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Letter to Hunters and Sportsmen

April 29, 1994

An Open Letter to Hunters and Sportsmen:

I have been a hunter since I was 12. Where I come from, it's a way of life. And I will not allow the rights of hunters and sportsmen to be infringed upon.

But I know the difference between a firearm used for hunting and target shooting and a weapon designed to kill people. The 19 specific types of assault weapons that would be banned by the proposal currently being considered in Congress have no place on a deer hunt, in a duck blind, or on a target range—and they certainly don't belong on our streets, in our neighborhoods, or on our schoolyards.

But they are on our streets, in our neighborhoods, and on our schoolyards—they're the weapons of choice for drug dealers, gangs, and terrorists. And every year they kill children and police officers, mothers, and fathers.

Our crime bill will make a big difference in stopping the violence in our neighborhoods, by putting 100,000 new police officers on the streets and putting tough penalties like three-strikes-you're-out on the books. But we've got to keep Uzis and Street Sweepers out of the hands of criminals. Every major police organization wants us to—and nearly 80 percent of the American people feel that way too.

High-paid lobbyists argue that the assault weapons ban will infringe on our right, as hunters and sportsmen, to own guns. But what they don't tell you is that the proposal I support specifically safeguards hunters' rights. It explicitly protects more than 650 hunting and recreational rifles from the ban.

So that's why I'm writing you for your help. Call your representatives, and tell them that you know the difference between a hunting rifle and a weapon that was designed for the battlefield. Tell them you support the proposed ban on assault weapons—because it protects your rights and it doesn't protect criminals.

Thank you.



NOTE: This letter was made available by the Office of the Press Secretary but was not issued as a White House press release.

William J. Clinton, Letter to Hunters and Sportsmen Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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