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Ads Take Aim At Kids, Guns

Saying that the children of America are exposed to a volume and intensity of violence that no previous generation has ever seen, a coalition of groups - led by President Clinton and the first lady - rolled out a new ad campaign Tuesday aimed at breaking the cycle of violence in the nation's schools.

The new public service announcements, which encourage parents to talk to their children about violence, will be aired during Wednesday night's family hour by every major broadcast and cable network, reports CBS News Correspondent John Roberts.

The ads will include a toll-free number to call for a free booklet on how to talk to children, especially those aged 8 to 12, about safety and the dangers of weapons and gang violence. Similar radio ads are to begin airing later this month.

The ads are being privately funded by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, an independent health-care philanthropy based in Menlo Park, Calif., and Children Now, an independent advocacy group for children in Oakland, Calif.

The campaign's creators call it an unprecedented acknowledgment of how serious the problem has become.

Lois Salisbury, president of Children Now, says "The adult world has to rethink how we include and embrace our children if we're going to make a difference."

But in a day of candor over what is and isn't possible, the president said no one program or piece of legislation can solve the problem, even as he called on House Republicans to pass new gun control laws.

"Will they stop every act of violence? No. Will they prevent every madman? No. If we used that kind of excuse, we would all stay in bed every day," said Mr. Clinton, who was joined at the ceremony by Attorney General Janet Reno, Education Secretary Richard Riley and advertising and entertainment executives.

So, the president also announced more funding to attack the problem before it begins, giving another $15 million to community policing programs.

The ads are an outgrowth of a White House strategy session on children, violence and responsibility in May that followed the April 20 shootings at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo. Two students wearing black trenchcoats killed 12 classmates and a teacher and injured 23 others before committing suicide at the school.

A month later, a student wounded six of his high school classmates during a shooting spree at Heritage High School in Conyers, Ga.

Many people say nothing could have been done to prevent the shootings — but a new CBS News poll shows that almost as many believe better parenting might have kept them from happening.

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