October 15, 1999: Initiatives to Prevent Youth Violence


"We have called on every sector of our society to get involved in the search for solutions to youth violence and hate. If all Americans recognize their moral obligation to speak up, to reach out, to send out positive messages, we can change the culture of violence in America."

President Bill Clinton
Friday, October 15, 1999

Today, at the White House, President Clinton announced two initiatives aimed at preventing youth violence: a new anti-violence public service advertising campaign on NBC, and the creation of a White House Council on Youth Violence to ensure that the federal government's efforts in this area are effective and well-coordinated The President demanded that Congress pass common-sense gun control measures, noting that six months has passed since the tragedy in Littleton, Colorado, and that the American people should not have to wait another day for such protections.

Using the Power of Television to Help Prevent Youth Violence. President Clinton announced that on Monday, October 18, NBC will begin airing public service announcements that focus on the connection between youth violence and intolerance. The PSA's, which will be seen by millions of viewers every day, will send a message to parents and youth about the importance of resolving conflicts without resorting to violence, and about the harmful outcome of prejudice and hatred. NBC is joined in this effort by national organizations including the Anti-Defamation League, the National Urban League, the National Council of La Raza, the Human Rights Campaign, and the Leadership Conference Education Fund. The campaign includes an Internet site and 1-800 numbers to link the public to more information and tools to combat youth violence.

In August, the President announced the formation of a non-profit, non-partisan National Campaign Against Youth Violence. Today, the President highlighted the Campaign's initial work to help communities across the nation stop youth violence, including:

Directing the Federal Government to Do its Part. President Clinton announced that he is issuing an executive memorandum to create a White House Council on Youth Violence. The Council will work to coordinate programs throughout the federal government that address issues of youth violence, and to make these programs more accessible and effective. Members of the Council will include the Attorney General and the Secretaries of Health and Human Services, Education, and Labor. In addition, the Office of the Vice President and the Office of Management and Budget will be frequent participants.

Urging Congress to Enact Common-Sense Gun Laws. The President demanded that Congress meet its responsibility to help reduce violence and improve public safety by passing common-sense gun legislation. The President reiterated his call to Congress to pass a balanced, bipartisan juvenile crime bill that includes the Senate-passed gun measures that would close the gun show loophole; require child safety locks for handguns; bar the importation of large-capacity ammunition clips; and ban violent juveniles from owning guns for life. The President noted that, six months after the tragedy in Littleton, Colorado, these life-saving measures are long overdue.

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