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1/25/2018 7:38:29 AM
Posted: 5/16/2001 7:38:32 PM EST
The Washington Post Thursday, May 17, 2001; Page A22 President Bush on Gun Crimes Editorial THE PRESIDENT'S plan to step up the war against "those who commit crimes with guns" is hardly controversial. Much of it was embraced by the Clinton administration last year as part of a larger, more effective approach that included tighter controls on access to handguns, something Mr. Bush barely addresses. Adding hundreds of federal, state and local prosecutors to enforce the laws might increase the likelihood that criminals who use guns will be prosecuted. But it is an after-the-fact approach that misses the chance to prevent much gun violence, which should be the first goal. President Bush would create a corps of 113 new assistant U.S. attorneys to work full-time on gun crimes; how much of a difference would that make to the more than 4,800 assistant U.S. attorneys reported on the rolls at the end of fiscal 1999? The president also would provide money for 600 new state and local prosecutors, to be sprinkled among the more than 26,000 in office around the country when numbers were last reported five years ago. In all, the president's "Project Safe Neighborhoods" initiative calls for spending $550 million over two years, including money to improve training and technology. But who picks up the tab for the state and local hires when the two years end? Administration officials aren't making any promises. Gun control opponents charge that existing laws aren't enforced, but the evidence is thin. In the past few years federal gun convictions rose. More would-be gun purchasers who are stopped by the Brady background-check law could be prosecuted. Certain states and localities might welcome the option of sending more cases to federal courts; but this could overload them. In Maryland, for example, a relatively modest version of this approach -- in which only those who have been convicted of violent crimes or drug charges in the past can be tried in federal court if found with a gun -- has drawn complaints from judges that their courtrooms are being overrun with cases that could be handled elsewhere. The White House is set to provide federal grants for trigger safety locks, and Bush aides say the president is open to measures to close a loophole that allows people to buy weapons at gun shows without undergoing background checks. Good, but how effectively? President Bush has said that he opposes a three-day waiting period, that "instant" background checks would be sufficient. But instant isn't always feasible, and often the people whose checks require a bit more time are the ones who most need to be checked out.
Link Posted: 5/16/2001 7:39:15 PM EST
Part II: Absent tougher, more effective measures -- such as banning handguns from general use -- legislation clamping down on gun show transactions is the least the White House and Congress could do. More than 30 states do not require background checks, and it should surprise no one that these states are the ones that flood the others with guns often used in crimes. No problem, argue the gun lobbyists; fewer than 2 percent of guns used by criminals are bought at gun shows. But that's a lot of bloodshed; and crime is only part of the problem. Tragic accidental shootings are all too common. It is the availability of handguns and assault-style weapons, more than a lack of prosecution of criminals, that continues to cause death and injury on the streets and in schools, offices and homes where children play. http://washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A37152-2001May16.html
Link Posted: 5/16/2001 9:39:07 PM EST
An anti-gun editorial in the Washington Post. How rare!
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