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Mayors Urge Adoption of Senate Provisions on Gun Safety

By Ed Somers

The House and Senate have named the conferees for the juvenile justice legislation (H.R. 1501, S. 254). The Senate version of this bill contains important gun safety provisions supported by The U.S. Conference of Mayors. The House bill does not contain any gun safety provisions.

Under the leadership of Conference President Denver Mayor Wellington E. Webb 0 and Gun Violence Task Force Chairs Mayors Clarence Harmon of St. Louis and Joseph P. Ganim of Bridgeport, the nation's mayors are developing a coordinated strategy to help push the Senate provisions through conference and through the full House and Senate so that President Clinton can sign the bill.

The Conference Committee has held preliminary meetings, and staff is working over the August recess on additional details. Final action on the conference will not take place until Congress returns to work following Labor Day.

From the House, the conferees appointed with authority to address gun safety provisions are Representatives Hyde (IL), McCollum (FL), Coble (NC), Smith (TX), Canady (FL), Barr (GA), Conyers (MI), Frank (MA), Scott (VA), Berman (CA), and Lofgren (CA).

From the Senate, the conferees for all issues are Senators Hatch (UT), Thurmond (SC), Sessions (AL), Leahy (VT), and Kennedy (MA).

Contained in the Senate version of the bill is a provision to close the gun show loophole and require background checks for all sales.

The loophole currently allows non-licensed gun show participants to evade federal requirements that apply to a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) - identification checks, Brady criminal background checks and recording keeping requirements including filing multiple purchase forms.

In addition to closing the gun show loophole, the Senate bill includes:

  • ban on the importation of large capacity (more than ten rounds) ammunition clips;

  • strict penalties for juveniles who buy firearms to commit a felony and for adults who knowingly supply firearms to juveniles to commit crimes;

  • a ban on juvenile possession (under 18) of semi-automatic assault weapons;

  • a requirement that child safety locks be sold with every handgun sold in the United States;

  • establishment of a lifetime ban from owning a gun for anyone convicted of a violent crime while a juvenile, but only after extensive and complicated changes in state and local practices; and

  • a call for the Federal Trade Commission to study whether the firearms industry tries to market guns to children.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors strongly supports these provisions, as well as additional provisions not included in the Senate bill.

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