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CNN Today

President Clinton to Meet With Mother of First-Grader Shot to Death at School

Aired March 7, 2000 - 2:17 p.m. ET

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

DONNA KELLEY, CNN ANCHOR: After pressing congressional leaders for new gun control laws, President Clinton now plans to meet with the mother of a child shot to death at school last week.

CNN's Major Garrett has details from the White House -- Major.

MAJOR GARRETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Donna, the president is addressing the issue of gun violence at two levels, as you mentioned. First, this morning, he met with the key members of Congress who are trying to resolve differences on a juvenile justice bill that also contains significant new gun control measures. After that, he is due to meet with Veronica McQueen. Veronica McQueen is the mother of young Kayla Rolland, a 6-year-old whose death by handgun shot last week in her first-grade -- at her school by another first- grader shocked the nation.

After meeting with the members of Congress, the president went to the briefing room and told reporters the kind of gun control bill he is willing to sign.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The final bill needs to require child safety locks. It should hold adults accountable when they allow young people to get their hands on deadly guns, two measures that are particularly relevant in light of the heartbreaking shooting of Kayla Rolland last week.

I know the gun lobby is cracking up pressure on Congress again, but when first-graders shoot first-graders, it's time for Congress to do what's right for America's family.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GARRETT: Mere moments before the president made that statement, Senator Orrin Hatch, who is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, a Republican from Utah, told reporters that there is nothing in this gun control package that would have made any difference in Kayla's death.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R), UTAH: The tragedy in Michigan would not have been solved by anything that has been suggested here. This is a case of a crack house where they had a gun, that would never have had a trigger lock on it anyway, that was improperly allowed to sit out where some kid 6 years old could take it. I mean, none of what we're talking about is going to solve that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GARRETT: The key difference separating House and Senate members is whether or not to impose a 72-hour or 24-hour waiting period on handgun sales at gun shows. The president said he is hopeful Congress can resolve that. He urged Congress to send him a bill by April 20, which would be the one-year anniversary of the tragic massacre at Columbine High School -- Donna.

KELLEY: Major, I see that you've gotten a little more information on an addition to the president's schedule coming up in a couple of weeks for a trip.

GARRETT: Yes, that's correct, Donna. CNN has confirmed through Capitol Hill and State Department sources that the president will add Pakistan to his trip to India and Bangladesh later this month. The president is due to leave Washington for India and Bangladesh on 18th. At the end of that trip, he will stop briefly in Pakistan to meet with its new president, Musharraf -- Donna.

KELLEY: All right, Major Garrett at the White House, thank you.

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