Our coronavirus coverage is free for the first 24 hours. Find the latest information at Please consider subscribing or donating.

  1. Archive

Clinton rides on anti-crime, gun record

President Clinton called upon law-abiding and gun-owning citizens to make a few sacrifices _ he called them minor inconveniences _ for the good of all Americans.

"It is no big deal if you have to wait a few days to get the next handgun," Clinton said. "You will survive."

Clinton came to a high-crime, city neighborhood and, standing beside police leaders, proposed a tighter ban on armor-piercing handgun ammunition known as "cop-killer" bullets.

"If a bullet can rip through a bulletproof vest like a knife through hot butter," Clinton said, "then it ought to be history."

Clinton also urged the public to support, in the name of public safety, such restrictions as a waiting period for handgun purchases and a ban on assault-style weapons. He likened the restrictions to the use of airport metal detectors.

"It's about whether we, as Americans, are willing _ those of us who are law-abiding _ to undergo some minor inconveniences so we can solve our problems together and keep our kids alive and have a safer future and be fair to our police officers," Clinton said.

Actually, armor-piercing bullets already are banned, based on the material from which they're made. Administration officials said Clinton's proposal takes aim at ammunition that might come to be made with components not covered by the existing ban.

National Rifle Association spokesman Tom Wyld called Clinton's proposal "sheer politics."

"It's intended by the president to ban guns by attempting to ban ammunition," Wyld said.

Crime promises to be a major issue in the 1996 presidential campaign, and Clinton is fighting hard to capitalize on his record. His campaign already has spent more than $2-million on television ads touting his support of a five-day waiting period for handgun purchases, a ban on assault-style weapons and legislation to help put 100,000 more police officers on the street.

Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, a contender for the Republican presidential nomination, has promised a vote this year on repealing the assault weapons ban and the National Rifle Association has made repealing it a top priority.

Clinton was introduced by officer Mike Robbins, who was shot 11 times last year while serving on a gang crime unit.

Medicare Select: The House, following the Senate's lead, voted to make Medicare Select available to senior citizens in all 50 states. The bill goes to President Clinton for his signature. Medicare Select, available in Florida and 14 pilot states since 1992, offers extra Medicare coverage at a discount for seniors agreeing to use managed-care health providers.