|HUD No. 00-82|
|Further Information:||For Release|
|In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685||Noon Wednesday|
|Or contact your local HUD office||April 19, 2000|
ALLIANCE FOR JUSTICE GIVES CUOMO CHAMPION OF JUSTICE AWARD
WASHINGTON - The Alliance For Justice today gave Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo its annual Champion of Justice Award for his comprehensive efforts to reduce gun violence in America's communities.
The Alliance For Justice is a national association of public interest organizations that works to protect the advocacy rights of non-profit organizations, preserves access to the courts for ordinary Americans, and monitors judicial appointments. Since 1979, the Alliance has developed programs that advance the public interest field and support the cause of justice for disenfranchised individuals.
"This award reminds us that while gun violence and other crimes have fallen across our country over the past seven years, far too many men, women and children continue to be killed and wounded by gunfire," Cuomo said. "Today, as we mark the anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing and prepare to mark the anniversary of the terrible massacre at Columbine High School, we should rededicate ourselves to stopping such senseless killings."
Each year the Alliance gives its Champion of Justice award to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to advancing the public interest and social justice through policy contributions and personal leadership.
The Champion of Justice Award followed the Secretary's launch Tuesday of BuyBack America - an unprecedented national campaign to buy back unwanted guns and raise awareness about gun safety. Eighty-four communities have pledged to utilize HUD funds to purchase tens of thousands of unwanted firearms, reducing deaths and injuries caused by gun crimes, accidents and suicides. More communities are expected to join in the next round of grants.
BuyBack America is one part of a comprehensive Clinton Administration approach to reducing gun violence. Other Administration efforts include:
- A historic agreement HUD and others signed last month with Smith & Wesson to implement a "code of conduct" that will increase gun safety and improve retail distribution to keep guns out of the hands of children and criminals.
- A $30 million Community Gun Safety and Violence Reduction Initiative that President Clinton proposed in his Fiscal Year 2001 Budget. The initiative, which would be administered by HUD, would fund computerized mapping of gun violence to help law enforcement agencies better protect the public, education and outreach programs to promote responsible safety measures by gun owners, and innovative community activities to reduce both gun crimes and accidents. If Congress approves funding for the initiative, local governments, law enforcement agencies, public housing authorities, community organizations, and other groups would be eligible to compete for HUD grants to support gun violence reduction activities in the communities the Department serves.
- A $280 million national firearms enforcement initiative that is also part of the President's proposed budget. The initiative would hire 500 new ATF agents and inspectors to target gun criminals, hire more than 1,000 prosecutors at all levels of government, fund new gun tracing and ballistics testing systems to catch more gun criminals, and fund local media campaigns to send a message to criminals on tough gun penalities and a message to all gun owners on the safe handling and storage of firearms.
- The passage of common-sense gun safety legislation that has been stalled in a House-Senate Conference Committee for nine months that would close the gun show loophole, require child safety locks for handguns, ban the importation of large-capacity ammunition clips, and bar violent juveniles from owning guns as adults.