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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release June 8, 1999
                      PRESIDENT CLINTON ANNOUNCES 

                             June 8, 1999

Today, the President will join leaders of the National Association of Theatre Owners in announcing a new nationwide movie ratings enforcement and educational effort. The three-part plan includes: (1) a new national policy under which movie theatre owners will require photo identification for young people seeking admission to "R" rated films; (2) an educational outreach program for parents about the ratings system and the new ID-check policy; and (3) support by the theatre owners for a national study on the causes of violence. The President challenged the theatre owners to strengthen enforcement of movie ratings in his May 15 radio address. The National Association of Theatre Owners is a national trade association that represents 65% of the motion picture screens in the United States, with over 20,000 screens located in every state. The President will also reiterate his call on Congress to move quickly and pass common sense gun legislation.

Requiring Photo Identification for "R" Rated Movies

The movie rating system, adopted by the Motion Picture Association of America in 1968, can be a useful tool for parents, but only if its main restrictive rating -- "R" (for "Restricted: Under 17 Requires Accompanying Parent or Adult Guardian") -- is effectively enforced. Under the policy announced today, the theatre owners' association states that from now on, "all of its members should require photo identification at the box office of young patrons not accompanied by a parent or guardian seeking admission to "R" rated films." The association will also ask theatre owners to post notices reflecting the "R" rated admission policy. The announcement of today's new policy follows a meeting between President Clinton and the association's president, William Kartozian; its chairman, Barrie Lawson Loeks; and theatre executives Greg Dunn of Regal Cinemas and J. Wayne Anderson of R/C Theatres Management.

Today, in addition to thanking the theatre owners for meeting his May 15 challenge, the President also will repeat his challenge to the movie industry to reevaluate its entire ratings systems, especially the PG-13 rating, to determine whether it is allowing too much gratuitous violence in movies approved for viewing by children. The President has urged the entertainment industry to take other responsible steps, including calling on the videogame, recording, and movie industries not to market violence to children. Last week, the President announced a joint study of entertainment industry marketing by the Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department.

Reaching Out to Parents

The theatre owners will also announce a national community education effort in conjunction with parent and religious organizations. The educational outreach will work to develop additional programs designed to enhance the ability of parents to make informed choices about which movies are appropriate for their children. As part of the new policy, the theatre association also will call for a national study of youth violence. The President announced at the White House Strategy Session on Children, Violence, and Responsibility that the Surgeon General would issue a report on youth violence next year.

Challenging the House to Pass Common Sense Gun Legislation

The President will once again challenge the House of Representatives to pass common sense gun legislation without loopholes and without further delay. In May, the Senate passed tough new provisions to close the gun show loophole, require child safety locks with every new handgun sold, ban the importation of large capacity ammunition clips, and prohibit violent juveniles from owning guns as adults. The President will call on the House to strengthen -- not weaken -- the Senate-passed bill, to include provisions to raise the age of handgun possession from 18 to 21 and require background checks for explosives purchases. The President will also reiterate his commitment to expose and fight against any effort by the gun lobby to riddle the House bill with dangerous new loopholes and water down critical safety measures passed in the Senate.