President Bush, pushing his stalled crime package, declared it is time to "silence the guns here at home" now that America has won the Persian Gulf war.
Bush, speaking to an administration "crime summit" Tuesday, was interrupted by applause 10 times in a speech that drew on war victory themes and called for tough anti-crime measures at home."Because now that the shooting has stopped overseas, we've got to redouble our efforts to silence the guns here at home," Bush said. He said it was time "to give back our streets to America's families."
Bush spoke to some 650 police chiefs, state and local prosecutors and corrections officials on the final afternoon of a two-day Justice Department "crime summit" to push the administration's anti-crime initiatives during the current session of Congress.
He received three standing ovations from the crowd, which included FBI Director William Sessions. Bush was introduced by Attorney General Dick Thornburgh, who praised the president as "part of the coalition that has restored the rule of law in the Persian Gulf."
During the first three days of the allied ground offensive in Kuwait and Iraq, Bush said, "more Americans were killed in some American cities than at the entire Kuwaiti front."
Bush said, "Think of it - one of our brave national guardsmen may have actually been safer in the midst of the largest armored offensive in history than he would have been on the streets of his own hometown.
"It's outrageous, it's wrong and it's going to change."
The president said, "The kind of moral force and national will that freed Kuwait City from abuse can free America's cities from crime."
Bush renewed his push for Congress to alter the "exclusionary rule," a constitutional rule of law that excludes evidence seized as a result of illegal police conduct.