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Clinton To Sign Crime-Fighting Bill

November 13, 1998

WASHINGTON (AP) _ A scholarship program for survivors of federal law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty will grow to include families of all public safety officials under legislation awaiting President Clinton’s signature.

In a White House ceremony planned this morning to trumpet his administration’s crime-fighting effort, Clinton also was set to sign a bill stiffening penalties for federal criminals with firearms.

The legislation imposes an additional seven-year sentence for brandishing or pointing a gun during a crime, and provides for an additional 10 years if a gun is fired during the crime.

For subsequent offenses involving guns, the mandatory penalty is increased from 20 years to 25 years.

The new law also seeks to put to rest a question debated in the courts. The law stipulates that the additional and mandatory federal five-year penalty for criminals who ``use or carry″ firearms applies even if the criminal simply was in possession of a gun _ locked in a car trunk or glove compartment, for example _ during the commission of a violent crime or drug felony.

The Police, Fire and Emergency Officers Educational Assistance Act of 1998 expands a federal program to provide college scholarships to the dependents of all public-safety officers _ including police, firefighters, correctional officers, and rescue and ambulance squads _ who are killed or incapacitated in the line of duty.

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