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Clinton Travels to Denver Highlighting State Gun-Control Efforts

Aired April 12, 2000 - 1:04 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: A week before the first anniversary of the Columbine massacre, President Clinton is in Denver to push for new state and federal gun laws.

CNN's Kelly Wallace has travelled with the president -- Kelly.

KELLY WALLACE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Natalie, President Clinton is coming here to Colorado hoping to put the spotlight on what Colorado is doing to toughen gun laws, and hoping at the same time to put some pressure on the U.S. Congress.

Now this is an issue that stirs passions on both sides and, as you can see, there is a group of protesters gathering behind me. They have been marching and chanting things like: "No more gun control."

And a big sticking point, holding up gun control in the U.S. Congress, is over the issue of background checks for gun show purchases. That's the issue President Clinton will focus on today, when he throws his support behind a state ballot initiative which would basically require background checks for all purchases at gun shows.

The initiative is being pushed by a bipartisan group that was formed after last year's deadly high school shootings at Columbine High School. The political director of that group, Tom Mauser, said he took up the issue and the cause of gun control based on something his son Daniel told him just two weeks before he was murdered at Columbine.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TOM MAUSER, POLITICAL DIRECTOR, SANE: I feel like I'm doing Daniel's work because he said those words to me before he was murdered, you know: "Dad, did you know there were loopholes in the Brady Bill?" That gives me just so much desire to address that, and to close that loophole, and to feel like I'm carrying on his work, and that through that work, we'll be saving lives. So even though his life was tragically cut short on this earth, he's still living through this effort.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: Just yesterday Tom Mauser led a silent march here in Denver, basically to bring attention to the children killed through gun violence. Empty sneakers and shoes were left on the steps of the capital building here in Denver, one pair for every child killed every year in the U.S.

Now Mr. Clinton, in his remarks, will basically call on Congress to pass tougher gun laws by next week's anniversary of the Columbine massacre. But White House officials concede that is very unlikely. Although just yesterday, Republican and Democratic leaders in the House sent a letter to the Senate saying lawmakers should get together, as soon as possible, to work out their differences -- Natalie.

ALLEN: Kelly Wallace. Kelly, thanks.

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