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July 15, 1999

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"For the past three months, the gun lobby has been calling the shots on Capitol Hill. Now its time for Congress to listen to the lobbyists who truly matter - our children. I ask, as the young people ask here today, don't forget Littleton; don't allow the victims at Columbine to have died in vain; don't forget the 13 children who die every day from gun violence. Many, many, many of them can be saved."
President Bill Clinton
July 15, 1999

Today, at the White House, President Clinton met with 90 high school students from Littleton, Colorado and the Denver area to discuss the importance of enacting common-sense gun legislation. The President insisted that Congress send to his desk for signature without further delay -- the reasonable gun measures already passed by the Senate.

Listening to Students on Gun Laws. President Clinton met with 90 high school students from the Denver area, including several from Columbine High School, to share their views on the importance of common-sense gun legislation. The students are in Washington, D.C. representing the Colorado group Sane Alternatives to the Firearms Epidemic (SAFE). SAFE Colorado is a bi-partisan political action group, formed in the aftermath of the Columbine tragedy, whose mission is to advocate reasonable gun regulations. After meeting with the President the students traveled to Capitol Hill to meet with Vice President Gore and to urge Congress to put politics aside and approve the Senate-passed bill which would close the gun-show loophole.

Urging Congress to Act Before the Next School Year. Last month, House leaders worked hand-in-hand with the gun lobby to weaken current gun laws instead of strengthening them, and eventually voting against the Senate-passed gun bill. Since then, House and Senate leaders have failed to name conferees to resolve issues surrounding the juvenile crime bill, allowing the gun lobby even more time to try to stop common-sense gun legislation from becoming law. After todays meeting, President Clinton urged Congress to listen to these students instead of the gun lobby -- and act to strengthen our gun laws before the start of the next school year. Specifically, the President is asking Congress to pass legislation that will:

  • close the gun show loophole by requiring Brady background checks for all sales at gun shows;
  • require federally licensed firearms dealers to provide a child safety lock with every handgun sold;
  • ban violent juveniles from owning guns as adults; and
  • ban the importation of all large capacity ammunition magazines.

Working to Keep Crime Down. Keeping guns out of the hands of criminals and children has been a key priority of the Clinton-Gore Administration. Since the President took office, gun-related crime has dropped by over 25 percent, due in part to the Presidents crime-fighting strategy, which includes:

  • blocking over 400,000 illegal gun sales with Brady background checks;
  • banning juvenile possession of handguns;
  • enforcing zero tolerance for guns in schools;
  • combating illegal gun trafficking by tracing more crime guns to their source; and
  • banning the 19 deadliest assault weapons and their copies.

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