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Thursday, May 20, 1999 Published at 05:20 GMT 06:20 UK

World: Americas

Clinton visits school massacre scene

Officials say Mr Clinton's visit is very much a personal one

By Rob Watson in Washington

President Clinton is due to visit Littleton, Colorado on Thursday, the scene of last month's high school shootings, in which 15 people died.

The visit is the first time President Clinton has been to the state since the shootings that left 13 students, a teacher, and the two teenage gunmen, dead.

White House officials say he will meet pupils from the school, and their families, and will tell them the nation as a whole is grieving for Littleton.

They say the president will also express his admiration for the resilience Littleton in general, and the school in particular, has shown in the wake of the killings.

'Personal' visit

[ image: Officials say the visit is intended to show the whole country is grieving with Littleton]
Officials say the visit is intended to show the whole country is grieving with Littleton
Administration sources are stressing that it is very much a personal rather than a policy visit by Mr Clinton.

That said, there is little doubting the profound effect the killings have had on America's political landscape, and more specifically on the issues of juvenile violence and gun control.

Over the last few days the Senate has approved measures which, if finally passed into law, would make child locks on guns compulsory, ban the import of high capacity ammunition clips and increase the checks on people seeking to buy guns.

Such measures would have been unthinkable before the Littleton shootings and reflect a change of heart from Republican Senators who fear being cast as tools of the pro-gun lobby.

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