« AnteriorContinuar »
dences within the last week where snipers without reason, perhaps without intent, but maliciously, mowed down in one case two 5-yearold children in a Bronx playground, and a 19-year-old youth on a Staten Island street, a street incidentally which I walk virutally every week of the year.
These articles are graphic evidence of Senator Dodd's statement that* * * success in this legislative endeavor stems from the condtions itself, so incendiary, so chaotic, so idiotic, that its continuation challenges the sense and even the sanity of our society and our lawmakers.
Mr. Chairman, at this point I wish to call to the committee's attention some tabulated data which I have attached as exhibit A, which indicates usage of firearms in homicides in 1963.
Exhibit B indicates homicides throughout the country in selected cities and the incidences of murder and nonnegligent manslaughter by gun and region. I know that the previous witnesses, particularly the Attorney General, Nicholas deB. Katzenbach, Under Secretary of the Treasury, Joseph W. Barr, and Sheldon S. Cohen, Commissioner of Internal Revenue, have all stated in evidence what these bills will do. However, to clarify my testimony I will reiterate them.
1. Prohibit mail-order sales of firearms to individuals by limiting firearms shipments in interstate and foreign commerce to shipments between importers, manufacturers, and dealers.
2. Prohibit sales by federally licensed importers, manufacturers, and dealers, of all types of firearms to persons under 21 years of age, except that sales of sporting rifles and shotguns could continue to be made to persons over 18 years of age.
3. Prohibit a Federal licensee from selling a firearm, other than a rifle or shotgun, to any person who is not a resident or businessman of the State in which the licensee's place of business is located.
4. Curb the flow into the United States of surplus military weapons and other firearms not suitable for sporting purposes.
5. Bring under Federal control interstate shipment and disposition of large caliber weapons such as bazookas and antitank guns, and destructive devices such as grenades, bombs, missiles and rockets.
6. Increase license fees, registration fees, and occupational taxes under the Federal and National Firearms Acts.
7. Provide other Federal controls designed to make it feasible for States to control more effectively traffic in firearms within their borders under their police power,
Since the introduction of the legislation and commencement of hearings, both in the Senate and before this committee, Senator Dodd has agreed to certain amendments to this legislation and I concur with the proposed amendments offered by the Attorney General, the Under Secretary of the Treasury and the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, which are:
1. An introductory statement of findings and declaration.
2. Revision of the definition of "destructive devices" to exclude antique firearms and bona fide big-game guns, and incidentally, to also exclude obsolete Army ordnance authorized by law to be distributed to patriotic organizations and public institutions,
3. Revision of the application of the definition of "firearm” to exclude bona fide artiques and replicas thereof from the operation of the act.
4. Removal of all ammunition, except ammunitions for destructive :!evices, from the operation of the act.
5. Modification of dealer's license fees, with particular consideration given to those for dealers who trade only in rifles and shotguns.
6. Specific provision for hearing procedures in the issuance of regulations, similar to those provided under the Federal Alcohol Administration Act.
There are also two other proposed amendments designed to modify the National Firearms Act bill by removing restrictions to persons doing business with the Government and for antique, big game, and other types of weapons. These proposals, in which I also concur, are:
1. Make it clear that the definition of "destructive device" does not include bona fide big-game guns, antique firearms, and obsolete ordnance authorized by law to be distributed to patriotic organizations and public institutions.
2. Provide for exemption, from provisions of the act, of persons who transact business only with (or on behalf of) the United States.
The specific language of these amendments to both the Federal Firearms Act and the National Firearms Act have been presented and forwarded to this committee for their consideration.
I must note here, however, that opponents of the bill, many of whom have never read the legislation but who have leveled the most vicious criticisms at Senator Dodd and myself, and other proponents of a solution to crime and the contribution that firearms make to crime in the United States, have gone so far as to quote the second amendment to the Constitution as a weapon against enactment of this legislation. To set the record straight I want to quote that amendment:
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
And this was elaborated on by Commissioner Cohen in his testimony when he said this:
Not only do those who assert that the second amendment confers the right on the individual to keep and bear arms quote the language of the Constitution out of context, but they also ignore the judicial decisions which have construed the second amendment. The courts have held that, as it applies to Federal firearms legislation, the second amendment was not adopted with individual rights in mind, but rather as a prohibition upon Federal action which would interfere with the organization by the States of their militia.
