Hyde to Explore Youth Violence: Judiciary Hearing to Summon Experts, Discuss Gun Control

By Scully, Sean | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), May 4, 1999 | Go to article overview

Hyde to Explore Youth Violence: Judiciary Hearing to Summon Experts, Discuss Gun Control


Scully, Sean, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


The House Judiciary Committee will hold a wide-ranging hearing next week on the "social and moral environment" that contributes to youth violence - and will take up the touchy issue of gun control - Chairman Henry J. Hyde said yesterday.

"I think we need to put the whole wide breadth of this problem out on the table and ask for help," the Illinois Republican said. "This is not us telling people what to do - it's asking what we should do."

Mr. Hyde refused to say who will testify, but he promised to call experts on education, the Internet, youth crime and mass culture. He also promised to call both sides of the gun debate.

That will create "not a donnybrook, but an exchange of perspectives," he said. "Maybe all of us can learn something from that."

In the wake of the killings at Columbine High School near Denver last month, Mr. Clinton has proposed a series of gun control laws, including banning juveniles from possessing certain semiautomatic weapons, requiring the sale of child safety locks with all gun sales, and prohibiting anyone younger than 21 from possessing a handgun.

Members of Congress, even Democrats, have reacted coolly to the package, saying that gun control should be a small part of a much larger examination of youth violence.

But Mr. Hyde said yesterday that "some of the president's suggestions have some utility for me," particularly his call for tighter regulation of sales at gun shows.

The committee, meanwhile, plans to consider a juvenile justice bill today promising states $1.5 billion over three years for juvenile justice programs, provided states adopt a system of punishments for young first-time offenders and increasingly severe punishments for youths who break the law more than once. …

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