THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
NATIONAL DAY OF CONCERN ABOUT YOUNG PEOPLE AND GUN VIOLENCE, 1999 - - - - - - - BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA A PROCLAMATION
Events of the past year have dramatically demonstrated the continuing need for a National Day of Concern About Young People and Gun Violence. In communities across our country, we saw young lives cut short by gunfire. We watched, horrified, as the same scene played out repeatedly in classrooms, school yards, and places of worship. Out of cities like Fort Worth, Texas; Conyers, Georgia; Granada Hills, California; and Littleton, Colorado, came the images that have become painfully familiar -- racing ambulances, terrified children, grieving families. As a national community, we shared a sense of devastating loss too immediate to comprehend. Behind these headlines, every day in our Nation 12 young people die as a result of gun violence.
In response to this disturbing cycle, my Administration has taken comprehensive action against youth violence. Last October, we held the first-ever White House Conference on School Safety, where I launched a new initiative to increase the number of safety officers in schools and unveiled a new plan to help schools respond to violence. After the tragedy in Littleton, we held a Summit on Youth Violence at which we launched a national campaign to end youth violence.
Earlier this month, I established the White House Council on Youth Violence to ensure the effective coordination of the many agencies and programs of the Federal Government that address youth violence issues. In addition, we have selected 54 communities to receive more than $100 million in Safe Schools/Healthy Students grants in an effort to find and fund the best ideas to reduce youth violence through community-based collaborative efforts. These funds will allow communities to implement important measures such as hiring more security personnel, installing security equipment, and improving student mental health services.
I have also called upon the Congress to do its part by passing a juvenile crime bill that closes the dangerous gun show loophole, requires child safety locks for guns, and bans the importation of large-capacity ammunition clips. I will continue to fight hard to win passage of these commonsense measures to keep guns out of the wrong hands.
As we observe this year's National Day of Concern About Young People and Gun Violence, I encourage every student in America to sign a Student Pledge Against Gun Violence, a solemn oath never to bring a gun to school and never to use a gun to settle a dispute. More than one million students signed the pledge last year, and I hope that many more will participate this year. I also urge all Americans to make their voices heard and support efforts to reduce gun violence. We need every sector of our society -- families, educators, communities, businesses, religious leaders, policymakers, and members of law enforcement -- to join together in this crusade to end the cycle of violence and create a brighter, safer future for our children.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim October 21, 1999, as a National Day of Concern About Young People and Gun Violence. On this day, I call upon all Americans to commit themselves anew to helping our young people avoid violence, to setting a good example, and to restoring our schools and neighborhoods as safe havens for learning and recreation.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-first day of October, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-fourth.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON
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