The White House said Tuesday President Bush would veto a gun control bill endorsed by four former presidents unless it were part of a comprehensive crime control package.
The House was scheduled to vote Wednesday on legislation mandating a seven-day waiting period for handgun purchases.The measure, intended to identify felons, is named after James Brady, the former White House press secretary who was severely wounded in the 1981 assassination attempt against President Reagan.
Presidential spokesman Marlin Fitzwater said Bush insists that any measure to identify felons or to restrict the sale of semiautomatic weapons must be part of an overall crime-control bill.
"Any bill relating to assault weapons or to the identification of felons attempting to purchase a handgun that is not part of a comprehensive package will be vetoed," Fitzwater said at his regular news briefing.
Fitzwater said the White House prefers an alternative measure, backed by the National Rifle Association, which calls for establishing a nationwide computer system to make instant background checks on gun purchasers. The measure is sponsored by Rep. Harley O. Staggers Jr., D-W.Va. Even so, Fitzwater said the administration has some problems with the Staggers bill, as well.
The Brady bill has been endorsed by Reagan and former Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter.