Tags: Bush | Targets | Gun | Violence

Bush Targets Gun Violence

Monday, 14 May 2001 12:00 AM

Speaking before an audience of uniformed police officers and accompanied by Attorney General John Ashcroft, Bush introduced what he called the Project Safe Neighborhood initiative.

"The violent crime rate in the United States remains among the highest in the industrialized world," Bush said. "Nationally, there were 12,658 murders in 1999, two-thirds of which were shooting deaths. And for every fatal shooting, there were roughly three non-fatal shootings. And folks, this is unacceptable in America. It's just unacceptable. And we're going to do something about it."

The initiative will focus on enforcing laws without enacting new gun possession restrictions. The initiative will fund hiring of 113 new assistant U.S. attorneys and 600 state and local prosecutors to handle gun cases. It will provide $44 million to improve data collection to stop convicts from buying guns, and $28 million for enhanced ballistics testing to trace illegal guns and ammunition.

"It will increase accountability within our systems, and it will send an unmistakable message: If you use a gun illegally, you will do hard time. This nation must enforce the gun laws which exist on the books," Bush said.

The program will likely echo Project Exile in Virginia, which stiffened bond rules and sentencing guidelines for crimes involving guns. Project Exile was extended to Baltimore in 1999 and is under consideration in Florida, New York, California, Indiana and Illinois.

In Richmond, Va., during the pioneering first year of Project Exile, homicides were reduced by 40 percent and armed robberies were reduced by 30 percent in the first year alone, Bush said.

Project Safe Neighborhood backs up the president's 2002 federal budget proposal, which would authorize $75 million in matching funding to provide law enforcement agencies kits, including trigger locks and lessons on gun safety.

The announcement was made a day after so-called Million Mom March, where women held rallies and demonstrations against gun rights, and thousands gathered over the weekend in Washington to honor police officers killed in the line of duty.

During his presidential campaign, Bush said he supported closing the loophole in gun show laws that allow felons to buy weapons without criminal background checks.

The president returns to Philadelphia on Friday as he unveils his national energy plan.

Copyright 2001 by United Press International.

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Speaking before an audience of uniformed police officers and accompanied by Attorney General John Ashcroft, Bush introduced what he called the Project Safe Neighborhood initiative. The violent crime rate in the United States remains among the highest in the industrialized...
Bush,Targets,Gun,Violence
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2001-00-14
Monday, 14 May 2001 12:00 AM
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