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Bush Backs Some Gun Control

August 28, 1999

MARIETTA, Ga. (AP) _ Less than 10 miles from where a distraught day trader killed himself after his bloody shooting spree left nine dead, Texas Gov. George W. Bush called gun-control measures currently being considered by Congress ``reasonable.″

The Republican presidential candidate said Friday he agrees with banning certain large ammunition clips and raising the legal age for gun ownership from 18 to 21. Bush also repeated his support for instant background checks on firearms sales at gun shows.

``These are all reasonable measures,″ the GOP front-runner told reporters after touring a homeless shelter.

His comments came after several violent episodes in metropolitan Atlanta over the past three months, culminating in Mark O. Barton’s shooting spree in two Atlanta office buildings.

In May, a sophomore wounded six classmates in a suburban Conyers high school, and just two weeks before Barton’s rampage a man killed two women and four children in their Atlanta home before killing himself.

Bush has been criticized by Democrats as being soft on gun control. He has previously spoken against government-mandated gun registration, signed legislation barring cities in Texas from suing gun makers, and deemed mandatory child safety locks on firearms impractical to enforce.

On Friday, Bush stressed that he still believes in gun rights. ``I believe innocent people, law-abiding citizens, ought to be allowed to own a gun. I believe they ought to be allowed to hunt and protect themselves,″ he said.

But he added that current gun restrictions should be enforced more stringently.

``There ought to be consequences, and those consequences ought to be called jail,″ Bush said.

Later, Bush picked up approximately $250,000 in campaign contributions from a $1,000-a-plate luncheon in nearby Smyrna.

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