New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - March 3, 1993, New Braunfels, Texas
2-A HERALD-ZEmjNG WEDNESDAY, MARCH 3, 199(3
Gun lobby in for some of its toughest battles
WASHINGTON — A recent defeat in Virginia and a rebuke from President Clinton suggests that the gun lobby, while still a powerful force, may be facing some of its toughest fights in years.
Clinton last week criticized the National Rifle Association, the nation’s premier gun advocacy group, for opposing certain gun controls. His support gives gun control proponents a major ally in their fight for a national waiting period for handgun purchases.
Gun control backers predict passage in Congress of the so-called Brady Bill that would establish the handgun waiting period. The measure had majority backing in both the House and Senate last year but
was opposed by President Bilsh. It died after being attached to a broader crime bill.
In the states, however, the picture is less clear. During the past week, Virginia adopted new handgun restrictions, one chamber of the New Jersey legislature voted to repeal a ban on assault rifles.
Also, as the tense standoff in Waco, Texas, unfolded between authorities and an armed religious cult, Texas Lt. Gov. Bob Bullock said his state, long opposed to gun control, should consider banning “military-type assault weapons."
But in Colorado, the NRA won a court case Friday challenging Denver’s ban on semiautomatics.
’There’s a lot of activity out there in the states,” NRA spokesman Jim Baker said.
The vote in the Virginia General Assembly to limit handgun purchases to one a month was a setback for the NEA.
But the NRA fared much better in New Jersey, where the Assembly voted to override Gov. Jim Florio’s veto of legislation to reverse a 1990 ban on the sale, possession and manufacture of semiautomatic weapons.
Tt’s a landmark message that gun control schemes are useless and out of step with real anti-crime measures,” said George McNeill of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action.
An override vote is pending in the New Jersey Senate, and Clinton’s remarks Monday appeared aimed at rallying support for Florio.
“I don’t believe that everybody in Amer
ica needs to be able to buy a semiautomatic or an automatic weapon built only for the purpose of killing people,” the president said. Clinton called it an “error” for the NRA to oppose restrictions on assaults weapons.
There are heated debates in several other states as well.
In Missouri, for example, the NRA supports a measure that would make it legal to cany a concealed firearm with a permit The state House passed a version last year but it died in the Senate. An amended version is pending in the Senate.
The NRA and its biggest rival, Handgun Control Inc., also are fighting over concealed weapons measures in Texas, Arkansas and Wyoming.
Federal panel wants crackdown on drunken teen drivers
WASHINGTON—Federal officials are calling for state crackdowns on teen-agers who drink and drive, including nighttime curfews, zero-tolerance blood-alco-hol standards and quick suspension of driving privileges.
The National Safety Transportation Board, in a report to governors and legislatures, said it is time to update a promising campaign begun in the 1980s to curb underage drinking drivers, said to be involved in fatal accidents every 57 minutes.
The board Tuesday urged new state laws, including curfews aimed at keeping young motorists off the highways at night The five-member board approved a report that also calls
for lowering to zero the legal alcohol blood content for young motorists, and imposing penalties — such as suspending driving privileges — for teens who buy beer, wine or liquor.
Underage drinking and driving remain a lethal combination despite major progress the last IO years spurred by state laws that made 21 the minimum age for buying alcoholic beverages, the board said.
Thousands of lives each year could be saved” by tougher laws, said Barry Sweedler, head of the board’s office of safety recommendations.
It’s still fairly easy for youths to purchase alcohol” illegally, he said, adding that “binge drinking” among teens is on the rise.
While it lacks any enforcement
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eight years. The perpetrator is currently serving a prison sentence for his persecution of the Kruegers.
Krueger’s wife, Kathleen, testified before a Texas house committee in February in support of
stalker legislation at the state level. That bill is tentatively scheduled to be introduced on the floor of the Texas legislature on Monday, according to U.S. Rep. Brian McCall’s office. The bill will be introduced by U.S. Senator Mike Moncrief and is co-sponsored by McCall.
"Local merchants have donated hundreds of dollars worth of prizes ... and we’ll also have drawings to give away lottery tickets and merchandise as well,” Sharp said. “So there will be a lot more winners than just the seven finalists on stage.”
Charles Bailey of San Antonio, one of the finalists for the million dollars, said after the initial shock wore off, his thoughts turned to winning a million dollars.
Tve had some thoughts about it, that I will be rich and so far its on the way,” Bailey said.
When asked how he would feel about being thrust into the upper tax bracket should he win, Bailey said, “Who cares — this is a once in a lifetime deal.”
The finalists are guaranteed a minimum of $10,000 with the prize structure as follows: Two finalists will receive $10,000 each, the next two finalists will receive $15,000 each, the fifth finalist will receive $25,000, the sixth finalist will receive $50,000 and the grand prize
winner will receive $1 million.
The list of finalists includes; John Christian of Fort Worth, Cathy Ricks of Austin, Pauline Donnell of Smithville, Bobbie F. Richardson of Houston, Jane Snodgrass of Boyd, Charles L. Bailey of San Antonio, and Jo Ann Keeling of Dallas.
Alternates include Jeff Howes of Denton, Maria Fuentes of Houston, and Kathie Moody of Rock Springs.
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power, the board claims some notable successes in its role as national scold.
By 1988, all states had followed the board's recommendation and raised the legal drinking age to 21.
That has played a key role in saving more than 12,000 lives since 1982, the board estimated, based on studies that show a drop in fatal car accidents caused by young drivers.
But teens still are responsible for a disproportionate number of traffic fatalities, particularly at night, the board said. It adds up to one death on average every 57 minutes, safety officials said.
For example, the 12 million licensed drivers between 15 and 20 who made up 7 percent of the driving population in 1991 were
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involved in 15 percent of the highway deaths. About half of the fidel accidents involving teens occurred at night—usually on weekends.
The safety board said a big problem is that state laws making 21 the minimum age for buying alcohol are riddled with loopholes, mainly because enforcement is aimed at merchants and not teenagers.
“We’re not here toying to (hangs social mores,” said Carl Vogt, chairman of the safety board.
The primaiy goal is not to stop young people from drinking but to keep them from getting behind the whfcl when they do, he said.
Eighv static have dopted curfews to limit nighttime driving by teen-agers. They ar*, idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, Pennsylva-
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New York’s law is among the toughest. It bars teens from getting behind the wheel between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m.
The board said studies show the restrictions have helped curtail accidents among young drivers.
Lowering the blood alcohol content to zero or near zero for teens also will help if those who violate the law lose their licenses, the board said.
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Gore to head up streamlining efforts
WASHINGTON — President Clinton is naming Vice Bcesident Al Gore to head his campaign to streamline government, rejecting proposals in Congress to give die task to a panel, according to a White House official.
Clinton planned to announce the National Performance Review program today, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The president was making the announcement at an appearance with Gore and David Osborne, author of “Reinventing Government," one of Clinton’s favorite books.
“We’ll be going through every agency with a fine-tooth comb,” the official said. Tart of it is ferreting out waste and firaud. Part of it is making government more responsive, more user-friendly.”
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