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Rapid-fire shotguns restricted

On the same day that the Brady Bill took effect, the administration placed new restrictions on the purchase of three types of rapid-fire shotguns that Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen called "destructive devices, pure and simple."

Bentsen announced the reclassification of the "street sweeper," "striker" and USAS-12.

"Effective tomorrow morning, these weapons will be classified just what they are: machine guns," Bentsen said Monday.

The reclassification will place the guns under the jurisdiction of the 1934 National Firearms Act that targeted gangster-style machine guns, the White House said.

Buyers and owners will have to undergo extensive screenings and certification, and new taxes will be levied on manufacturers, dealers and purchasers.

President Clinton, speaking in Chicago, blamed the shotguns for an increase in deaths from multiple bullet wounds. Clinton said the guns, one of which can fire 12 rounds in less than 3 seconds, were developed in South Africa years ago for crowd control and are still being manufactured in the United States. The Treasury Department estimates 18,000 of the guns exist in the United States.

Bentsen also announced that the Brady Law, requiring a five-day waiting period for handgun purchases, was in full effect. Florida has a three-day waiting period and instant computer background checks.

James Brady, the former White House press secretary who was permanently injured in the 1981 assassination attempt on President Reagan, marked the day on Capitol Hill, where he called on Congress to pass even stricter licensing laws.

Brady appeared with Sen. Howard Metzenbaum, D-Ohio, and Rep. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., to outline "Brady II," a bill calling for stricter licensing and registration.

Metzenbaum said even harsher gun-control measures were needed to help reduce the number of Americans killed by guns every year, which he said exceeded 300,000 since 1968.