PRESIDENT CLINTON AND VICE PRESIDENT GORE:
FIGHTING FOR MORE COPS AND FEWER GUNS
“We want more police on the street and fewer guns in the hands of criminals and children. They want more guns on the street and fewer cops. I think that's the wrong approach for America.”
President Bill Clinton
June 11, 1999
Today, in a satellite address to the U.S. Conference of Mayors, President Clinton expressed concern for Congressional legislation that threatens to undermine progress on the war against crime. The House version of the Senate-passed gun legislation creates new loopholes at the request of the gun lobby, and a Senate bill voted on yesterday zeros out the President's COPS community police program. The President urged Congressional Republicans to heed the call of the American people and put the interests of our children over those of the gun lobby.
Vowing to Defeat New Gun Loopholes. The President expressed his dismay at House Republicans for watering down the gun legislation passed by the Senate last month in an attempt to curry favor with the gun lobby. According to news reports, the NRA is claiming that the Republican bill gives them 90% of the loopholes they requested. The House version of the bill weakens the Senate-passed legislation in that it:
- redefines the term “gun show” so that background checks are not required in all cases where a large number of guns are sold, including flea markets;
- shortens the amount of time given to law enforcement officers to complete background checks;
- makes it more difficult for law enforcement to trace certain guns sold at gun shows which are later used in crimes;
- eliminates the requirement that sellers be notified of background check requirements;
- exempts certain gun sellers from verifying their identity to gun show promoters;
- allows federal gun dealers to ship guns directly to unlicensed buyers across state lines; and
- opens up the instant check system to fraud and abuse by requiring immediate destruction of records.
The President vowed to work hard to defeat the passage of these new loopholes into law.
Fighting for More Cops on Our Streets. The President expressed his opposition to yesterday's Senate vote to zero out his COPS Initiative. COPS, a successful program to put more police officers on the streets, has been instrumental in helping communities to cut crime nationwide. Local officials and community residents have praised the COPS program for helping to bring down crime and make their communities safer. Last month, the President announced funding for 100,000 officers for our nation's streets, and the President's balanced budget provides nearly $1.3 billion to continue the COPS program to put even more officers on our streets and give them the tools they need to make our streets safe.
Building on Our Success with the Right Strategy. The President criticized Congress for cutting funds for more police while adding new loopholes to our gun laws. He urged Congress instead to build on our success in the fight against crime by funding more police and working to keep guns out of the hands of children and criminals.