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June 17, 1999

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White House at Work


“Now is the time for those of us in government to act by strengthening the Brady Law. Congress has a chance to do that this week. Once again, the gun lobby is resisting with all its might. Once again, we're battling not just for the safety of our families, but for the soundness of our democracy.”

President Bill Clinton
June 15, 1999

Two months ago, after the tragic shootings in Littleton, Colorado, President Clinton took action and proposed common-sense gun measures to keep guns out of the hands of children and criminals. Last month, the Senate adopted a number of these measures. Now under consideration by the House of Representatives, this legislation is threatened by new loopholes called for by the gun lobby. President Clinton urges Congress to side with our children instead of the gun lobby and pass these common-sense measures.

TAKING ACTION AFTER TRAGEDY. After the Littleton school tragedy two months ago, President Clinton addressed the issue of violence with a comprehensive strategy which includes common-sense measures to keep guns out of the hands of children and criminals. Last month, the Senate passed a number of these measures, including:

  • requiring Brady background checks at all gun shows;
  • requiring child safety locks be provided with every handgun sold;
  • a total ban on the importation of large capacity ammunition magazines;
  • stiffer penalties for gun traffickers;
  • increased resources for federal firearms prosecutions; and
  • improving law enforcement's ability to trace crime guns to their source.

COMMON-SENSE GUN LAWS UNDER ATTACK BY THE NRA. The measures proposed by the President and passed by the Senate are now under consideration by the House of Representatives. Members of Congress are under pressure from the gun lobby to water down gun legislation with new loopholes, such as:

  • redefining the term “gun show” so that background checks would not be required at flea markets and other venues where hundreds of guns are bought and sold;
  • reducing the amount of time law enforcement has to complete background checks at gun shows;
  • undermining law enforcement's ability to trace all guns sold at gun shows that are later used in crimes; and
  • amending the law to allow federal gun dealers to ship guns to unlicensed buyers across state lines.

URGING CONGRESS TO DO THE RIGHT THING. President Clinton continues to urge Congress to do the right thing and pass reasonable, effective gun legislation that will:

  • close the gun show loophole once and for all;
  • raise the age of handgun ownership from 18 to 21; and
  • adopt the same common-sense measures already passed by the Senate.

As President Clinton stated this week: “Last month, the Senate passed these measures, thanks to a tie-breaking vote by Vice President Gore, and despite efforts by the gun lobby to shoot new loopholes in the Brady Law. The Senate did the right thing, and the House should follow suit.”

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