October 9, 1997

Today in a Rose Garden ceremony, President Clinton will honor 18 "Top Cops" -- outstanding law enforcement officials designated as such by the National Organization of Police Organizations (NAPO) -- for their heroism and exemplary service. He will recognize the vital role that law enforcement officers play in safeguarding our communities. At this event, President Clinton will announce two initiatives strongly supported by law enforcement:
  1. Child Safety Devices. Embracing the President's proposal, eight major gun manufacturers announced that they would provide child safety devices with every handgun sold; and
  2. College Scholarships. Building on legislation he signed one year ago, for the children of slain federal law enforcement officers, the President announced his support for a bill -- strongly supported by the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO) -- to make college scholarships available to the children of slain state and local public safety officers.

The Need for Child Safety Devices. A recent study by the Justice Department estimates that over one-third of all privately owned handguns --22 million--are kept loaded and unlocked in our country. Other studies estimate that easy access to these weapons results in 1,500 children (ages 14 and under) being treated in hospital emergency rooms every year for unintentional firearms-related injuries. Child safety devices are an inexpensive and effective solution to this problem.

President Clinton: Leading by Example. By including child safety devices in his Anti-Gang and Youth Violence Strategy, the President initiated a national debate on this issue and created a large market for child safety devices.. He proposed legislation to require federal gun dealers to provide these safety devices with every gun sold, and he directed all federal agencies to provide them with all handguns issued to federal law enforcement officers. By October 15th, all federal law enforcement officers will have been issued child safety devices.

Firearms Industry: Following the President's Lead. Eight major gun manufacturers --Glock, Beretta, Taurus, H&R, Heckler & Koch, Smith and Wesson, Mossberg & Sons, and SigArms, announced that they would provide child safety devices with all of their handguns.

Honoring Law Enforcement. Last year, President Clinton signed legislation to provide college scholarships of up to $4,848 per year for the children of slain federal law enforcement officers. Today, the President announced his support for a proposal to expand this benefit to include the children of state and local public safety officers who are killed in the line of duty.

President Clinton and America's Police:
Building Stronger, Safer Communities TOGETHER

Lowest number of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty in over 35 years. In 1996, 117 federal, state and local law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty, a dramatic 30% decline since 1995. This is the fewest police officer fatalities since 1960.

Crime rates have dropped for five straight years. Before President Clinton took office, violent crime was increasing in America. The President's dropped five years in a row. In fact, the number of murders fell an historic 9% in 1996, while violent crime decreased 6%.

A Record of Accomplishment:
Putting 100,000 new community police on our streets. President Clinton promised to put 100,000 new community police officers on the street to protect our communities, increasing our nation,s police force by nearly 20 percent. Since passage of the President's 1994 anti-crime bill, 64,000 of these officer s have been funded.

Protecting law enforcement from deadly assault weapons. Because criminals should never outgun law enforcement officers, the President,s 1994 anti-crime bill banned 19 of the deadliest cop-killing assault weapons. The President banned guns like the Uzi, which are the weapons of choice for drug dealers and gangs.

Preventing criminals from buying handguns. In 1993, the President signed the Brady Bill. Since its passage, 250,000 stalkers, fugitives and felons have safer streets for our officers and families.

Giving the police the tools they need to fight crime. President Clinton has strengthened efforts to clamp down on illicit gun markets, by implementing the Youth Crime Gun Interdiction Initiative in selected cities across the country. Through this initiative, law enforcement will trace all guns used in crime that are seized by Federal, State, and local law enforcement officers, and work with that trace information to help identify illegal gun traffickers. By analyzing patterns of gun trafficking that exist in an area, our police officers can more effectively target illegal gun traffickers for prosecution, particularly those who put guns into the hands of our nation's young people.

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