|HUD No. 00-230|
|Further Information:||For Release|
|In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0980||Tuesday|
|Or contact your local HUD office||September 5, 2000|
SECRETARY CUOMO, MILLION MOM MARCH ORGANIZERS RENEW CALL FOR GUN SAFETY LEGISLATION
WASHINGTON - On the day Congress started its return to session, U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo stood on the steps of the U.S. Capitol with local organizers of the Million Mom March to urge passage of sensible gun legislation that would protect children and keep guns out of the hands of criminals. Joining Cuomo at the event were U.S. Representatives Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC) and James Moran (VA); Handgun Control Inc. President Michael Barnes; Million Mom March board member Beckie Brown; and gun violence victims from DC, Maryland, and Virginia.
"On Mother's Day, hundreds of thousands of mothers cried out that they would no longer tolerate gun violence, and demanded lawmakers to pass laws to stop the epidemic. And no one knows the grim reality of gun-related child mortality better than America's mothers," he added. "As my wife and I stood with America's moms on the Mall that day, we all hoped Congress would end its gridlock on this issue. Sadly, little has changed and the gridlock remains."
As a result of the lack of legislation, Million Mom March leaders today announced November's "March to the Polls," a grassroots effort to elect those candidates who pledge to support gun legislation, and vote against those who do not.
Organizers of today's event say they want Congress to:
- require handgun owners to be licensed and all handguns be registered;
- close the "gun show" loophole;
- limit gun buyers to purchasing one gun a month; and
- require consumer product safety standards for guns.
"On May 14, we called on Congress to enact sensible gun laws for the sake of our children and our nation," said Claudette Perry, local Field Office Director for the Million Mom March. "Now, we renew our call. And if these lawmakers do not listen, we will elect new ones."
"Ten children die each day from gun violence, yet Congress still refuses to pass common-sense gun safety legislation. It's time to stop the killing; it's time for Members of Congress to end their political posturing," Cuomo said.
The Clinton Administration has been working on its own series of initiatives to reduce gun violence. Those activities include:
- More than 17,500 guns have been purchased and destroyed in 70 cities during the first nine months of HUD's 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 Department's 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.