THE WHITE HOUSE AT WORK
Wednesday, July 8, 1998
PROMOTING GUN SAFETY AND RESPONSIBILITY
From now on, no one who enters a gun shop should mistake their responsibility. All federal gun dealers will now be required to issue written warnings and post signs like this one. The sign makes plain for all to see -- in black and white, in the simple, direct language of the law -- it is illegal to sell, deliver, or transfer a handgun to a minor. Period.
-President Bill Clinton
July 8, 1998
Today, President Clinton is joined by Attorney General Janet Reno, Secretary Robert Rubin, Secretary Richard Riley, Senator John Chafee (R-RI), Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL), Representative Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), Suzann Wilson, mother of Jonesboro school shooting victim Brittheny Varner, Superintendent of Maryland State Police David Mitchell, and Maryland Lieutenant Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend to announce three new steps the Administration is taking to promote gun safety and responsibility throughout the country. Specifically, the President will (1) announce the publication of a final regulation requiring all federally licensed gun dealers to post signs and issue warnings concerning juvenile handgun possession; (2) Call on states and Congress to pass Child Access Prevention (CAP) legislation; and (3) announce a partnership with the state of Maryland to reduce gun-related violence.
The Youth Handgun Safety Act. Passed as part of the 1994 Crime Act, the Youth Handgun Safety Act generally prohibits juveniles from possessing handguns and adults from transferring handguns to minors. Today, in response to a directive issued last year by the President, the Treasury Department will announce the publication of a final regulation requiring all federally licensed gun dealers to post signs and issue written warnings that state the following:
- The misuse of handguns is a leading contributor to juvenile violence and fatalities;
- Safely storing and securing firearms away from children will help prevent the unlawful possession of handguns by juveniles, stop accidents, and save lives;
- Federal law prohibits, except in certain limited circumstances, anyone under 18 years of age from knowingly possessing a handgun, or any person from selling, delivering, or otherwise transferring a handgun to a person under 18; and
- A knowing violation of the prohibition against selling, delivering, or otherwise transferring a handgun to a person under the age of 18 is, under certain circumstances, punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Holding Gun-Owners Accountable For Child Safety. President Clinton is calling on states and Congress to pass Child Access Prevention (CAP) laws that hold adults responsible if they allow children easy access to loaded firearms. Fifteen states have already passed CAP laws, and the President is seeking a tough, targeted, federal CAP law with new penalties to punish serious offenders. A recent study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association found that CAP laws have reduced fatal unintentional shootings by an average of 23 percent.
Building A Partnership With State and Local Law Enforcement. In support of the President's Youth Crime Gun Interdiction Initiative, the Administration will begin a partnership with the State of Maryland to launch a joint ATF-Maryland State Police initiative to trace every gun seized in the state that was used in a crime. This effort will allow the state of Maryland to maximize information about the illegal sources of firearms and build a statewide strategy against illegal firearms trafficking. Today's announcement is another example of federal, state, and local law enforcement working together to broaden crime prevention strategies from simply reacting to gun-related crimes to a strategy aimed at reducing the illegal supply of guns and preventing gun violence in the first place.