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Posted: 5/16/2001 6:09:43 AM EDT
A Boston Herald editorial Wednesday, May 16, 2001 Bush priorities hit gun violence The reaction of the gun-control lobbies to the plans of President Bush went something like this: It's all very well but we still need our favorite proposals. ``We do need some new laws,'' complained a spokesman for Handgun Control. ``Need''? Some new laws might be helpful, some new laws might be unobjectionable - and some might be worthless. But the biggest payoff, we believe, will come from the proven strategy of vigorous, careful enforcement of the laws on the books. This has been the experience of Boston and Richmond, Va. The Clinton administration and its allies in Congress were endlessly fertile in advancing new proposals for firearms regulation - none of which would have had any bearing on the high-profile school shootings. Yet referrals for federal firearms prosecutions dropped by 44 percent in those years. Sens. Joe Lieberman and John McCain, Bush's GOP rival, are puttting forward a new bill to require, among other things, background checks on all buyers at gun shows (not now required for gun-show sales between private parties). The White House says Bush supports a more limited proposal. Last year, a similar bill failed over the refusal of Democrats to support a 24-hour deadline on such checks - they wanted the issue in an election year, so they would do nothing to make the FBI's computers run on weekends. We're for background checks in all sales. But gun-show sales provide the weapons for only about 2 percent of gun crimes. It's important to concentrate first on measures that can make a more substantial difference, and the president's $550 million program ($154 million in new money and the rest redirection of existing funds) offers just that prospect. http://wwww.bostonherald.com/news/opinion/edt05162001.htm
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