THE WHITE HOUSE AT WORK
Friday, February 4, 2000
PRESIDENT CLINTON AND VICE PRESIDENT GORE:
CRACKING DOWN ON ILLEGAL GUN TRAFFICKING
"When 12 children are dying every day in America because of gun violence, we can't wait for congressional action. That's why I'm taking the actions that I have announced today. Working together, we've brought crime down for seven straight years. We can keep going until America is the safest big country in the world."
President Bill Clinton
Friday, February 4, 2000
Today, at the White House, President Clinton, joined by Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, released a new report from the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms offering the most comprehensive overview ever of the firearms industry. The President announced landmark regulatory actions that ATF will take to bolster enforcement efforts and focus on problem dealers to prevent firearms from getting into the hands of criminals. The President also announced executive actions to help crack down on problem dealers and halt illegal firearms trafficking.
GROUNDBREAKING REPORT ON THE FIREARMS INDUSTRY. The President announced the release of 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:
- One percent of gun dealers account for 57 percent of crime gun traces;
- Handguns are the weapons of choice for gun criminals, and account for nearly half of all new gun sales - about 2 million per year; and
- In 1999, a total of 1,639 gun manufacturers, 81,325 retail gun dealers and pawnbrokers and other members of the gun industry sold over 4.5 million firearms in the United States.
TAKING EXECUTIVE ACTION TO HALT ILLEGAL GUN TRAFFICKING. The President announced new ATF enforcement actions to prevent guns from entering the illegal firearms market, including:
- Conduct focused inspections of the 1,000 gun dealers who had 10 or more crime guns traced to them;
- Require the 450 current dealers with 10 or more crime guns traced to them with a "time-to-crime" of less than three years from the original sale to provide ATF with information on all used guns offered for sale;
- Take strong enforcement action against dealers found to be violating the law;
- Work closely with law-abiding gun dealers to develop new procedures to prevent illegal trafficking;
- Conduct focused inspections of the 50 dealers with the worst response records to gun trace requests, and issue demand letters requiring them to regularly submit all firearms acquisition and disposition records;
- Focus on stolen firearms by proposing a new rule requiring all federal firearms licensees to conduct regular inventories and report discrepancies to ATF; and
- Help the industry increase accountability by providing to manufacturers a list of firearms they sold that were traced as crime guns during the previous year.
WORKING TO REDUCE GUN CRIME. The President highlighted additional proposals to keep guns out of the wrong hands, including:
- 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;
- An unprecedented $280 million gun enforcement initiative to hire 500 new ATF agents and inspectors, hire 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;
- $10 million in the President's budget to support research in "smart gun" technologies that can limit a gun's use to its authorized owner; and
- Urging Congress to pass common-sense gun legislation that closes the gun show loophole, bans the importation of large capacity ammunition clips, and requires child safety locks with every handgun sold.
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