I also understand the Attorney General has included a memorandum of opinion dealing with the constitutionality of this legislation as it relates to the second amendment for the record.
It is the opinion of the Treasury Department as well as the Attorney General that there is no unconstitutional impediment in the second amendment to enactment of these bills.
Mr. Chairman, I have spent virtually all of my adult life handling firearms. I served on active duty in the U.S. Army in two wars and in combat. I personally trained thousands of American young men from all sections of this country in the use of firearms. I have been a hunter. I have been a sportsman. I continue to pursue hunting and skeet shooting every month. I have a farm and I was brought up on a farm for a portion of my life and I have done many of the things that the opponents of this bill do, and I think in all fairness to the legislation I can state that there is nothing that I want to do to re
strict a sportsman, a hunter, and a legitimate marksman from pursuing his sport.
However, in society in the United States as we live today, particularly in our urban areas and in our big cities, we do have a problem with these firearms and I think just in the last 6 days these two instances to which I referred are graphic examples of instances not only in my city, but in cities throughout the country.
I can state unequivocably in conclusion that this legislation is not designed to, and will not, affect the sportsman, the hunter, or the marksman--that it absolutely does not require registration of firearms—that neither Senator Dodd nor myself has any interest or intention of jeopardizing or interfering with the freedom of lawabiding citizens to own firearms for legitimate purposes.
The legislation is designed primarily and specifically as a deterrent and a weapon against the felon, the hoodlum, the irresponsible juvenile and those whose statistics have given concrete evidence that this legislation is not only desirable, but absolutely necessary.
The CHAIRMAN. Again, Mr. Murphy, we thank you for coming to the committee and without objection the material you referred to which is appended to your statement will appear at this point in the record.
(The information referred to follows:)
[From the Staten Island Advance, Staten Island, N.Y., July 20, 1963)
Court REFUSES BAIL FOR SLAYING SUSPECT-YOUTH'S MOTHER COLLAPSES
(By Leonard Novarro and Mark Wiesner) Russell Walton, accused sniper slayer of 19-year-old Peter Gordzelewski of Port Richmond, was held without bail yesterday by Criminal Court Judge Edward D. Caiazzo.
Caiazzo, in terse language, ended the wrangle about bail between Walton's attorney, Jerome V. Giovinazzo, and Assistant District Attorney Jerome V. Neuberger.
"A life has been taken," Caiazzo said. "No bail.”
The attorney for the quiet, soft-spoken hospital porter who looks even younger than his 20 years bad argued :
“This was no design to effect death. There was absolutely no deliberation or premeditation involved."
Neuberger countered : “He (Walton) did fire the gun and we have to protect the community. A boy is gone and his family is suffering."
Giovinazzo added that the accused was one of nine children and that Walton's mother was holding down two jobs to keep the family going.
The judge's ruling also ended the quiet that had enveloped the courtroom at 67 Targee Street, Stapleton. Following his words, there was a cry of anguish from the rear of the room.
Walton's mother, Mrs. Jean Walton, 39, of 193 York Avenue, New Brighton, had collapsed.
A group of spectators and policemen rushed over and carried the stricken woman outside.
Minutes later a police emergency unit arrived. They administered oxygen to the semiconscious woman.
Mrs. Walton was removed to Staten Island Hospital for further treatment. She was later released.
The suspect's mother brought her son in late Sunday after she had been told he was being sought for the murder of young Gordzelewski, a McKee High School student who lived at 63 New Street.
Walton was jailed on the homicide charge in what was termed a "senseless" slaying a few hours later.
Allegedly, Walton fired three shots while standing near a car parked in front of 21 Brook Street, Tompkinsville, one of which fatally wounded Gordzelewski as the victim and a friend strolled along nearby Westervelt Avenue early Sunday.
Walton, police say, was returning from a party in Brooklyn to the Brook Street address, where he lives with his wife, Edna, and a 3-month-old son, when he pulled a .22-caliber rifle from the car's trunk.
Allegedly, he told two men who were with him: "You're going to see some shooting.'
Detectives Thomas Crumblin and Daniel Hurley, who remained on duty more than 30 hours to break the case, yesterday praised the public for giving them full cooperation in the investigation.
