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First Lady Leads Kids’ Anti-Gun Vow

March 2, 2000

VALLEY COTTAGE, N.Y. (AP) _ First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton led a group of schoolchildren in a pledge against gun violence Wednesday, one day after a 6-year-old was shot and killed in a Michigan classroom.

``If you know of any guns in your house or in the houses of your uncles, cousins, friends or neighbors, I want you to promise you will never, ever go near them,″ Clinton told fifth-graders at Valley Cottage Elementary School.

``I want you to promise you will never, ever play with anybody who goes near them, and I want you to promise you will never, ever pick up a gun with any idea of using it against another person,″ she said.

Clinton told the students to tell parents who own guns to lock the weapons away or remove them from the house for the sake of young children. She did not mention the Michigan shooting directly, though some of the children already knew about it.

``They need to stop guns because of what happened yesterday,″ 10-year-old Kevin O’Donohue said. ``For a little kid to shoot another was wrong.″

Bruce Teitelbaum, a spokesman for Clinton’s Senate opponent, New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, said the first lady was ``sending a confusing and hypocritical message″ since her campaign accepted a $1,000 contribution from rap producer Sean ``Puffy″ Combs in October.

Combs was later indicted on gun possession charges following a shooting at a nightclub.

Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson pointed to a $1,000 contribution the Giuliani campaign took from actor Charlton Heston, president of the National Rifle Association.

``We won’t be lectured to by a campaign that’s taken money from the head of the NRA,″ Wolfson said.

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