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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release April 27, 1999

                              April 27, 1999

Today, President Clinton will announce new legislation to strengthen federal firearms laws and make it more difficult for kids and criminals to have access to guns and explosives. The President's package represents the most comprehensive gun legislation any Administration has put forward in 30 years. The proposed bill will include new proposals to: (1) reduce illegal gun running by limiting the purchase of handguns to no more than one per month; (2) raise the age of the youth handgun ban from 18 to 21 years of age; (3) ban the juvenile possession of semi-automatic assault rifles; (4) halt the importation of large capacity ammunition magazines; (5) require Brady background checks for the purchase of explosives; (6) help law enforcement trace more crime guns to their source; and (7) authorize repeat inspections to crack down on gun dealers involved in illegal gun trafficking.

BUILDING ON THE SUCCESS OF THE BRADY LAW. Since taking effect in 1994, the Brady Law has prevented over a quarter million felons, fugitives, stalkers, and other prohibited purchasers from buying handguns. In November 1998, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) took effect, allowing access to a fuller set of records that law enforcement officials can use to conduct checks of all prospective gun purchases -- not just for handguns. To date, NICS has conducted over 3.4 million background checks on gun purchasers, and the FBI has stopped over 36,000 illegal gun sales. The President's legislation will propose strengthening the Brady Law by:

RESTRICTING YOUTH ACCESS TO GUNS. Keeping guns out of the hands of juveniles has been one of President Clinton's top priorities. He fought for and signed legislation prohibiting the juvenile possession of handguns, requiring "zero tolerance" for guns in schools and establishing the Youth Crime Gun Interdiction Initiative (YCGII) to help identify and arrest adults who traffic guns to children. The President's bill does even more to restrict unauthorized youth access to guns by:

CRACKING DOWN ON ILLEGAL GUN TRAFFICKERS. In 1996, President Clinton launched the Youth Crime Gun Interdiction Initiative (YCGII) in 17 cities to help trace crime guns to their source, as well as identify and arrest the adults who traffic firearms to our children. Since that time, YCGII has been expanded to 20 more cities and has conducted more than 200,000 traces for local law enforcement. Additionally, over the last two years the President has proposed hiring more than 280 new ATF agents and more than 40 new federal prosecutors to arrest gun traffickers and violent criminals, and crack down on illegal gun sales.

STRENGTHENING THE ASSAULT WEAPONS BAN. In 1994, the President fought for and signed into law legislation to ban the manufacture and importation of the 19 deadliest assault weapons, their copies, and large capacity ammunition clips. Last year, the President also to took action to ban the importation of over 50 models of modified assault weapons. The President's bill strengthens the assault weapons law by: