"I hope that the United States Congress is paying attention to this event today, because every child in America deserves the protection you have given Maryland's children, and only Congress can provide that. Every single day Congress waits, we lose 12 children, nearly 90 people overall, to gun violence."
President Bill Clinton
Tuesday, April 11, 2000
Today, in Annapolis, Maryland, President Clinton joined Governor Parris Glendening at the signing of state legislation that requires built-in child safety locks on handguns, ballistics testing for newly manufactured handguns to help solve more gun crimes, and safety training for gun purchasers. The President highlighted the growing number of states that are enacting laws to prevent gun violence, and urged Congress to follow their lead by passing national gun safety legislation that has been stalled for over nine months.
Highlighting State Progress Toward Common-Sense Gun Laws. With today's legislation, Maryland becomes the first state to require built-in child safety locks on handguns. Maryland joins a growing number of states that are making guns safer and keeping guns out of the wrong hands. For example:
- Massachusetts has new regulations banning junk guns and requiring that all handguns sold include child-proofing features, tamper-proof serial numbers, and consumer safety warnings;
- Colorado and Oregon are considering a ballot initiative to close the gun show loophole and require background checks on all sales at gun shows;
- California enacted laws last year that ban the sale of "junk guns," require that all guns be sold with child safety locks, and limit handgun purchases to 1 per person per month;
- Connecticut requires gun purchasers to complete a safety training course and a permit to purchase a handgun, and dealers to offer trigger locks for sale at the time of purchase;
- Florida places a 3-day waiting period for the purchase of handguns, and allows counties to require background checks and waiting periods for gun show sales.
In addition to state efforts, 68 cities and local governments across the country are taking steps to support manufacturers that adopt safe gun and dealer responsibility standards.
Underscoring the Need for Strong National Gun Safety Laws. While states are making important progress to reduce gun violence, national gun safety legislation is still needed. A patchwork of inconsistent state gun laws allows criminals to obtain guns by exploiting loopholes in states with weaker laws to commit crimes in states with stronger laws. That is why the President again called on Congress to pass common-sense gun legislation requiring background checks at gun shows, mandating child safety locks for handguns, banning the importation of large-capacity ammunition clips, and barring violent juveniles from owning guns for life. Last year, the Senate - with Vice President Gore's critical tie-breaking vote - passed strong gun safety measures which would close the gun show loophole. However, the Republican leadership has stalled this life-saving legislation for over 9 months, despite bipartisan House and Senate votes in favor of taking prompt action to move forward on it.