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Public Papers - 1992

Message to the Congress Transmitting Proposed Legislation on Violent Crime

1992-09-30

To the Congress of the United States:

I am pleased to transmit for your immediate consideration and enactment the ``Violent Crime Control Act of 1992.'' Also transmitted is a section-by-section analysis.

In a speech I delivered recently at the DeSales Catholic Church in Fox Park, Missouri, I outlined my crime agenda for the remainder of this Congress and for next year. I discussed several issues of particular concern to the families of this country such as carjacking, sexual and domestic assault, and gang violence. The enclosed legislative proposal addresses these critical problems.

As you know, I first proposed a comprehensive crime bill to the Congress on June 15, 1989. I again submitted a bill to the 102nd Congress on March 11, 1991. That bill, which has yet to be enacted, includes provisions for restoring and expanding the Federal death penalty, ending the abuse of habeas corpus, reforming the exclusionary rule, and establishing additional crimes and penalties involving the criminal use of firearms. The failure of the Congress to pass these pro-law enforcement proposals is particularly frustrating in light of the broad bipartisan support they enjoy.

I know that there is currently an effort being made to forge a genuine compromise that would include effective death penalty provisions and a version of habeas corpus reform that would be acceptable to me. It is my hope that the Congress will present me with such a compromise, one that is truly meaningful for Federal, State, and local law enforcement. This apparent willingness to work realistically on crime legislation provides the basis for me to call on this Congress to act quickly in its final days to pass the additional crime-fighting measures I am today proposing.

The bill I am transmitting today addresses several of the most significant current threats to public safety. It includes:

1. New tools for fighting sexual violence such as increased penalties, new rules of evidence and conduct for trial lawyers, expanded restitution for victims, and grants to State and local law enforcement.

2. Anti-carjacking provisions in the form of a new Federal crime, expanded use of law enforcement grants to the States, and a study of devices to prevent carjacking.

3. Provisions for combatting domestic violence such as a new Federal offense covering spouse abuse, violations of protective orders, and stalking, and a comprehensive grant program to fight domestic violence and enforce child support obligations.

4. Anti-gang amendments, including a new RICO-type offense for street gang activities, a new offense for involving a minor in the commission of a violent crime, and broadened adult prosecution of violent juveniles.

5. New laws for child support enforcement that will give the Federal Government the ability to punish criminally ``deadbeat dads'' who leave a State in order to avoid child support or who are significantly late in the payment of child support obligations. The legislation will also assist the States in the enforcement of child support orders.

6. Increased penalties for crimes against the elderly that will punish and deter criminals from assaulting or defrauding senior citizens.

7. New crimes and penalties for the criminal use of firearms such as a mandatory 10-year sentence for using a semiautomatic firearm in the course of a violent or drug trafficking crime, and a mandatory 5-year sentence for possession of a gun by a dangerous felon.

As the 102nd Congress draws to a close, the Congress has an opportunity to pass legislation that will have a major impact on many of the most serious crime problems facing Americans. The public wants decisive action from government to combat the menacing presence of violent criminals. Let us address this unfinished agenda now.

George Bush

The White House,

September 30, 1992.

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