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President Clinton: Commemorating and Strengthening the Brady Law

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President Clinton: Commemorating and Strengthening the Brady Law

Thursday, November 30, 2000

Today, joined by Jim and Sarah Brady, President Clinton will celebrate the 7th anniversary of the signing of the Brady Law by announcing new efforts to strengthen enforcement of this landmark legislation. The President will announce that since passage of the Brady Law, more than 611,000 felons, fugitives, and domestic abusers have been prevented from buying guns through background checks. To make enforcement of the Brady Law even more effective, the President will: 1) ask the Treasury and Justice Departments to develop a new system for notifying state and local law enforcement officials of felons and other prohibited persons who have tried to illegally buy guns in their communities: and 2) name 12 new cities that will take part in the Administration's Youth Crime Gun Interdiction Initiative (YCGII) to crack down on illegal gun trafficking by tracing all crime guns to their source. Finally, the President will announce the release of the 1999 national and city reports on YCGII which contain detailed findings on over 64,000 crime guns recovered by law enforcement in YCGII cities and submitted to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) for tracing.

STOPPING MORE THAN 611,000 FELONS, FUGITIVES, AND DOMESTIC ABUSERS FROM BUYING GUNS WITH BRADY. The President will announce that Brady Law background checks have stopped more than 611,000 prohibited persons from purchasing firearms since this historic legislation was signed into law on November 30, 1993. Of this total, the successful National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), which was launched in November 1998, has blocked nearly 300,000 illegal sales in only two years.

CALLING FOR A NATIONAL NOTIFICATION SYSTEM ON ILLEGAL ATTEMPTS TO PURCHASE FIREARMS. The President will ask the Attorney General and the Treasury Secretary to build on the success of NICS by using new technology to develop a national notification system that more effectively and efficiently provides information to state and local law enforcement about all persons who sought to illegally buy guns and were denied by NICS background checks. Currently, NICS provides immediate notice to state and local law enforcement of denied firearms sales to fugitives and persons under domestic violence restraining orders, and the ATF ensures that all denials are appropriately reviewed and investigated. Now that NICS has completed its second successful year of operation, technological progress can help take this success even further. At the President's request, the Department of Justice will work with the FBI and the Treasury Department to develop a system that provides more information more quickly to local law enforcement about denials of other categories of persons who are denied firearms sales through NICS background checks.

TRACING CRIME GUNS AND CRACKING DOWN ON GUN TRAFFICKERS. In July 1996, President Clinton issued a directive establishing the Youth Crime Gun Interdiction Initiative (YCGII) to focus resources on reducing youth gun violence. The initiative brings together federal, state, and local law enforcement officials to provide information about the illegal sources of guns recovered from juveniles and adult criminals and to strengthen enforcement of the nation's gun laws. Presently, 38 cities across the country are participating in the Administration's YCGII.

Expanding YCGII to 50 cities. Today, President Clinton will announce the planned expansion of YCGII to 12 new cities: Albuquerque, NM; Austin, TX; Baton Rouge, LA; Greensboro, Winston-Salem, and High Point, NC; Indianapolis, IN; Jacksonville, FL; Long Beach, Anaheim and Santa Ana, CA ; Nashville, TN; Newark, NJ; Oklahoma City, OK; Pittsburgh, PA; and Stockton, CA. ATF will work with local law enforcement in each of these cities to submit all crime guns seized for tracing and use the information to identify and locate illegal gun traffickers and other gun criminals.
Releasing the third annual report of YCGII. Today, the President will announce the release of the ATF 1999 Crime Gun Trace Reports including a national report on YCGII, as well as individual city reports for participating YCGII localities. The reports are available at www.atf.treas.gov. Among the key findings from the national report:

  • Youth and guns present a serious crime problem. About 43 percent of all crime guns were recovered from young people: 9 percent from juveniles age 17 and under, and 34 percent from youth age 18-24.
  • Handguns are the weapon of choice for juveniles and criminals. Handguns comprised 78 percent of all traced crime guns, with semiautomatic pistols accounting for 50 percent of all traced guns. Long guns (shotguns and rifles) accounted for 21 percent of traced crime guns.
  • Many crime guns are acquired in multiple sales. The acquisition of handguns in multiple sales can be an important trafficking indicator. Handguns sold in multiple sales reported to the ATF National Tracing Center accounted for 22 percent of all handguns sold and traced in 1999.
  • Newer guns play a large role in crime. Almost a third of all crime guns (32 percent) recovered in 1999 and more than 40 percent of those recovered from youth were purchased in 1996 or later. Newer guns manufactured in the U.S. from 1993-1999 accounted for more than half of all the crime guns traced in YCGII.
  • The most frequently traced guns are concentrated among a small number of makes and models. Ten firearms accounted for 24 percent (15,211) of all trace requests (64,337), while over 1,500 different firearms accounted for the remaining crime guns (49,426).
Using trace information to put gun traffickers out of business. During the first two quarters of FY 2000, ATF's 23 field divisions initiated 874 illegal firearms trafficking investigations involving 231 youth and juvenile firearms possessors, and 161 youth and juvenile firearms traffickers. ATF estimates that at least 14,600 firearms were trafficked as part of these 874 investigations. To date, nearly 40 percent of these investigations have been forwarded by ATF agents to federal, state and local prosecutors for prosecution.

CALLING FOR AN UNPRECEDENTED INCREASE FOR GUN ENFORCEMENT. The President will repeat his call on the Congress to finish its work and send him a final budget that contains his proposal to fund the largest national gun enforcement initiative in history. The President's historic initiative will fund an increase of 500 ATF agents and inspectors; the hiring of hundreds of federal, state and local gun prosecutors; expanded crime gun tracing including more funds for YCGII; more ballistics testing to solve more gun crimes; and research funding for "smart gun" technology.

URGING THE CONGRESS TO CLOSE THE DANGEROUS GUN SHOW LOOPHOLE. The President will challenge the Congress to follow the lead of states like Oregon and Colorado that recently passed ballot measures to close the gun show loophole that allows criminals to buy firearms at gun shows without a Brady background check and no questions asked. The President also will urge Congress to enact other common sense gun safety measures such as requiring safety locks for handguns, banning the importation of large capacity ammunition clips and barring violent juveniles from owning guns for life.


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