Lott: Clinton Gun Bill Off-Target: With Hastert, Seeks Conference to Find Causes of Teen Violence
Godfrey, John, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)
Enacting new gun-control legislation is not the answer to the questions raised by last week's shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado because the causes of the massacre are "bigger than just a gun debate," the Senate majority leader said yesterday.
Sen. Trent Lott, appearing with House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert at a ceremony at Fairfax County's Ellen Glasgow Middle School, called for a "national conference on youth and culture" to examine the causes.
"This conference should examine important issues facing students and society, including video games, drugs in school, Hollywood, prayer in schools, parental involvement and local control of schools," Mr. Hastert said in a written statement.
"Another law and a couple new programs won't do it alone. We must engage in a national dialogue to protect our children's future," the Illinois Republican said.
His remarks mirror many expressed yesterday by House and Senate Republicans, some of whom scoffed at the Clinton gun-control proposal.
"There are so many perverse influences on young people today," said House Majority Leader Dick Armey, Texas Republican. "I don't think anybody wants to say `I got that one unique solution.' I don't think there is any one thing."
Mr. Armey also accused President Clinton of grandstanding.
"I will have to tell you that I have noticed that there is a consistent tendency in politics, people have a long-standing position and they take even the most horrible incident to demonstrate that their position is the one that must be enacted," he said.
House Whip Tom DeLay of Texas, whose Capitol office was invaded by a mentally ill gunman almost a year ago, also said he was "offended by the president's political maneuvering. …