Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release February 4, 2000


President Clinton today, joined by Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, will release a new report from the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) that provides the most comprehensive overview ever of the firearms industry. The President will also announce landmark regulatory actions that ATF will take to bolster enforcement efforts, and focus on problem dealers, in order to prevent the diversion of firearms from into the hands of criminals. One of the report's key findings is that 1.2 percent of gun dealers account for 57 percent of the total number of crime gun traces. With this evidence in hand, the President will announce several executive actions to help crack down on problem dealers and halt illegal firearms trafficking.

GROUNDBREAKING REPORT ON FIREARMS INDUSTRY. Today, the President will announce the first annual report on Commerce in Firearms in the United States. The report provides never-before released data on the gun industry and ATF's enforcement of the nation's firearms laws. Some of the report's key findings include:

TAKING EXECUTIVE ACTION TO HALT ILLEGAL GUN TRAFFICKING. As part of his strategy to reduce gun violence, the President today will announce new enforcement actions that the ATF will take to focus on problem gun dealers in order to prevent guns from entering into the illegal firearms market. While the vast majority of gun dealers are law-abiding businesspeople who recognize the importance of helping law enforcement identify gun criminals, today's report shows the need to focus resources on the relatively small number of dealers and pawnbrokers who are the source of most of the traced crime guns. With these new actions, ATF will target enforcement and inspection resources on those dealers who have high numbers of crime gun traces, whose guns quickly turn up in crimes after sale, and who have a poor record of cooperation with law enforcement. These actions include:

FIGHTING FOR PASSAGE OF COMMON SENSE GUN LEGISLATION AND THE MOST AGGRESSIVE FIREARMS ENFORCEMENT INITIATIVE IN HISTORY. The President today will also highlight additional proposals to keep guns out of the wrong hands. In his State of the Union Address, President Clinton called for state-based licensing for all handgun purchasers to ensure that all buyers are eligible to possess a firearm and know how to safely handle and store their gun. In addition, the President has proposed an unprecedented $280 million gun enforcement initiative to hire 500 new ATF agents and inspectors, over 1,000 new federal, state and local gun prosecutors, and fund comprehensive crime gun tracing and increased ballistics testing to catch and prosecute more gun criminals. The President's budget also includes $10 million to support research in "smart gun" technologies that can limit a gun's use to its authorized owner. Finally, the President will emphasize again that it is long past time for Congress to pass common-sense gun measures to close the gun show loophole, ban the importation of large capacity ammunition clips, and require child safety locks.

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