Proclamation: National Day of Concern About Young People and Gun Violence, 2000 (10/20/00)
                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary
                          (Aboard Air Force One)

For Immediate Release                            October 20, 2000

                          AND GUN VIOLENCE, 2000

                               - - - - - - -


                              A PROCLAMATION

     Every day in America, approximately 10 children are shot and killed.
Children 15 years old and younger are murdered with fire--arms at a higher
rate in this country than in 25 other indus-trialized countries combined.
These tragedies are an urgent reminder that we must not waver in our
national commit-ment to reduce gun violence and to make our society safer
for our children.

     We are beginning to see some progress in our efforts.  Since 1992, the
national violent crime rate has dropped by more than 20 percent; violent
crimes committed with firearms have dropped by 35 percent; and the firearms
homicide rate has fallen over 40 percent.  We have achieved much of this
progress by embracing a collaborative, community-based approach to gun
crime prevention and reduction.

     Gun violence issues differ in each community, and no single program or
approach works everywhere.  In response to a directive I issued last year
to help reduce gun violence and save lives, United States Attorneys and the
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms Field Division Directors for each
of our Nation?s 94 Federal judicial districts have developed locally
coordinated gun violence reduction strategies.  Working closely with local
law enforcement, elected officials, and other community leaders, they are
tailoring plans to local needs and developing strategies to prevent gun
crimes from occurring and crack down on gun criminals.

      A major goal of our strategy to reduce gun violence and ensure the
safety of our children is to keep guns out of the wrong hands.  We passed
the Brady Act to help accomplish this
goal by requiring that every person who purchases a firearm from a
federally licensed dealer submit to a background check.  To date, Brady
background checks have prevented more than 536,000 felons and other
prohibited individuals from acquiring firearms.  We also succeeded in
banning assault weapons, making "zero tolerance" for guns in schools the
law of the land, and passing legislation that prohibits juveniles from
possessing handguns.  However, our determination to reduce gun violence
must not stop there.  I have called on the Congress to build on these
measures by passing legislation that closes the gun show loophole, mandates
child safety locks with every handgun sold, and bans large-capacity
ammunition clips.

     We have also provided funding for more than 100,000 community police
officers; for the Safe Schools/Healthy Students initiative to reduce youth
violence through collabora-tive, community-based efforts; and for the 21st
Century Community Learning Centers -- safe places where students can go
after school to participate in constructive activities and avoid the
dangers of guns, gangs, and drugs.

     But none of these efforts can succeed without the commitment of
America?s youth.  It takes courage to resist negative peer pressure; it
takes character to settle disputes without resorting to violence; and it
takes a sense of personal responsibility to tell an adult when others fail
to live up to these standards.  On this National Day of Concern, I ask
every young American to sign a Student Pledge Against Gun Violence, which
contains a solemn oath never to bring a gun to school, never to use a gun
to settle a dispute, and to use their influence to keep others from using
guns.  By doing so, they will take an important, life-affirming step toward
a brighter and safer future.

     NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States
of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and
laws of the United States, do hereby
proclaim October 21, 2000, as a National Day of Concern About Young People
and Gun Violence.  On this day, I call upon young people in classrooms and
communities across the United States to voluntarily sign the Student Pledge
Against Gun Violence.  I also call upon all Americans to commit themselves
anew to helping our Nation?s young people reject violence and to make our
schools and neighborhoods safe places for learning and recreation.

     IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this
twentieth day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand, and of the
Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and

                                   WILLIAM J. CLINTON

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