President George W. Bush's budget for the 2002 Fiscal Year does almost
nothing to prevent gun violence even as America approaches the second
anniversary of the April 20th Columbine High School massacre, the Violence
Policy Center (VPC) stated today. The VPC is a national nonprofit educational
organization working to stop gun death and injury in America.
In a budget that is virtually bereft of measures to prevent gun violence,
President Bush is promoting the hiring of additional armed guards for
our nation's schools as the primary solution to youth gun violence. According
to the Associated Press, the Bush budget would allocate enough funds to
hire one guard in nearly two percent of U.S. public schools in this country.
Kristen Rand, legislative director for the Violence Policy Center, states,"The
message from the Bush Administration is that as a country we've accepted
school shootings as inevitable and have given up on trying to prevent
them. President Bush is concentrating his Administration's efforts on
how to best structure the shoot-outs, rather than trying to stop them
from occurring in the first place. The vast majority of parents would
rather see their children go to schools that are safe and gun-free�not
modern-day versions of the OK Corral."
In addition, President Bush has proposed $75 million for child safety
lock giveaways. Adds Rand, "Unfortunately, without consumer protection
standards for the locks, there is no guarantee that this program will
fare any better than the recent gun-industry giveaway that resulted in
a recall of hundreds of thousands of distributed locks."
"We are shocked but not surprised that President Bush's budget would
promote a dangerous gun culture. After all, he is a strong believer in
the need for citizens to arm themselves. As Governor, Bush signed a law
in 1995 allowing Texans to carry concealed handguns for the first time
in 125 years. In 1997, he signed another law that let people carry their
handguns in churches, nursing homes, and amusement parks. With this budget,
President Bush is apparently adding schools to the list of places where
he thinks more guns will make us safer."