Clinton Calls for Rebirth of Gun Bill: Urges Congress `to Close Loophole'

By Sammon, Bill | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), June 20, 1999 | Go to article overview
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Clinton Calls for Rebirth of Gun Bill: Urges Congress `to Close Loophole'


Sammon, Bill, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


COLOGNE, Germany - President Clinton tried to resurrect his defeated gun-control proposals yesterday, imploring Congress to reconsider background checks at gun shows on the two-month anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre in Littleton, Colo.

"I say to Congress: You've still got an opportunity - and you've still got an obligation - to do the right thing and pass real legislation that will strengthen our gun laws, not weaken them," Mr. Clinton said in his weekly radio address. "Pass a law that applies to all gun shows - not one that lets criminals turn flea markets and parking lots into gun bazaars.

"Pass a law that gives law enforcement enough time to run real background checks - not one that lets more criminals slip through the cracks," said the president, who is in Cologne for the G-8 economic summit. "Pass a law that closes the deadly gun-show loophole once and for all."

Mr. Clinton was stung by the defeat of his proposal to require background checks on purchasers of firearms at flea markets and gun shows. The House rejected the measure and other Clinton-sup-ported gun controls Friday after the Senate narrowly approved the package last month.

On CNN yesterday, Rep. J.C. Watts Jr., Oklahoma Republican, blamed the president for the bill's defeat in the House. "When the solution wasn't exactly what he wanted, he forgot our children; he forgot Littleton," Mr. Watts said. "Shame on the Democrats and shame on the president for abandoning our children for the sake of politics."

In yesterday's radio address, the president said: "I sent to Congress a very sensible, moderate proposal. Thanks to a tie-breaking vote by Vice President [Al] Gore, the Senate did the right thing and passed this measure. But the sound of the gavel hadn't died in the Senate chamber before the gun lobby set its sights on the bill before the House of Representatives."

"The House of Representatives gutted our bill in the dark of night, literally after midnight, because the gun lobby didn't want common sense legislation to see the light of day," Mr.

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Clinton Calls for Rebirth of Gun Bill: Urges Congress `to Close Loophole'
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