“We couldn't have gotten anyplace without the public's help. They called in with leads, tips, and descriptions," Hurley said.
A hearing on the homicide charge was slated for tomorrow upon the request of the defense counsel, but the prosecution yesterday expressed doubt that such a hearing in the lower court will come about.
A hearing cannot take place without ballistics and medical examiner's reports and these will take at least a week to be completed. By that time, the prosecution expects to present the case to a grand jury.
Walton is married to the daughter of the Reverend Arthur Hall, pastor of the Reformed Church of God and Christ, New Brighton.
“The family has beseiged by phone calls and threats, and people come to look at the mother's house, even though he (Russell Walton) doesn't live there," said Giovinazzo. “We want to clear the air and clear the name of the family," he explained in asking for the speedy hearing.
[From the New York Times, July 27, 1965)
SNIPERS' BULLETS WOUND CHILDREN-BROTHER AND SISTER ARE SHOT IN
WEBSTER AVENUE PLAY SITE
Two young children-a brother and sister-were struck by bullets from a sniper's gun yesterday afternoon as they played in a Bronx playground a few feet from where their mother was sitting. The girl was injured seriously, the boy slightly.
Just before 5 o'clock, Carlos Valentine, 5 years old, and his sister, Angie, a year older, were playing near a concrete climbing form at the Daniel Webster Houses, a city project.
Suddenly, the police reported, a sharp crack was heard, and the little boy fell down screaming. An instant later his sister was hit.
The children's mother, Mrs. Carmen Valentine, picked up her daughter and ran to her apartme
second floor of the building just behind the playground, which faces Webster Avenue, between 168th and 169th Streets. The boy ran along clutching his mother's dress.
The first policeman on the scene, Patrolman Salvatore Lobreglio, said that when he got there mothers were dragging children off the street and into their homes. “The mothers were hysterical,” he said.
The patrolman and his partner, Richard Iskowitz, both attached to the 42d Precinct, went to the Valentine apartment.
"One child was bleeding from the head and the other one from the chest," Patrolman Lobreglio said. "The mother was saying they've been hit with something, maybe a rock. We didn't know they were shot.
“Just then two window washers came by and said 'hey, officers somebody just shot at us.'” The window washers showed a slug that they had dug out of a wall. “Right away we made the connection,” the patrolman said.
The children were taken to Morisania Hospital, where the little girl is in a serious, but not critical condition. The boy's wound was described as superficial.
TWO TEENAGERS SOUGHT The police are looking for two teenaged boys, who had been seen with a rifle on the roofs of the old apartment houses on the west side of Webster Avenue, across the street from the project houses and the playground.
It is from the roofs of these buildings that the police surmise the shots were fired. There were five shots, apparently all fired from a .22-caliber rifle. It is believed that the bullets traveled 100 yards.
Acting Chief of Detectives Frederick M. Lussen reported soon after the shooting that “we have a pretty good idea of what these two boys look like."
Within 2 hours after the shots were heard children were back in the plaç. ground, shouting and chasing each other. They were kept away from the far end, where the police had cordoned off a small area of concrete stained with blood.
DATA ON FIREARMS USED IN HOMICIDES—1963
1. 8,500 homicides in 1963 :
(1) 70 percent by handgun.
(3) 10 percent by ritle.
(a) 31 percent within family unit.
(1l) 5 percent no specific motive determined. 3. In killings outside of the family (51 percent) the vast majority were the
result of impulsive rage involving a wide range of altercations, such as
arguments over a cigarette, ice cream, noise, etc. 4. Geographic breakdown of homicides by firearms:
(a) Cities-53 percent.
(c) Rural-68 percent.
(a) Northeast-37 percent.
(d) Southern-65 percent. 6. When assaults by type of weapon are examined, a gun proves to be seren
times more deadly than all other weapons combined. 7. Analysis of homicides by firearm : (a) Over 60 percent within family unit category (31 percent total of all
(1) Lovers quarrels—66 percent.
(4) Revenge-76 percent.
ber of sex killings in which a gun was used in only 16 percent of the
(a) 1960–63 : 168 police officers killed in the line of duty.
Handguns such as revolvers and automatic pistols were used in 131