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CNN Today

President Pushes Funding for Bulletproof Vests

Aired May 15, 2000 - 2:30 p.m. ET

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

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Among our top stories today, President Clinton says he plans to use millions of tax dollars to buy bulletproof vests for police on the front lines.

White House correspondent John King joins us now from the White House with more on all of this -- John.

JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, the president in the company of police today, this part of an annual ceremony honoring those law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty in the past years. And the president using that event not only to talk about more bulletproof vests for police officers, but also to follow up on the message of the Million Mom March over the weekend and to call on the Congress to adopt what the president says is common-sense gun control legislation.

The president wants to raise the age, for example, for buying a handgun, the federal law. Also wants to close what he calls the gun show loophole, allowing people to buy guns at gun shows without a background check.

This legislation has been tied up for months. The president says it's time now for the House and the Senate to work out their differences.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's been stalled here for 10 months, and yesterday on this mall there were somewhere between a half a million and 750,000 mothers gathered, and over a million in 70 sites across America, to say that we shouldn't wait any longer for this kind of legislation.

I hope we will listen to what they had to say. It will also save a lot of police officers' lives.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Now, at this event, the president also announcing the latest installment of a government program, spending $24 million now to buy some 90,000 bulletproof vests for police officers around the country: that program due to expire. The president making the case today that Congress should renew it and spend $150 million over the next three years. That money, the president said, would buy up to a half million bulletproof vests to protect police officers.

John King, CNN, reporting live from the White House.

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