Industry -- but not NRA -- backs some restrictions on guns
May 10, 1999
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- As President Clinton convened a meeting on youth violence and responsibility Monday, two groups representing gun manufacturers said they will back limited restrictions on firearms.
Meanwhile, the National Rifle Association, which speaks for gun owners, complained that Clinton is bringing out "every tired, old gun-control bill" in the wake of last month's mass killing at a Littleton, Colorado, high school, while failing to enforce existing laws.
The American Shooting Sports Council and the National Shooting Sports Council said they will support five proposals aimed at keeping guns out of the hands of young people.
The measures include:
Delfay also expressed industry support for a measure banning the lifetime use of guns by juvenile offenders, and requiring a lock on up to 90 percent of firearms sold.
Delfay said the industry's support is a concession to political reality.
"We realize the tragedy in Littleton has caused the American public to seriously question the role and causation of firearms in these issues," he said.
There has been heated debate about the need for stricter gun controls involving young people since two teen-agers shot 13 people, then killed themselves, at Columbine High School last month in Littleton.
"Every hunter or sportsman in our nation may not agree with our position," Delfay acknowledged, and he said the industry's position does not reflect a split between the NRA and manufacturers.
The NRA's uncompromising opposition to gun laws has been criticized sharply since the Littleton killings, but its leaders accuse Clinton of exploiting the tragedy to advance his proposals.
Wayne LaPierre, the NRA's executive vice president, said the group was not invited to the White House youth violence summit, but should have its views represented there.
"What we see is the president now dusting off every tired, old gun control bill that's been around his administration for the last six years -- waiting periods, one-gun-a-month schemes, imports or magazine bans, mandatory locks -- tired old schemes that will have no real impact on this criminal culture of violence in this country," LaPierre said.
He urged Congress to provide up to $75 million in additional funds for Project Exile, which focuses federal prosecutors' attention on crimes committed with guns.
LaPierre said the program has been a great success in two cities -- Rochester, New York, and Richmond, Virginia.
"One hundred percent of the time, no plea bargain, no bail, you're going to the penitentiary -- that will change the atmosphere in this culture of violence the president talks about," LaPierre said.
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