Saying, "We're going to take back the streets," President Bush proposed a $1.2 billion anti-crime package Monday that calls for hiring more lawmen, building more prisons and substantially toughening sentences.
Invoking the memory of lawmen killed in the line of duty the past year, Bush said he wants to hire 825 new federal agents and 1,600 more federal prosecutors and build prison space for an additional 26,000 beds."Today we have a message of our own," Bush said in a speech prepared for delivery at a memorial service for slain police officers on the steps of the U.S. Capitol, in a steady rain.
"We're going to take back the streets by taking the criminals off the streets," he said. "It's an attack on four fronts - new laws to punish them, new agents to arrest them, new prosecutors to convict them and new prisons to hold them."
Bush said he wants Congress to expand the federal death penalty to cover any murder committed with an automatic or semiautomatic weapon. Bush also wants to double to 10 years the minimum sentence for any person convicted of a crime with such a firearm.
Although Bush seems to be moving to impose a permanent ban on at least some semiautomatic weapons, he deferred a final decision until an ongoing federal review determines if the rapid-fire guns, as required by law, have a legitimate sporting use.
The president did, however, announce that he will propose legislation that would prohibit the importation, manufacture, transfer or sale of gun magazines that carry over 15 rounds for use by private citizens.
Bush wants to hire 150 more federal marshals, 300 more FBI agents and 375 new officers for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.