WASHINGTON -- Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Strom Thurmond, R-S.C., said Tuesday he will introduce legislation to close a loophole in the 1968 gun control law that permits importation of 'Saturday Night Special' parts for assembly in the United States.
The .22 caliber pistol believed to have been used to shoot President Reagan was a popular model made of parts imported from Germany.
The 1968 law, passed after the assassinations of Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. banned import of small foreign handguns. But their sales flourished in the United States, where the imported parts were assembled.
Thurmond, a long-time foe of gun registration, said he will conduct hearings on a seven-point proposal aimed at dealing with questions arising from the assassination attempt.
The four bills he said are ready for introduction as early as Wednesday would:
--Ban imported parts.
--Make assaults on Cabinet members, and possibly White House staff members, a federal crime, as are assaults on members of Congress.
--Impose more severe penalties on people who use guns to commit crimes in federal jurisdiction.
--Require local law enforcement agencies to report to the FBI and Secret Service the names of 'anyone arrested for carrying firearms in or around the location of the president or a presidential candidate.'
Three other bills Thurmond said he would consider would:
--Encourage states to pass or enforce waiting periods for the purchase of a handgun.
--Impose capital punishment for murder under federal jurisdiction.
--Reform bail laws to allow federal judges to consider the 'danger to the community' in the release of a suspect instead of just making a decision whether the bail is enough to ensure his or her appearance at trial.