Times Square billboard to count U.S. gun deaths

November 05, 1993|By Newsday

NEW YORK -- They're calling it the "National Deathclock."

Starting with the New Year, the latest electronic billboard in New York's Times Square will count the number of people killed by guns in the United States, a new anti-gun group says.

The three-story digital clock, which also will track the number of guns in circulation, is to be erected atop a building on the northeast corner of 47th Street and Seventh Avenue, Robert Brennan said yesterday in announcing formation of the Dehere Gun Fighters of America.

It will be unveiled New Year's Eve as thousands gather in the square below for the traditional countdown to the new year, he said.

Mr. Brennan, a New Jersey businessman whose top-ranked racehorse Dehere is the organization's namesake, said the billboard clock would be the first of a series planned for other cities, including Newark, Los Angeles, Miami and Washington.

"Gun ownership and killings by guns has reached epidemic proportions," said Mr. Brennan, whose own brother was shot dead in a robbery 25 years ago.

He said more than 35,000 people were killed by guns last year, more than a third of them homicide victims slain by handguns.

"Our mission is to somehow cease the senseless slaughter of people, many of them children, caused by guns," Mr. Brennan said, adding that the clock would mark the start of a national communications campaign.

The numbers will change as gunshot death information from around the nation is collected, said Vivian Manuel, a spokeswoman for Mr. Brennan. The foundation is unsure how often the clock will be updated but Ms. Manuel said it probably would not be daily.

Mr. Brennan said the billboard would cost $250,000 to build and that the monthly rent for its prominent location would be $20,000. Mr. Brennan said he would be personally funding the lobbying group.

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