CRIME: GUNS, PENALTIES

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The National Crime Survey conducted by the US Bureau of the Census says crime has decreased over the last decade, while the Uniform Crime Reports issued by the FBI say crime has increased. Meanwhile, federal and state prisons are overflowing with prisoners, and President Bush is building more prisons. Some experts say the fear of crime may be more a factor in citizens' lives than crime itself.

BUSH

Handguns - A lifetime member of the National Rifle Association, Bush is opposed to the Brady bill, which would create a 5- to 7-day waiting period before the purchase of a handgun. Supports improved record-keeping to screen handgun buyers. Banned the import of semiautomatic assault weapons, but favors the sale of domestically made semiautomatic weapons. Also favors restrictions on clips for guns which allow rapid fire.

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Capital punishment - Favors the death penalty, and would limit appeals by inmates on death row. Also supports increased use of the death penalty for federal crimes, and ordered all US attorneys to sharply curtail plea bargains for violent offenders.

Prisons - Wants to build more prisons. Added 4,600 new positions to the US Bureau of Prisons in 1991.

CLINTON

Handguns - Supports gun ownership and use of hunting weapons, but wants the passage of the Brady bill to allow background checks and a waiting period "to protect police officers as well as the public." Favors banning the sale of AK-47s and Uzi submachine guns, and wants to limit access to multiple-round clips for semiautomatics.

Capital punishment - Favors the death penalty. As Arkansas governor he has "signed executive orders for cop-killers and multiple murderers."

Prisons - Wants to establish disciplinary "boot camps" for nonviolent first-time offenders. Favors tougher penalities for white-collar criminals and those who violate environmental laws, but at the same time wants a reduction in the number of people in prisons. -PATHNAME- /usr/local/etc/httpd/plweb/DBGROUPS/paper/database/tape/92/sep/day30/30081.

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