The White House at Work

Monday, July 21, 1997
Gun Interdiction Initiative


"Make no mistake: Gun traffickers are behind the surge in deadly youth violence. We have learned how they operate. Now we intend to shut them down."

-- President Clinton, Radio Address

During his weekly Radio Address, the President highlighted the results of the Youth Crime Gun Interdiction Initiative. Last July, the President launched a national initiative in 17 cities to trace the guns used in cimres to find out where thes guns are coming from and how they are getting into the hands of violent youth. With this information, law enforcement is able to target illegal gun traffickers for prosecution, particularly those who put guns into the hands of our nation's young people. This initiative has told us for the first time where juveniles are getting guns, how they get them, and what kinds of guns they are using.

The Results: We now know that nearly half of those guns recovered from crime scenes or criminals are being trafficked to our kids in a variety of ways and shortly after they were legally purchased. And we have been able to learn that many violent teenagers are buying guns in bulk from shadowy suppliers - a criminal network that includes some corrupt licensed dealers and large-scale traffickers. The Clinton Administration and local law enforcement are now cracking down on those suppliers.

Expanding on Success: Because of the success of the program, the President is expanding it to ten more cities, including Philadelphia and Los Angeles. The Clinton Administration will work with Congress to hire more ATF agents to work with local police officers and prosecutors to nail traffickers based on the new leads we are generating every day.

The Combination of Kids, Gangs & Guns is the #1 Crime Problem Today

While crime is down, juvenile crime remains an important problem.

Homicides with Guns is Fueling Our Juvenile Crime Problem. Since the mid-1980's, the number of gun-homicides perpetrated by juveniles has quadrupled, while the number of juvenile homicides involving all other weapons combined has remained virtually constant.

President Clinton's Fight Against Juvenile Crime: Part of the Solution

We Know What Works. Some local communities are finding solutions to the their juvenile crime problem. For example, Boston has implemented an innovative strategy to attack the juvenile gun problem by tracing guns so that they can crack down on illegal gun suppliers, adding prosecutors to go after gangs, and creating positive alternatives for kids. These ideas are showing real results -- there has not been a single juvenile gun homicide in Boston in over two years. The President's comprehensive juvenile crime plan incorporates these effective strategies:

The President's Anti-Gang and Youth Violence Strategy toughens penalties on those who sell guns to kids and deters crime by keeping schools open after hours to keep children off the streets and out of trouble. It also bars violent juvenile offenders from buying guns as adults and requires child safety locks be sold with every gun to keep children from hurting themselves or each other.

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