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CAMPAIGN 2000

Lieberman Insists Gun Control Record 'Very Consistent'

September 23, 2000|MATEA GOLD | TIMES STAFF WRITER

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. — Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman spent Friday morning in Florida talking to parents about child care. His message, however, was overshadowed by questions about his record on gun control.

At the Boynton Head Start Center in a poor South Florida neighborhood, Lieberman touted a proposal to boost the federal child-care tax credit and invest an additional $1 billion in the Head Start preschool program.

But afterward, Lieberman fended off questions raised by a story in Friday's Washington Post that said the Connecticut senator helped Colt, a gun manufacturer based in his state, keep one of its guns off the list of banned assault weapons in a 1994 crime bill.

In an interview, Lieberman insisted he has "a very consistent record" on gun control, "not just in words, but in votes" on Capitol Hill.

Lieberman said he supported Colt's effort to keep its Sporter semiautomatic rifle off the list of banned guns because the company insisted the gun did not meet the criteria of an assault weapon and promised to change it if it did.

In addition, the story said, Lieberman backed the gun industry when it fought legislation that would have prevented gun manufacturers targeted in liability lawsuits from declaring bankruptcy.

Lieberman said the bankruptcy issue was a matter of fairness. "There was an attempt to deprive these companies . . . the right that every other company has to declare bankruptcy and settle the claims if there's a judgment that goes beyond their capacity to pay."

The Post story noted that Lieberman is considered by the advocacy group Handgun Control Inc. to have a "solid" record on the issue.

The campaign released Lieberman's financial disclosure report and 10 years of tax returns Friday. The documents show that Lieberman and his wife earned an average of $202,660 annually in the last decade and paid an average of $42,136 in federal taxes. They gave about 3% of their income to charity.

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