Bush Allows Assault Weapons Ban to Expire, Sides With Gun Lobby; Kerry Crime-Fighting Plan Receives Endorsement of the National Association of Police

Kerry's get-tough-on-crime plan received the endorsement of the National Association of Police Organizations, while Bush has sided with the gun lobby, allowing the Assault Weapons Ban to expire. Here are the details of the 6-point Kerry-Edwards crime fighting plan to keep America's families safe from crime.

Washington, DC (PRWEB) September 16, 2004 -- With the president today standing with the powerful gun lobby and turning his back on police officers and families by letting the assault weapons ban expire, Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry said that George W. Bush has made the wrong choices on crime. Unveiling the Kerry-Edwards crime prevention plan, Kerry pledged to move the country in a new direction and keep America’s families safe from crime.

Kerry’s event in Washington, DC was held on the tenth anniversary of the 1994 crime bill that put 100,000 more police officers on the street and gave law enforcement more tools to crack down on crime. But under George W. Bush, the success of the 1990s is eroding. Murders and gang violence are up, and the ban on assault weapons will end Monday because President Bush has caved to special interests and refused to lift a finger to extend it, despite evidence that al-Qaeda is seeking these weapons.

John Kerry and John Edwards are committed to keeping America’s communities safe and have a plan that puts the safety of families and communities first. Their plan will put more cops on the street, fight crime and make our communities stronger. As a result of this commitment, Kerry was endorsed Monday by the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO).

NAPO is a coalition of police unions and associations from across the United States.

“Ten years ago today, with the leadership of police officers all across the country, we passed a tough crime bill to protect America,” Kerry said. “We made sure that criminals couldn’t get their hands on assault weapons, and we put 100,000 cops into our nation’s communities where they could make an impact and stop crimes before they happen. But then George Bush became president. And when his powerful and well-connected friends asked for a massive tax cut, he said ‘sure,’ and he’s paying for it by gutting the COPS program, slashing gang prevention and cutting enforcement programs that keep drugs like meth off the streets.”

The president has sought to eliminate more than 80 percent of COPS funding in each of his budgets even though the program contributed to the largest continuous drop in crime on record. These cuts have been followed by an increase in murders of 800 per year. Gang violence and methamphetamine use have also experienced increases under Bush.

Similarly, after passage of the assault weapons ban, the number of banned assault weapons traced to crimes declined by 65 percent. But today, the president is caving to the NRA, which is spending millions to support his campaign, and letting the ban expire

“George Bush gave police officers his word that he would keep the ban,” Kerry said. “But when it came time to extend it, Bush’s powerful friends in the gun lobby asked him to look the other way. He just couldn’t resist, and he said ‘sure.’ He chose to make the job of terrorists easier and make the job of America’s police officers harder. That’s wrong. Let me be very clear. I support the Second Amendment. I’ve been a hunter all my life. But I don’t think we need to make the job of the terrorists any easier.”

As a former prosecutor, Kerry knows what it takes to put criminals behind bars and keep America’s streets safe. He helped lead the fight to put 100,000 police officers on the street, and today, unveiled a plan, fully paid for, that will:

* Put More Cops on the Street and Give Them the Support They Need. By restoring full funding for COPS, Kerry and Edwards will enable America’s police departments to increase the number of cops on the beat by 10 percent over the next 10 years. They will also support $25 billion in fiscal relief to states and communities, including $15 billion in unrestricted aid that will help to meet the homeland security needs of our police departments.
* Keep Guns Out of the Hands of Criminals and Terrorists. As an avid hunter, Kerry supports the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, but he also understands that hunters don’t need and don’t use AK-47s, but criminals and terrorists do. Kerry will reauthorize the assault weapons ban as well as support John McCain’s legislation to close the gun show loophole. Kerry will also enforce the gun laws on the books, as George Bush promised and failed to do, and also create new regional task forces of U.S. Attorneys to battle the interstate trafficking of guns.
* Fight Gang Violence. Kerry and Edwards will turn around rising gang violence by supporting a proven, two-part strategy. First, they will crack down on violence by gangs and gang members with a policy of zero-tolerance. Second, they will show young people the way to productive, responsible participation in their communities by expanding opportunities for young people in trouble.
* Fight Methamphetamine Trafficking in Rural Areas. Kerry and Edwards will strengthen support for efforts to help sheriffs break up methamphetamine production and sales in “hot spots” throughout rural America.
* Hire 5,000 New Community Prosecutors and Give Prosecutors the Tools They Need. While George Bush has sought to eliminate the community prosecutor program, Kerry will increase support for the program and enable the hiring of 5,000 community prosecutors over the next five years.
* Reinvent Probation and Parole. Within the COPS program, John Kerry will fund personnel and technology to track ex-offenders. With modern technology, police departments can send electronic notices to every police car about releases and locations for every parolee.

“George Bush made a choice today,” Kerry said. “He chose his powerful friends in the gun lobby over the police officers and the families he promised to protect. The president made the wrong choice. When I am president, we will set America in a new direction with a plan to fight crime and keep our communities safer.”

For more information on Senator Kerry's stand on National Security, Energy Independence, Economy and Jobs, Health Care, Homeland Security, Education, Environment, Veterans, and Stronger Communities, read the Kerry-Edwards Plan for America at www.johnkerry.com/issues/ .

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Source :  http://www.prweb.com/releases/2004/9/prweb158964.htm