For Release: Monday, April 9, 2001
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.”