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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release January 18, 2000
                       PRESIDENT CLINTON UNVEILS 
                      HAILS NEW PROSECUTIONS DATA
                           January 18, 2000

At an event today in Boston, where federal and local partnerships have helped dramatically reduce gun crime, President Clinton will unveil the largest national firearms enforcement initiative in history. He will also announce new figures from the Department of Justice showing increased federal prosecutions of dangerous gun criminals.

The Administration's initiative provides a record $280 million investment in the FY 2001 budget to: 1) add 500 new Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) agents and inspectors to target violent gun criminals and illegal gun traffickers; 2) fund over 1,000 new federal, state, and local gun prosecutors to take dangerous gun offenders off the streets; 3) create the first nationally-integrated ballistics testing system and expand crime gun tracing to help catch more gun criminals; 4) fund local media campaigns to discourage gun violence and send a tough message on penalties for breaking gun laws; and 5) expand development of "smart gun" technologies. The President today will also unveil new data from the Justice Department indicating that federal firearms prosecutions rose 25 percent from 1998 to 1999. Finally, he will call on Congress to enact common sense gun measures that will keep guns out of the wrong hands and make our communities safer.

SWEEPING INITIATIVE TO CRACK DOWN ON GUN CRIMINALS. President Clinton today will unveil budget plans for an unprecedented initiative on gun enforcement. The plan includes funding for:

NEW DATA SHOW THAT FEDERAL FIREARMS PROSECUTIONS ARE UP. Today, the President will also highlight new data from the Justice Department showing the results of bolstered efforts by federal prosecutors to put serious gun criminals behind bars. From 1998 to 1999, the number of federal firearms cases prosecuted by U.S. Attorneys increased 25 percent, from 4,391 cases in 1998 to 5,500 cases in 1999. Tough prosecutions, strategic efforts to deter and prevent gun crime, and the passage of strong new gun laws such as the Brady Act, have together led to a more than 35 percent drop in gun-related crime since 1992 and a 57 percent decrease in juvenile gun homicide offenders since 1993.

COMMON-SENSE GUN MEASURES ARE STILL NEEDED AND LONG OVERDUE. In addition to pursuing an aggressive enforcement budget, the President will continue to call for much-needed reforms to our nation's gun laws to keep guns out of the wrong hands. Among the common-sense measures he will call on Congress to enact: requiring background checks at gun shows, mandating child safety locks for handguns, banning the importation of large capacity ammunition clips, and banning violent juveniles from owning guns for life.