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NRA Gunning for Congressman in Full-Page Newspaper Ad WITH AM-Clinton-Crime Bill

April 11, 1994 GMT

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The National Rifle Association is targeting Rep. Charles Schumer, a chief author of the House crime bill, calling him ″the criminal’s best friend in Congress″ in a full-page ad in USA Today.

″He wants to rob the crime bill of $8 billion that could be spent building the prisons that put bars between criminals and your family,″ the ad set for Tuesday’s editions says of the New York Democrat who chairs the Judiciary Committee’s crime subcommittee.

″And squander all those tax dollars on programs like ‘diversion’ training, money to ‘increase the self-esteem’ of young criminals, and to pay for midnight basketball leagues,″ according to the ad sponsored by CrimeStrike, an NRA division.

Schumer, a gun-control advocate who has battled the NRA frequently, relished the criticism.

″I wear this like a badge of honor,″ he said. ″The NRA doesn’t give a damn about the crime bill. They’re scared about the Schumer-Bradley handgun control bill that will take guns out of the hands of criminals.″

That bill, co-sponsored with Sen. Bill Bradley, D-N.J., would limit handgun buys to one per month, require a handgun buyer’s identification card, increase dealer fees and require private transfers of handguns to be registered with the government, among other things.

Schumer has pushed the crime bill as a reasonable balance between punishment and prevention.

But CrimeStrike doesn’t see it that way.

″Don’t let Schumer waste your tax dollars to make friends with criminals,″ the ad says, urging readers to contact their members of Congress. ″Tell them you want a crime bill with $8 billion more to build prisons, or you don’t want their crime bill at all 3/8″

Two amendments likely to be considered on the House floor would increase the $3 billion in state prison grant funds to $10.5 billion. One is by Rep. Jim Chapman, D-Texas, and the other is by Rep. Bill McCollum, R-Fla.

Rick Sellers, chairman of the NRA-backed Criminals Cause Crime Coalition, said that of all the anti-crime methods considered, ″The only one that definitely works is locking up violent criminals. At the very least, it stops their crime spree.″