Clinton: Gun-License System on ATF Web Site : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread

Saturday September 23 12:34 PM ET

Clinton: Gun-License System on ATF Web Site


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Aiming to keep guns out of ``the wrong hands,'' President Clinton unveiled on Saturday an online system intended to block minors and criminals from using fraudulent firearms licenses to buy guns by mail or over the Internet.

Clinton said the U.S. Treasury Department's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) has launched the ``eZ Check'' firearm-license verification system on its Web site,, in a bid to crack down on the use of phony licenses to acquire guns illegally.

``By making it easier to check the validity of gun licenses, we'll make it harder for guns to fall into the wrong hands and give law enforcement, and the gun industry, a new tool to put a stop to illegal sales,'' Clinton said in his weekly radio address.

``In addition, the ATF is proposing new measures to require gun sellers to verify licenses and report individuals who use invalid ones,'' Clinton added.

The ``eZ Check'' system will provide a quick and easy way for licensed gun dealers to verify the validity of a federal firearms license presented to them for the purchase or shipment of guns, Clinton said.

Licensed dealers are allowed to ship firearms only to other licensed dealers, but some people have been creating fraudulent licenses to circumvent the law.

Under current law, licensed gun dealers are required to obtain copies of licenses from purchasers before shipping firearms, but are not required to ensure that the licenses are valid or to report to law enforcement people who attempt to obtain guns using invalid licenses.

By logging onto the ``eZ Check'' system, a gun seller may submit a federal firearms license identification number and instantly receive information on the status and authenticity of the license, the White House said.

Clinton said the system was aimed at preventing juveniles and criminals from acquiring firearms by mail, over the Internet and by other means.

Internet Facilitating Illegal Gun Sales

The president said that despite all its benefits, the Internet is making it easier for guns to fall into the hands of criminals and minors.

``There are now 4,000 firearm-sales-related sites on the Internet, and there are 80 sites where you can actually buy a gun at auction,'' Clinton said. ``Clearly, we must do more to ensure that every sale over the Internet is legal and that no one uses the anonymity of cyberspace to evade our nation's gun laws.''

Recent ATF investigations have shown how juveniles and illegal gun traffickers easily acquire firearms by using fraudulent licenses.

Clinton cited the example of two juveniles in Montclair, New Jersey, who were arrested last May after using a forged license to order four firearms over the Internet from a Texas gun dealer.

The students later admitted to making four additional fraudulent licenses. All the firearms that were shipped were recovered and the juveniles pleaded guilty to charges in state court.

Clinton also called on the Republican-controlled Congress to fund fully his National Gun Enforcement Initiative. It would provide $280 million to pay for more than 1,000 federal, state and local gun prosecutors, hire 500 new ATF firearms agents and inspectors, expand gun-crime tracing and ballistics testing, among other steps.

The president also called on Congress to pass gun-control legislation that he supports.

``So I ask this Congress: Don't just talk about strong enforcement, give us the tools to do the job,'' Clinton said.

-- (hmm@hmm.hmm), September 23, 2000

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