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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release May 13, 2000

Today, in his weekly radio address, President Clinton will pay tribute to the thousands of mothers nationwide who will celebrate Mother's Day and show their support for stronger gun laws by participating in the Million Mom March. The March, which will begin after a rally at the White House with the President and First Lady, will take place in Washington, D.C., and in nearly 70 communities across the nation. Tens of thousands of mothers, fathers, children and other supporters are expected to converge on the National Mall for the event, making it the largest gun safety rally in history. The President will commend the mothers for leading an unprecedented grassroots movement to push for common-sense gun laws that will reduce the tragic toll of gun violence in our nation, and he will urge them to continue their fight for a safer America for their children beyond Sunday's March.

MAKING THE VOICES OF AMERICA'S MOMS HEARD ACROSS THE NATION. On Sunday, mothers and families from across the country will join in the Million Mom March, a grassroots effort to focus the nation's attention on the terrible cost of gun violence and on the steps that can be taken to save more lives. The March has been organized by a group of mothers from across America who have become outraged by the lack of action taken by Congress to protect their children from gun violence. Many of these mothers have suffered tragic personal losses because of gun violence; many others have been stirred to action by the fear that criminals and children can too easily get their hands on guns. Accordingly, a key focus of the March will be highlighting the fact that gunfire takes the lives of 12 children every day, and participants will urge Congress and policymakers nationwide to pass preventive measures that will keep guns out of the wrong hands.

URGING CONGRESS TO PUT THE SAFETY OF AMERICA'S CHILDREN FIRST. For ten months - despite numerous gun tragedies at schools, workplaces, and even places of worship all across America - the Congress has refused to move forward on common-sense gun measures. During that time, an estimated 20,000 Americans have lost their lives in gun violence. The President has urged Congress to send him strong gun safety measures without delay, including provisions to close the gun show loophole; mandate child safety locks with every handgun sold; ban high capacity ammunition clips; bar the most violent juveniles from possessing firearms as adults; and hold adults accountable if they allow children easy access to deadly guns. The President has also proposed funding for "smart gun" research and development grants and a state-based licensing proposal that requires all new handgun purchasers to be trained in the proper handling and storage of firearms. And as part of his comprehensive gun violence reduction strategy, the President has also called on Congress to fund the largest national gun enforcement initiative in history. This $280 million initiative would fund 500 new ATF firearms agents and inspectors; over 1,000 new federal, state and local prosecutors; expanded gun tracing and ballistics testing; and programs modeled on Richmond's "Project Exile" and Boston's "Operation Ceasefire." Pointing out that states and communities across the country are moving ahead on common-sense gun measures, the President will urge Congress to stop its stall tactics and send him a gun safety bill he can sign now.