|HUD No. 00-329|
|Further Information:||For Release|
|In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0980||Friday|
|Or contact your local HUD office||November 17, 2000|
SECRETARY CUOMO HONORED FOR GUN SAFETY WORK
NEW YORK - PAX, the media-based organization to end gun violence, tonight will present U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo with the PAX National Leadership Award, in recognition of his dedication to the issue of gun violence and his success in advancing the cause of gun safety.
Cuomo will be joined by a host of PAX supporters, including entertainers Mandy Patinkin, Billy Baldwin, Alec Baldwin, Uma Thurman, Ethan Hawke, Julianne Moore, Patty Smyth-McEnroe, Roseanne Cash and Griffin Dunne. The celebrities are among those who have voiced support for PAX's innovative media and communications initiatives to spotlight the gun violence issue and empower Americans to create change.
Cuomo noted that last week's elections are proof that gun safety is important to voters across the country. "We know that there is widespread public support for common-sense gun safety measures," said Cuomo. "The issue of gun safety played a critical role in several high-profile races. Dozens of pro-gun lawmakers were defeated on November 7, and not one, but two pro-gun states voted in favor of closing the gun show loophole. The Million Mom March, other grassroots movements and the great work of Handgun Control Inc. have all made a difference."
Dan Gross, co-founder of PAX, in announcing the award, said "Secretary Cuomo has been one of the most prominent and visionary leaders in the nation on the issue of gun safety. We are extremely pleased to have this opportunity to recognize his work."
PAX, in collaboration with HUD, recently launched the ASK campaign -- Asking Saves Kids -- which consists of public service announcements, print and billboard ads. 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 some 800 stations. In addition, TDI, a billboard advertising company has contributed 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 the gun is safely stored and won't fall into the hands of children? Every parent needs to know the answer to these questions. It doesn't 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."
HUD's collaboration with PAX is just one of many steps the Department has taken to reduce the toll of gun violence in America. The Clinton Administration has launched a series of initiatives including:
- 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.
- More than 21,000 guns have been purchased and destroyed in 90 communities during the first year of HUD's Buyback America program, which the President announced as an initiative to reduce gun-related deaths and injuries.
- The President proposed to Congress the largest national firearms enforcement initiative in history. For fiscal year 2001, the initiative would provide $280 million 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.