|HUD No. 00-226|
|Further Information:||For Release|
|In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685||Wednesday|
|Or contact your local HUD office||August 23, 2000|
SECRETARY CUOMO VOICES SUPPORT FOR JOINT CAMPAIGN TO SAVE CHILDREN
Celebrities Mandy Patinkin, Rosanne Cash and Griffin Dunne Help To Raise Awareness
NEW YORK Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo voiced his strong support for a new advertising campaign unveiled today by Daniel Gross and Talmage Cooley, the co-founders of PAX, a non-profit organization dedicated to ending gun violence. The media campaign - ASK - teaches parents how to ask neighbors if guns exist where their children play.
Actors Mandy Patinkin, Griffin Dunne, singer/songwriter Rosanne Cash, Carol Price, the mother of a 13-year old killed by a gun in a neighbors home, and Dr. Danielle Laraque from the American Academy of Pediatrics were on hand for the campaigns unveiling.
The ASK -- Asking Saves Kids -- campaign will soon begin appearing throughout the U.S. on television, in print and on billboards. Among the media outlets that have agreed to use the ads are Lifetime television, MTV, Good Housekeeping, Working Mother, Working Parent, and Clear Channel, a radio network with about 800 stations. In addition, TDI, a company which provides billboards for advertising, will also contribute space.
"Our ASK campaign is such a simple yet powerful idea," Cuomo said. "Is there a gun where my children play? If there is, has the owner taken steps to make sure that gun is safely stored and wont fall into the hands of children? Every parent needs to know the answer to these questions. It doesnt matter where you live. Ten kids are killed every day in this country by guns. We need to raise awareness of this issue if we are going to be successful at saving our kids lives."
Actor Mandy Patinkin added "The entertainment industry has an enormous capacity for influencing our youth. The reality is children are greatly impacted by the multitude of images that surrounds them. As an entertainer, I am committed to using my celebrity status to help reduce gun violence in America. The tragedy of ten children who will never see tomorrow must cease. I am committed to the PAX/HUD campaign which I believe can raise awareness and save childrens lives."
The PAX/HUD campaign has also been endorsed by many groups including the Childrens Defense Fund, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and National Head Start Association.
"As pediatricians, we often see firsthand the disability and death caused by firearms," Laraque said. "Thats why AAP endorses the ASK campaign as a powerful message to parents. Even if parents dont own a gun, they should ask about gun ownership in the homes where children are playing."
One of the ASK spots shows a suburban couple reclining on a couch while children are playing in the background. The children run into a neighbors house and up to the parents bedroom where they discover a gun in a dresser drawer. The next sound is a gunshot, and a caption on the screen reads "Over 40% of homes with children have a gun."
The ASK campaign is the latest in a series of initiatives that the Clinton Administration has taken to reduce gun violence. Others include:
More than 17,500 guns have been purchased and destroyed in 70 cities during the first nine months of HUDs Buyback America program, which the President announced last September as an initiative to reduce gun-related deaths and injuries.
In February, the President proposed to Congress a $280 million national firearms enforcement initiative for fiscal year 2001. The money will be used to: hire 500 new agents and inspectors for the Treasury Departments Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; hire more than 1,000 prosecutors at all levels of government; fund new gun tracing and ballistics testing systems to catch more criminals who use guns; fund local media campaigns to discourage gun violence; and expand the development of "smart gun" technologies.
The President also proposed to Congress a $30 million Community Gun Safety and Violence Reduction Initiative for next fiscal year. If funded as proposed, the HUD-administered program will: develop public education and outreach programs that promote responsible gun ownership and address hazards posed by firearms; provide technical assistance and funds to innovative gun violence reduction programs; and fund state-of-the-art tracking and mapping partnerships that provide critical information about gun-related violence and support community and law enforcement efforts to reduce gun violence. Local governments, law enforcement agencies, public housing authorities, community organizations and other groups will be eligible to compete for HUD grants to support gun violence reduction initiatives.
In March, HUD and the Treasury Department signed a historic agreement with Smith & Wesson to implement a "code of conduct" to increase gun safety and keep guns out of the hands of criminals and children.