Gun-control measures by Bush, McCain leave advocates leery

WASHINGTON: Advocates of gun control reacted skeptically last week

to two Republican initiatives aimed at reducing gun-related violence:

President George W. Bush's Project Safe Neighborhoods campaign and Sen.

John McCain's appearance in a gun-safety PSA.

In Philadelphia last Monday, Bush rolled out his plan to reduce gun

violence by increasing the enforcement of existing gun laws. Gun-control

organizations cautiously applauded the move, but emphasized the need for

new gun laws - not just greater enforcement.

'I am pleased that President Bush has finally acknowledged that gun

control is a serious problem in the US,' said Sarah Brady, chair of

Handgun Control, in a statement. 'However, we need to prevent criminals

from getting these guns in the first place, so that these crimes don't

happen at all. The man who shot my husband was prosecuted, but Jim will

never walk again.' Jim Brady, Ronald Reagan's press secretary, was shot

in the head during John Hinckley Jr.'s 1981 attempt to assassinate the

former president.

The Americans for Gun Safety Foundation, a group endorsing the

responsible use of firearms, debuted a PSA last week starring McCain and

asking parents to keep guns away from children. The 30-second film will

run as a trailer in movie theaters until June 18.

But Joe Sudbay, public policy director for the Violence Policy Center, a

gun-control think tank, said the PSA missed the point and served to give

the pro-gun McCain gun-control credentials. 'It sounds nice, but it's

really not the proper solution,' he said. 'If you have children, you

need to remove guns from your home. Plenty of school shootings have

happened with guns that were 'locked up.''

The PSA's debut was timed to coincide with the introduction of the

McCain-Lieberman bill in the Senate, which looks to close the 'gun-show

loophole,' whereby people are permitted to buy weapons at gun shows

without the usual background checks.

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