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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release July 8, 1996

July 8, 1996



Subject: Implementation of the Youth Crime Gun Interdiction Initiative

Firearms violence is a scourge on our society. Homicides committed by young people with firearms have nearly tripled since 1985, and other types of gun-related violence have been on the rise. Too many guns are in the hands of our Nation's children.

Through the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act and the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, we have reduced criminals' access to firearms, including military-style assault weapons. We are using the Gun-Free Schools Act of 1994 to take guns out of schools, making schools a safer learning environment for our children.

In addition, working in cooperation with State and local law enforcement in unprecedented fashion, Federal investigators and prosecutors have successfully disrupted numerous illicit gun markets across the country over the last 3 years. We need to strengthen our efforts to clamp down on these illegal markets, especially those that provide crime guns to children.

The Department of the Treasury's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) has developed a pilot program that 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. The project utilizes an innovative computer software system that examines crime gun trace information and provides law enforcement officers with crucial investigative leads about the sources of these guns. By analyzing patterns of gun trafficking that exist in an area, we are developing more effective law enforcement strategies to target illegal gun traffickers for prosecution, particularly those who put guns into the hands of our Nation's young people.

I am directing you to implement this project in 17 pilot cities: Atlanta, Georgia; Boston, Massachusetts; Baltimore, Maryland; Birmingham, Alabama; Bridgeport, Connecticut; Cleveland, Ohio; Inglewood, California; Jersey City, New Jersey; Memphis, Tennessee; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; New York, New York; Richmond, Virginia; Salinas, California; Seattle, Washington; San Antonio, Texas; St. Louis, Missouri; and Washington, D.C.

In addition, you should work with local, State, and Federal law enforcement in each of these cities to ensure that all crime guns seized in their cities are traced and to develop joint investigative and prosecutorial strategies to combat the problem of illegal gun trafficking. Your efforts should build upon existing partnership programs with State and local law enforcement officers, such as the Anti-Violent Crime Initiative.

You should jointly report to me in writing by August 8, 1997, on the first-year accomplishments of this project.


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