Statement By The President

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release Tuesday, November 30, 1999


Today, on the sixth anniversary of the historic Brady Law, I am pleased to announce new figures that demonstrate the profound impact this legislation has had on public safety. Data released today by the Department of Justice show that the Brady Law, since its passage in 1993, has helped block over 470,000 sales by licensed gun dealers to felons, fugitives, stalkers and others prohibited from purchasing firearms. In the last year alone, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System created under the Brady Law has blocked sales to over 160,000 of these restricted buyers.

These numbers, of course, are not just numbers. They represent lives saved, injuries avoided, tragedies averted. They are a measure of what we can do to reduce gun violence -- and a measure of what still needs to be done.

In addition to our success with the Brady Law, this Administration has taken important actions to crack down on the illegal market that supplies juveniles and criminals with firearms. Today, Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers will launch the newest tool to fight illegal gun dealing -- "Online LEAD," a new technology to help law enforcement across the country use crime gun tracing data to catch more illegal gun traffickers more quickly.

As a result of these efforts, and those of communities across the country, violent gun crime is down by over 35 percent since 1992 and the murder rate is at its lowest level in over three decades. But while we are more effective than ever before at keeping guns out of the wrong hands, our work is by no means finished. Over 32,000 Americans still lose their lives in gunfire every year, including 12 children every day. That is why I pledge to make passage of common sense gun legislation my top public safety priority next year. And I challenge Congress to make a New Year’s resolution to do the same.

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