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Statement on Signing the Carjacking Correction Act of 1996

October 01, 1996

Today I am proud to sign the Carjacking Correction Act of 1996. This legislation will increase the security of all Americans—particularly women.

Carjacking is a terrible crime. It is punishable under Federal law. In cases where carjackers have inflicted "serious bodily injury" on their victims, this tough law gets even tougher—the maximum sentence may be increased from 15 to 25 years.

Unfortunately, in a May 21, 1996, decision, in the case of United States v. Rivera, a panel on the First Circuit Court of Appeals held that a rape that took place during a carjacking did not constitute a "serious bodily injury."

That's plain wrong, and the legislation I am signing today will prevent this mistake from ever happening again. This legislation says clearly: Sexual assault causes serious bodily injury.

Carjackers who rape their victims will meet with nothing less than the full force of the law.

This legislation builds on the work we have already done to make America safer for women. For too long, the threat of violence to women was not taken seriously enough. As American women were forced to look over their shoulders, society looked the other way.

So we took action. We passed the Violence Against Women Act, established a national registry of sex offenders, created a national 24hour domestic violence hotline, and made "three strikes and you're out" the law of the land. We passed Megan's Law—and now States must tell communities whether a dangerous sexual predator is in their midst. We gave America the Brady bill—keeping guns out of the hands of 60,000 felons, fugitives, and stalkers.

Last week I signed into law a strong, new Federal law to stop stalkers. Yesterday I signed legislation to extend the Brady bill to keep guns away from people with a history of domestic violence.

I want to thank Representative Conyers for his hard work on this bill. And I want to add that this legislation is proof of the progress we can make for the American people when we put politics aside and join with each other in common cause. Together, with this bill, we have done much to give our families the safety and security they deserve.

NOTE: H.R. 3676, approved October 1, was assigned Public Law No. 104-217.

William J. Clinton, Statement on Signing the Carjacking Correction Act of 1996 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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