Bush Talks Trigger Locks, Clinton Goes for Grants

July 7, 2008 - 8:02 PM

(CNSNews.com) - Governor George W Bush of Texas Friday announced a plan to give away free trigger locks for handguns in Texas, while President Clinton knocked the plan and announced a gun-safety push of his own.

Bush, on NBC's Today show, said he plans to expand the Texas trigger-lock program nationwide if he's elected president. "It seems like to me one of the things we ought to do is be common-sensical about how we deal with gun safety," Bush said. "I think this makes sense."

Bush said his home state of Texas will spend about a million dollars a year for five years distributing free trigger locks to citizens through police stations and fire departments.

He called it an option. "In other words, you can't make people use trigger locks. We would love to convince people to use trigger locks to make sure that our society is safe. And so the first step is to make them available for free. And we hope it works here in Texas."

Appearing on ABC's Good Morning America, President Clinton said Bush is just trying to convince Americans he's not closely tied to the National Rifle Association: "If he comes out and gives away gun trigger locks, then he doesn't have to explain why we're still importing large-capacity ammunition clips and why he doesn't want to close the gun-show loophole," Clinton said.

As part of the ABC forum, Clinton tangled with Susan Howard, a board member of the National Rifle Association and a spokesperson for the group.

Howard said Clinton "sent shivers up and down my spine" when he said, "Forget about the crimes. Just look at the accidental gun rate."

"This is the way the NRA operates," Clinton said.

"No, sir, it's not," Howard said.

"Wait a minute," Clinton responded. "I don't want to forget the..."

"No, sir," Howard responded. "You said: Let's forget the crime and talk about the accidents, because there is nobody that..."

"You know that's not what I meant, to forget the crime," Clinton said.

Clinton angrily insisted he did not mean to suggest that education and law enforcement are not important in the fight against the misuse of firearms. In fact, said Clinton, he has often praised the NRA's education efforts.

After his network television appearance, the White House announced federal grants for two gun manufacturers to be used for the research and development of "smart-gun" technology.

Smith & Wesson (which recently agreed to government demands for gun-sale restrictions) and F. N. Manufacturing Inc. each will receive $300,000 to develop guns that can be fired only by their owners.

Vice President AlGore, in a "Good Morning America'' interview Friday, said he's never been a member of the NRA, contrary to what George W Bush has said.

Gore admitted that during his early years in Congress, he did support some NRA legislation, but he said he changed his mind, just "as million of Americans did who supported the view of the NRA earlier but now see that the consequences of unrestricted availability of cheap handguns and assault weapons to people who really shouldn't have them [and] all these tragedies that seem to be mounting and they are occurring at an earlier age and in places where they shouldn't happen."