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                     Office of the Press Secretary
                           (Phoenix, Arizona)
For Immediate Release                                      June 22, 2000


Today, the House has an opportunity to bolster our efforts to fight gun crime in America as it considers the Commerce, Justice, State Appropriations bill. In its current form, the bill severely underfunds my $280 million National Gun Enforcement Initiative -- including funding for 1,000 new state and local gun prosecutors, anti-gun violence media campaigns and smart gun technology. I urge the House to pass Representative Lowey's amendment to provide $150 million to hire state and local gun prosecutors to put more gun criminals behind bars.

Yesterday, the Treasury Department released its first-ever gun ATF gun trafficking report demonstrating my Administration's commitment to tough gun enforcement and the need to close deadly loopholes in our laws that make gun shows and corrupt dealers favorite supply channels for illegal traffickers. Congress can take immediate action to address these issues and make progress in the fight to reduce gun violence. Instead, the House attempted to undermine the Administration's historic gun safety Agreement with Smith & Wesson last night. Despite the failure of this attempt, the Republican leadership continues its assault on this Agreement at a time when our nation loses nearly 12 children per day in gunfire.

We should be doing all we can to move forward in the fight to reduce gun violence, not backward. I urge Congress to focus on measures that will improve public safety by fully funding my National Gun Enforcement Initiative to give law enforcement even more tools to crack down on gun criminals. And Congress should finally pass the stalled common sense gun safety legislation to close the gun show loophole and take other steps to keep guns out of the wrong hands.