband captain Kelly. Although Newtown and Tucson are terrible tragedies. The deaths in new town should not be used to put forward every gun control major. That's been floating around for years because the problem is greater. Than just guns alone and I think the chairman's speech indicates that as well. Any serious discussion of the causes of gun violence must include. A complex. Reexamination of mental health as a relates to -- Shootings. Society of as a whole has changed as well and that's statements made it's difficult -- of major but I think you see a lack of civility. In American society is grown considerably. In the last couple. Decades. You see it here on the in the congress -- well when we are partisan and don't treat each other with the respect that we ought to. There too many video games that celebrate the mass killing of innocent people. Games that despite attempts -- industry self regulation find their way into the hands of children. An example one video being released November 2009. Which is sold over 22 million copies in the US and you -- UK. Was for foreign distribution. Because the opening level depicted shooting innocent civilians. In an airport security line. This game was specifically cited in -- manifests all of them Norway mass shooter as quote. Part of my training simulation. And called for carrying out his attacks. Where is -- artistic value of shooting innocent victims. I share -- president Biden's disbelief. Of manufacture denial that these games have no effect. -- real world violence. Above all we should not -- to them. Pass legislation that will not reduce mass killings banning guns based on their appearance. Does not make sense the 1994. Assault weapon ban did not stop column -- the Justice Department found the banned in effect -- Scholars have indicated their refining -- expanding such legislation. Will not cut gun violence. I also question the limitation on magazine capacities. Those can -- Reprimanded by carrying multiple guns as many killers of -- We hear that no one needs to carry larger magazines and those. That hundred Jews to shoot -- but an attacking criminal on like a deer shoots back. I do not think that we may be able. I do think that we may be able to work together to prevent straw purchasers. From tracking trafficking in -- You oversight work that I conducted on illegal fat operation -- -- shows that there are some gaps. In this area of law that should be closed. Besides legislative proposals -- presently. President recently took 23 executive actions on guns and without knowing what -- exactly how their worded. -- we don't can't find fault with them. And probably should not find fault with a lot of his actions. Despite this administration's claim to be the most transparent in history the text of these actions it's still not posted on the White House web site. Only very brief statements about what they do. But all of those executive actions could have been issued for years ago or after the Tucson shooting or after or -- Why only now. One order directs a Center for Disease Control -- research causes of gun violence. Contrary to what you may have heard congress is never prohibited CDC from researching gun violence rather congress prevented federal research to quote. Advocate or promote gun control what some government researchers have been doing under the guise of taxpayer support science. Had congress actually prohibited gun violence reserves the president could not legally have directed CDC to conduct that -- sort. I was taken aback when the president cited the declaration of independence and the constitution -- sources of government power to restrict gun ownership rights. The constitution in fact creates a limited federal government. It's separate its powers among branches of the federal government and preserve state power against federal power. The framers believed that these structures would -- -- we control the government so as to protect individual liberty. But the American people disagree. They feared that the constitution gave the federal government so much power that it could be tyrannical and violate individual rights sold a bill -- rights was added. Each of those rights including the Second Amendment was adopted to further limit government power and protect individual rights. President Obama's remarks turned -- constitution on his head. He said quote the right to worship freely and safely that Wright was -- -- Sikhs and Oak Creek Wisconsin quote the right to assemble peacefully. That Wright was denied -- and -- months -- again and moviegoers in a roar power -- That most fundamental set -- rights to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness are fundamental rights. There were denied to college students at Virginia Tech and high school students a column -- An elementary school students and Newtown. And -- quote. But this is not -- what separates probation on slavery the constitution limits only actions of government not individuals. So for instance a right to peacefully assemble protects individual rights organized to protest and seek to change government action. That right is trivialize -- -- characterized as protecting. Shopping and watching movies. And those constitutional rights are not the sorts of government power to enact legislation as the president suggested. In fact just the opposite. They were included in the -- writes because throughout history governments have wanted to shut up. Those who was criticized government to suppress -- popular. Religions or to disarm people -- the president citing constitutional protections of individual rights is a bases. For expanding federal power over the lives of private individuals. This is -- same president who exceeded its power under the constitution to -- recess appointments. -- no wonder millions of Americans fear that the president. Might take executive action. And congress may -- Legislation that could lead to tyrannical federal government. So I cannot accept the president's claim that quote. There will be politicians and special anchors lobbyist publicly. Warning of tyrannical all out assault on liberty not because it that's true but because they want to gin up fear and the -- This necessarily understand Italy leads many citizens to fear that their individual rights will be violated. And that extend well beyond the Second Amendment it should be a matter of deep concern call us the constitution for 225 years this is established. A government that is a servant of the people not the -- so mister chairman as we consider and debate legislation arising from these tragedies. I hope that we will proceed with proper understanding of the relationship that the constitution established in between government power and individual liberty. And I hope we will pass those bills that would actually be effective in reducing gun violence there were welcome the witnesses and look forward to this area thank you very much.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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