This is a partial transcript of "The Big Story With John Gibson," August 17, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.
In California, political leaders and activists are now pushing a legal crackdown on sexual offenders there. The measure pushes for tougher sentences for sex offenders and tighter restrictions if they are released. It will appear on November's ballot in California. They call it Jessica's Law. It's named after 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford, who was taken from her home and killed by a sex offender last year.
Mark Lunsford, what is this — you are out in California supporting this law. How would this law actually help?
MARK LUNSFORD, FATHER OF JESSICA LUNSFORD: Well, I mean, it puts them away longer, puts them in prison, up to life. And it also, when they get out of prison — if they end up doing 15 or 25 years — when they get out of prison, they are going to track them.
They are also making it so sex offenders and predators won't be allowed to be within 2,000 feet of schools, play grounds, they just have to stay away from kids. This is where it all starts. Jesse's Law is a stepping-stone to tougher legislation.
GIBSON: Marc Klaas, is this the cure-all?
MARC KLAAS, FATHER OF POLLY KLAAS: I'm sorry, is this what?
GIBSON: Is this the cure-all?
KLAAS: No, John. You know, there is no cure-all. But certainly, you know, there are a lot of very important pieces to a very complex puzzle and those pieces extend all the way from prevention at the front end to these kinds of punitive laws at the back end. And certainly for so long in our history, we have — I'm sorry, I'm getting feedback so this is difficult. We are giving them the benefit of the doubt and put them back on the street time and time again and that's going to stop.
This is going to bring California in compliance with some tough new federal laws that all states are going to have to be in compliance with and it's going to certainly cut down on the degree of predation that's going on out there.
GIBSON: Marc Klaas, you've done this a little bit, so I know you are fighting through that problem. Somebody will try to fix this.
Mark Lunsford, if this law would have been in place would John Couey not have been able to get near Jessica Lunsford?
LUNSFORD: If this would have been in place in Florida, no, this would not have happened to Jesse because Jesse's Law, it pertains to tracking devices and with tracking devices you have no absconders, it's not full proof, but it's a start. But yes, Jesse, there would be several kids still alive in Florida if tougher legislation would have been in place.
GIBSON: Marc Klaas, we are focusing on JonBenet Ramsey right now and this fellow John Karr who was arrested not far from where your daughter was killed in Petaluma. He turns up in Sonoma, the city of Sonoma, I believe, as a teacher and is arrested on possession of child pornography. He skipped the charge and went to Thailand.
How do we handle guys like this who seem to slip and slide around the system, whether or not he is actually the JonBenet Ramsey killer, he did get out from under a charge in Sonoma.
KLAAS: Yes, absolutely. What we need in legislation, and I believe this is in the federal package that President Bush just signed, is an ability to do comprehensive background checks on any individual who will have unsupervised access to children, whether it's part of their profession or their volunteer activities.
Now, we know from our recent history with the slew of school teachers, the religious leaders, the priests, the little league coaches that these individuals who have a predisposition to have sex with our children work very, very hard to put themselves in position where they will have this unsupervised access. So you cut that off, and you are going to save a lot of children from molestation.
GIBSON: Marc Klaas, before I go to your colleague Mark Lunsford there, Marc Klaas, there is a report that John Karr was fascinated with the Polly Klaas case and was in contact with some figures in the Polly Klaas case. Had you ever heard of this guy?
KLAAS: No, you know, John, I never heard of this guy before yesterday and as I understand it he has been corresponding with Polly's killer. And I got to tell you, this character makes my skin crawl. Not only for what he has been accused of but the fact that he moved to Petaluma to pursue leads in my daughter's case. He has fallen in love with dead little girls. The sooner they put this character away and keep him away the safer all of our children will be.
GIBSON: What do you make, Marc, of the fact that there seems to be some problems with his confession? It's gotten a little strange around the edges, confessing to drugging her when nothing showed up in the toxicology report?
KLAAS: I have been skeptical of the guy from the moment I heard about it. There are issues that have not been dealt with in the initial case that I think are still outstanding. So when I heard that they had arrested this guy, it really didn't make any sense at the time and it certainly doesn't make any more sense now. I think you are going to start seeing people step away from the initial onslaught of self-congratulatory backslapping.
GIBSON: Mark Lunsford, do you have any additional thoughts about John Karr and the arrest?
LUNSFORD: No, I don't really have any comments about it.
GIBSON: All right. Mark Lunsford and Marc Klaas, thanks very much. New law on the ballot in November in California. Good to talk to both of you.
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