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Clinton Cites FBI Statistics in Latest Push for Gun LegislationAired March 15, 2000 - 1:01 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: President Clinton is turning up the heat on congressional opponents of trigger locks and background checks at gun shows. With his two most recent gun control initiatives in congressional limbo, Mr. Clinton has armed himself with statistics and set a deadline for action.
CNN White House correspondent Kelly Wallace joins us with the latest on what's going on -- Kelly.
KELLY WALLACE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Natalie, President Clinton brought out some new numbers to the debate, FBI statistics that he says show that background checks at gun stores are working. And the White House believes these numbers show why Congress should close the so-called gun show loophole.
Now, last year was the first year the FBI could do instant background checks. The White House released some new numbers saying that last year those instant checks meant that 179,000 felons, fugitives and domestic abusers were prevented from purchasing guns, that 95 percent of these checks were done within two hours, and that 34,000 felons, fugitives and domestic abusers took more than 24 hours to check out.
Now, the White House wants to see these same background checks done for traveling gun shows. Here's what President Clinton had to say a few moments ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm one of the few presidents, I bet, that's ever been to any of these gun shows. I've actually been to them, and I've been to them way out in the country, you know, where all the practical problems allegedly arise. And, in all candor, I think that, taking a little time and a little inconvenience to save a lot of lives is a good deal for America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Now, joining Mr. Clinton at the White House today, New York Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy, who lost her husband to gun violence. Also, a mother who lost her daughter to the Jonesboro school shooting in Arkansas. Mr. Clinton placed the blame for the delay when it comes to gun control on the Republican leadership and the National Rifle Association. He also said that election year politics should not get in the way of saving lives.
Finally, he called on lawmakers to support a House motion that will be introduced later today by Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren of California. Basically, this motion calls for the key congressional leaders charged with working out a compromise on gun control to start meeting by a certain date. If this vote is passed, it would be non- binding, meaning it wouldn't require Congress to do anything. The White House believes it would send a strong signal to the House and the Senate to get moving on gun control.
Kelly Wallace, CNN, reporting live from the White House.
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