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GOP Foes Won't Stop $50 Gun
Buy-Back Plan, Clinton Says

Written by James Dao - THE NEW YORK TIMES 

CLEVELAND - Defying congressional Republicans, the Clinton
administration says that it will continue paying local governments to
buy back guns from private owners despite orders from House
budget appropriators to end the program. 

Known as Buyback America, the $15 million program is intended to
reduce gun violence in cities, particularly around public housing
projects, by helping police and housing authorities buy firearms for
about $50 each, with no questions asked. 

Since President Clinton unveiled the program last September, 70
cities, including San Francisco, Hartford, Conn., Atlanta, Baltimore,
Newark, N.J., and Houston have spent $3.5 million to buy more than
17,300 guns, most of which have been destroyed. 

But from its inception, the program has been sharply criticized by
the National Rifle Association and by opponents of gun control in
Congress, as a waste of money that does little to take guns from

In June, Rep. James Walsh, R-N.Y., chairman of the House
Appropriations subcommittee that oversees the Department of
Housing and Urban Development, told HUD Secretary Andrew
Cuomo to stop financing the program. 

In a letter to Cuomo, Walsh said existing law did not authorize such
spending, a position supported by the General Accounting Office, a
nonpartisan congressional research agency. Programs in at leas the gun lobby and other opponents of common-sense gun safety
measures continue to challenge this initiative," Clinton says in the
statement. "Congress should put the public safety interests of
American families above those of the gun lobby and support these
efforts instead of working to undermine them." 

Walsh denied that he had been pressured by the NRA or its allies in

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