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Urging Congress To Fully Fund His Gun Enforcement Initiative

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Wednesday, June 14, 2000


"I ask the Republican leadership to reverse the current course, to live up to the rhetoric, to fully fund the national gun enforcement initiative."

President Bill Clinton
Wednesday, June 14, 2000

Today, at the White House, President Clinton called on Congress to fully fund his FY 2001 Gun Enforcement Initiative to take dangerous gun offenders off our streets. The House Appropriations Committee will vote today on a bill that guts key components of the President's initiative. Last night, President Clinton sent a letter to Committee Chairman Bill Young, urging the Committee to provide full funding for his initiative – the largest budget ever proposed to strengthen enforcement of our nation's firearms laws.

House Bill Fails to Fund Key Investments in Gun Enforcement. The House Appropriations Committee will vote on a bill today that falls short by failing to include critical components of the President's Gun Enforcement Initiative, including:

  • $150 million to hire 1,000 additional state and local gun prosecutors to work with communities, law enforcement, and federal prosecutors on gun-related crimes to help put more dangerous gun criminals behind bars;
  • $10 million in Justice Department matching grants to support local media campaigns on gun violence and gun safety; and
  • $10 million for the expansion, testing, and replication of smart-gun technologies, which can limit a gun's use to its proper owner, thereby preventing accidental shooting deaths of children, deterring gun theft, and stopping criminals from seizing and using the guns of police officers against them.

President Clinton's Unprecedented Gun Enforcement Initiative. In addition to the proposals under consideration today, the President's Gun Enforcement Initiative includes other elements that will be considered by Congress in the coming weeks, including:

  • Hiring 500 new ATF agents and inspectors to crack down on violent gun criminals, and illegal gun traffickers and unscrupulous dealers that supply firearms to criminals and juveniles;
  • Implementing comprehensive crime gun tracing programs; and
  • Building the first-ever national ballistics testing network to help police catch more gun criminals.

Common-Sense Gun Measures Still Needed And Long Overdue. Despite the continuing occurrence of numerous gun-related tragedies across America, Congress has allowed common-sense gun safety legislation to languish for an entire year. The President is urging Congress to put the interests of American families above those of the gun lobby and pass legislation to:

  • Require background checks at gun shows;
  • Mandate child safety locks for handguns;
  • Ban the importation of large-capacity ammunition clips; and
  • Bar violent juveniles from owning guns for life.

A Record of Strong Gun Enforcement.Since 1992, as a result of the Clinton-Gore Administration's efforts to focus on tough prosecutions, deter and prevent gun crime, and enact strong new gun laws such as the Brady Act:

  • The number of federal firearms cases has increased 16 percent;
  • Overall gun prosecutions are up 22 percent;
  • Federal gun offenders are serving sentences that are about two years longer;
  • The number of serious gun offenders sent to federal prison for more than 5 years is up over 41 percent; and
  • Gun-related crime has dropped 35 percent.

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