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CNN Today

President Clinton Introduces Proposal to Go After Rogue Gun Dealers

Aired February 4, 2000 - 2:08 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Turning now to the administration's war on gun-related crime. President Clinton is arming federal agents with broader powers, and he's going after those who sell weapons that too often wind up in the wrong hands.

CNN justice correspondent Pierre Thomas joins us with this story -- Pierre.

PIERRE THOMAS, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Natalie, a new study from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms says only one percent of U.S. gun dealers account for more than half, 57 percent, of the guns law enforcement traced to crime. This morning, President Clinton called for action.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm pleased to announce today that we're beginning the most aggressive effort ever undertaken to ensure responsible behavior by gun dealers. Dealers whose guns most frequently wind up in criminals' hands will now be subject to intense scrutiny by ATF. All dealers will be required to do a more thorough job of reporting gun thefts.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

THOMAS: Mr. Clinton is proposing a number of new measures, including increasing the number of surprise gun dealer inspections by ATF, hiring more ATF agents and asking states to issue photo licenses for new handgun buyers to ensure they're qualified to own a weapon.

The NRA is skeptical. Officials there wonder if the Clinton administration is engaged in pure politics. In this election year, expect gun control to again be in focus -- Natalie.

ALLEN: And how will this proposal fare in Congress, Pierre?

THOMAS: Well, the -- expect the Democrats to embrace this proposal. Of course, the Republican will be chilly to it. Now, in the coming weeks we can expect some executive action by the president. Gun dealers who have had 10 more -- 10 or more guns traced to crimes in recent months can expect ATF agents to be knocking on their door very soon.

ALLEN: Pierre Thomas in Washington, thanks.

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