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US President Bill Clinton
addresses the Congress
 real 28k

Thursday, 2 March, 2000, 14:55 GMT
Clinton calls gun control summit
The boy's parents appeared before a family court
Parents (left and right) of the boy gunman
President Bill Clinton has called a meeting with congressional leaders in a bid to break the deadlock on stalled gun control laws.

Amid public shock over two recent shootings, Mr Clinton told NBC's Today programme that he had invited party leaders from the Senate and the House of Representatives to a meeting at the White House next week.

America and the Gun
  • A civil liberties issue?
  • Recent legislation
  • What is the NRA?
  • Heston defends laws
  • "There's been a House version and a Senate version of this bill for eight months and they have done nothing.

    "Meanwhile, 13 kids every single day die from guns in this country. We need more legislation," the president said.

    The bill would require handguns to be equipped with child safety locks, and close a loophole allowing people to buy guns at shows without background checks.

    Two people were killed and three critically wounded on Wednesday when a gunman went on the rampage in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

    Mr Clinton
    Mr Clinton: Break gun lobby's 'stranglehold'
    A day earlier, a six-year-old Michigan schoolboy shot and killed one of his classmates.

    Americans had no idea how much of a "stranglehold" the powerful National Rifle Association had over government, the president said.

    Congress is divided on the issue between Democrats - who are mainly in favour of new gun laws - and Republicans, who are not.

    Presidential hopefuls

    The division over guns is already playing a part in this year's presidential election, with Democratic hopefuls Al Gore and Bill Bradley both stressing their anti-gun credentials.

    "How many more lives will it take until we can say to opponents of these common-sense measures: 'Enough is enough'?" Mr Gore asked a young audience at a school in California.

    His rival, Bill Bradley, vowed to ban all easily available handguns if he wins power.

    Both Republican contenders, Texas Governor George W Bush and Arizona senator John McCain, stuck to their position of opposing any move to ban ordinary citizens from owning firearms, saying the right is enshrined in the US constitution.

    Mr Bush stressed responsible gun ownership, while Mr McCain called for enhanced safety measures.

    Shootings

    Police said that 39-year-old Ronald Taylor had been charged with two counts of criminal homicide for the Pittsburgh killings.

    Children in Michigan school shooting
    Children are led to safety in Michigan
    The shooting rampage started in the suburb of Wilkinsburg, where the gunman killed two men and wounded three others.

    In Michigan, investigators said that the six-year-old boy who shot and killed a classmate lived in a "crack house" where loaded guns were within easy reach.

    Two men who lived in the house have been arrested.

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    See also:

    02 Mar 00 |  Americas
    Shootings sparked by 'door rage'
    01 Mar 00 |  Americas
    Boy killer found gun in bedroom
    01 Mar 00 |  Americas
    Controlling America's gun culture
    28 Jan 00 |  Americas
    Clinton aims for gun law
    01 Mar 00 |  Americas
    Charlton Heston defends gun laws
    01 Mar 00 |  Americas
    US press outraged
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