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Town Hall Question

August 31, 2000

Would you please explain what you mean by "oppose efforts to loosen existing limits on concealed weapons?" Does this mean you are opposed to the right to carry a concealed gun? Or that you favor that right but with limits?

James Novak
Charlottesville, VA

James, I believe that the current restrictions on concealed weapons must be maintained. As President, I would oppose efforts by Congress to weaken existing concealed weapons laws. I believe these laws keep dangerous guns out of the hands of criminals while protecting the rights of law-abiding gun owners.

After all the gun violence we have seen, simple common sense dictates that we must have stricter gun safety measures to keep guns out of the wrong hands, without unnecessarily imposing on the rights of law-abiding hunters and homeowners.

August 31, 2000

Please tell me what your plans are to prevent the youth of our country from being able to obtain firearms so easily, as well as what measures you will take to ensure that our schools are safe even if a youngster does come into possession of a weapon. Thank you.

John Daniels
Margate, FL

John, thank you for visiting my website and sharing your family's fears about school violence and guns. Despite the changes that have reduced violent crime to its lowest level in 25 years, gun violence continues to plague America's streets and schools. We need to do more to protect our children.

As president, I will launch a sweeping anti-crime strategy that includes common sense gun safety measures to keep our families safe and secure. To keep guns out of the hands of young people, I will work to raise the minimum age to own a gun from 18 to 21, close the gun show loophole, prohibit juveniles from possessing assault rifles and large capacity ammunition feeding devices, and extend the Brady Law to violent juveniles so that youth convicted of serious violent crimes cannot own firearms as adults.

I will also continue my work to make schools safer, a quest that began in early 1994, when I encouraged Congress to pass legislation that helped take guns out of schools. The Gun-Free Schools Act, which required that all states receiving federal education funding adopt policies requiring a mandatory one year expulsion for any student who brings a gun to school, has worked to keep dangerous children out of our schools. I want to build on that record by insisting on a policy of zero tolerance toward guns in our schools.

Finally, I believe we should heed the lessons of the recent Surgeon General's report which found that primary care and the schools are major settings for the potential recognition of mental disorders in children and adolescents. I propose to expand the Safe Schools/Healthy Students initiative to identify and treat emotional problems early on. My proposal would help communities develop comprehensive strategies to involve the school district, the local mental health system, law enforcement, families and community-based organizations in addressing school safety and healthy childhood development. I would also provide training to all new teachers to make sure they can spot signs of trouble. These measures will help avoid violence before it starts.

Together, these proposals will help us protect all of our children and give them the safe and nurturing environment they need to grow and learn.

August 10th, 1999

Can you respond on the shootings today in California with the little kids? I am 11 years old.

Moreno Valley, CA

Our prayers must go out to the families affected by this tragedy. This is a problem that affects all our families and we must dedicate ourselves to ending it. We must not rest until every child feels safe again in school, in community centers, and in their neighborhoods. One thing we can do now is take the guns out of the hands of kids and criminals—closing loopholes for purchases at gun shows and requiring every person who buys a handgun to get a photo ID license by taking a safety test and background check.

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