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Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release May 20, 1999


I am delighted that I was able to cast the tie-breaking vote and defeat the pressure of the gun lobby and pass the Lautenberg-Kerry Amendment. I am especially proud that so many Senators crossed party lines to do what is right for our safety, and for our children.

Right now, the gun show loophole is so big, you can drive a truck through it. We know guns are routinely sold at gun shows. We know criminals have used guns purchased at gun shows to kill. And we know that a simple background check to keep guns away from felons and fugitives is no real inconvenience on hunters and legitimate, law-abiding gun owners.

That is why today's vote to require a common-sense background check at gun shows is nothing less than a bullseye for law-abiding citizens and families.

It was exactly one month ago today that gun violence claimed thirteen innocent lives at Columbine High School. Right now, we're waiting to find out the facts about another tragic school shooting in Atlanta -- when a senior at Heritage High School opened fire, wounding six other students.

We may never understand why some children choose evil over good -- why some act from anger or anguish, instead of reason and conscience.

And there are many important answers -- from a toxic culture, to an erosion of discipline in our schools, from a need to spot the early warning signs of violence and depression, to a desperate need for more parental responsibility.

I also believe that the most important solutions must come from the human heart -- from our own faith and values, and the lessons we teach to our children.

But this much we know for sure: it is too easy to get a gun in this country. There are too many loopholes in the gun control laws we have. Today's vote is a step toward closing them.

Let us build on the bipartisan progress we have made. I vow to work with my colleagues in the Senate until we make America's schools and communities safe again.