Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release February 16, 2000

February 16, 2000

At his press conference today, President Clinton will announce that the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will release the first-ever comprehensive analysis of gun-related violence at public housing. The report shows that, consistent with national crime trends, crime has decreased in public housing since 1993 -- sometimes at a greater rate than in surrounding communities. Despite reductions in crime and gun violence, people who receive housing assistance remain twice as likely to be victims of gun violence. Nearly one person is killed each day by gunfire in the nation's largest 100 public housing communities. To help address this problem, the President will call upon Congress to pass stronger gun laws this year, and to enact both his $280 million national gun enforcement initiative and HUD's $30 million gun violence reduction initiative.

THE MOST COMPREHENSIVE ANALYSIS OF GUN VIOLENCE IN PUBLIC HOUSING EVER RELEASED. More than 2.6 million residents live in public and assisted housing, including one million children and 360,000 elderly residents. Today's report, "In the Crossfire: The Impact of Gun Violence on Public Housing Communities," examines the scope and magnitude of gun-related violence in public housing, as well as the costs associated with gun violence -- both the financial costs of administering effective security measures, and the social costs borne by residents. Based on newly available data from both HUD and the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics, the report's key findings include:

WORKING TO REDUCE GUN VIOLENCE IN PUBLIC HOUSING. To address the problem of gun violence, both criminal and accidental, in our nation's public housing and communities, the President's FY 2001 budget includes a $30 million Community Gun Safety and Violence Reduction Initiative. This HUD initiative will fund: 1) improved local crime analysis, such as crime mapping that uses Geographic Information Systems technology, to enable local responses targeted to at-risk areas; 2) education and outreach initiatives using a variety of media to educate the public and housing residents of the risks posed by firearms; and 3) innovative performance-based local crime reduction and prevention strategies.

FIGHTING FOR PASSAGE OF COMMON SENSE GUN LEGISLATION AND THE MOST AGGRESSIVE FIREARMS ENFORCEMENT INITIATIVE IN HISTORY. The President will highlight additional proposals to keep guns out of the wrong hands, including the Administration's proposal to create a state-based licensing system for all handgun purchasers to ensure that all buyers have passed a background check and know how to safely handle and store their gun. In addition, the President will emphasize 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 for handguns. And finally, the President will urge enactment of his 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.

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