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Fact Sheet from Top Cops Event

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October 9, 1997

Today in a Rose Garden ceremony, President Clinton will honor 18 "TopCops" -- outstanding law enforcement officials designated as such by theNational Organization of Police Organizations (NAPO) -- for their heroismand exemplary service. He will recognize the vital role that lawenforcement officers play in safeguarding our communities. At this event,President Clinton will announce two initiatives strongly supported by lawenforcement:
  1. Child Safety Devices. Embracing the President's proposal, eight majorgun manufacturers announced that they would provide child safety deviceswith every handgun sold; and
  2. College Scholarships. Building on legislation he signed one year ago,for the children of slain federal law enforcement officers, the Presidentannounced his support for a bill -- strongly supported by the NationalAssociation of Police Organizations (NAPO) -- to make college scholarshipsavailable to the children of slain state and local public safety officers.

The Need for Child Safety Devices. A recent study by the JusticeDepartment estimates that over one-third of all privately owned handguns--22 million--are kept loaded and unlocked in our country. Other studiesestimate that easy access to these weapons results in 1,500 children (ages14 and under) being treated in hospital emergency rooms every year forunintentional firearms-related injuries. Child safety devices are aninexpensive and effective solution to this problem.

President Clinton: Leading by Example. By including child safety devicesin his Anti-Gang and Youth Violence Strategy, the President initiated anational debate on this issue and created a large market for child safetydevices.. He proposed legislation to require federal gun dealers toprovide these safety devices with every gun sold, and he directed allfederal agencies to provide them with all handguns issued to federal lawenforcement officers. By October15th, all federal law enforcement officers will have been issued childsafety devices.

Firearms Industry: Following the President's Lead. Eight major gunmanufacturers --Glock, Beretta, Taurus, H&R, Heckler & Koch, Smith andWesson, Mossberg & Sons, and SigArms, announced that they would providechild safety devices with all of their handguns.

Honoring Law Enforcement. Last year, President Clinton signedlegislation to provide college scholarships of up to $4,848 per year forthe children of slain federal law enforcement officers. Today, thePresident announced his support for a proposal to expand this benefit toinclude the children of state and local public safety officers who arekilled in the line of duty.

President Clinton and America's Police:
Building Stronger, Safer Communities TOGETHER

Lowest number of law enforcement officerskilled in the line of duty in over 35 years. In 1996, 117 federal, stateand local law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty, adramatic 30% decline since 1995. This is the fewest police officerfatalities since 1960.

Crime rates have dropped for five straightyears. Before President Clinton took office, violent crime was increasingin America. The President's dropped five years in a row. In fact, thenumber of murders fell an historic 9% in 1996, while violent crimedecreased 6%.

A Record of Accomplishment:
Putting 100,000 new communitypolice on our streets. President Clinton promised to put 100,000 newcommunity police officers on the street to protect our communities,increasing our nation,s police force by nearly 20 percent. Since passageof the President's 1994 anti-crime bill, 64,000 of these officer s havebeen funded.

Protecting law enforcement from deadly assault weapons. Because criminals should never outgun law enforcement officers, thePresident,s 1994 anti-crime bill banned 19 of the deadliest cop-killingassault weapons. The President banned guns like the Uzi, which are theweapons of choice for drug dealers and gangs.

Preventing criminals from buying handguns. In 1993, the Presidentsigned the Brady Bill. Since its passage, 250,000 stalkers, fugitives andfelons have safer streets for our officers and families.

Giving thepolice the tools they need to fight crime. President Clinton hasstrengthened efforts to clamp down on illicit gun markets, by implementingthe Youth Crime Gun Interdiction Initiative in selected cities across thecountry. Through this initiative, law enforcement will trace all gunsused in crime that are seized by Federal, State, and local law enforcementofficers, and work with that trace information to help identify illegalgun traffickers. By analyzing patterns of gun trafficking that exist inan area, our police officers can more effectively target illegal guntraffickers for prosecution, particularly those who put guns into thehands of our nation's young people.

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