Sen. Leahy's Second Round of Questioning at Judge Sotomayor Confirmation Hearing

CQ Transcriptions
Thursday, July 16, 2009 12:20 PM

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LEAHY: Senator Coburn, the Republican side has asked for a third round of those who want to have another 10 minutes, and so you will have a chance for more questions if you wish, because I'm trying to be fair to both sides, and I'll allow that.

Before we go to Senator Franken, though, and -- and while you're still here, Senator Coburn, I had reserved about 10 minutes of my time, just used a minute or so of it.

You spoke about the Second Amendment, which is a significant issue. And it is one people care about. You spoke about gun owners out west and your life in both Wyoming and in Oklahoma.

I look at that, of course, because both Wyoming and Oklahoma have more restrictive gun laws than my own state of Vermont. I could say that virtually every state has more restrictive gun laws than we do in Vermont.

I've been a gun owner since my early teens. I have -- I target shoot at my home in Vermont as a way of relaxation all the time, own numerous weapons, handguns and long guns.

I have not heard anything or read anything in the judge's writings or speeches that would indicate to me that in any way I have to worry that Vermont gun owners -- and many Vermonters are gun owners, it's just a way of life -- that that's going to change.

It's not going to change for me. It's not going to change for weapons my two sons, one a former Marine, own. And I will still be -- if Judge Sotomayor is on the Supreme Court, I expect I'll still be back at my home, and you're welcome any time you'd like to come, and go target shooting -- and go target shooting with me there.

SESSIONS: Mr. Chairman, I would just say briefly that -- but it is a real pivotal time we are in, because if the decision by Judge Sotomayor becomes law, any city -- maybe not Vermont -- but any city or state in America could virtually, I believe, fully ban all firearms, and that's just the way we are, and you may -- we can discuss how much precedent had to bound you to reach that conclusion.

But this is not a little bitty issue. It's very important right now.

LEAHY: But states made laws that they've gone along. Vermont has decided not to have the restrictive laws that you have in Alabama, and -- but states have made up their mind.

Senator Franken?

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