Violence Policy Center Opposes Nomination of John Ashcroft
For U.S. Attorney General
National Rifle Association
Will Be Running The Justice Department Under Ashcroft, VPC Warns
WASHINGTON�The Violence Policy Center (VPC), a national organization
working to reduce gun death and injury in America, today announced its
strong opposition to the nomination of former Missouri Senator John Ashcroft
for United States Attorney General. The VPC announcement represents the
first time in the organization's 12-year history that it has publicly
opposed a federal cabinet nominee.
VPC Public Policy Director Joe Sudbay states, "During the 2000 elections,
the National Rifle Association claimed that if George Bush won the presidency,
the NRA would be working out of his office. Now they've gone one better.
If John Ashcroft becomes attorney general, the NRA will be running the
Justice Department." Issues cited by the VPC in its opposition to Ashcroft
Ashcroft would be the first Attorney General in recent history who has
been the beneficiary of massive spending by a special interest group
with a political agenda that is in direct conflict with the duties of
the office. During the 2000 election cycle, the NRA spent $339,237 in
independent expenditures on behalf of Ashcroft in his failed Senate
reelection bid. The NRA's PAC also made direct contributions to the
Ashcroft endorsed and worked on behalf of a failed 1999 NRA-backed referendum
in Missouri that would have allowed the carrying of concealed handguns
by convicted criminals, including child molesters and stalkers, throughout
Ashcroft supports NRA efforts to immediately destroy essential records
maintained under the Brady law's National Instant Check System (NICS)
that ensure the system's effectiveness and accuracy. Currently the records
are retained for six months.
Ashcroft voted last Congress to weaken the Brady law. During Senate
debate on whether to expand the current Brady NICS background check
to all sales at gun shows (not just those by federally licensed dealers),
Ashcroft not only voted against the measure, but voted for legislation
sponsored by NRA Board Member Senator Larry Craig (R-ID) that would
have weakened the Brady law by reducing the time allowed to conduct
the background check by all gun-show sellers�including licensed
dealers�from three business days to 24 hours.
Ashcroft opposes the federal assault weapons ban. In September 2004
the federal ban on specific assault weapons and new high-capacity magazines�which
is supported by virtually every major national law enforcement organization�will
come up for reauthorization by Congress. Ashcroft opposes the assault
weapons ban and twice voted in the Senate against a ban on the importation
of foreign-made high-capacity magazines. The Justice Department will
likely play a key role in determining what form the reauthorized ban
will take and whether or not needed improvements to the ban are made.
VPC Legislative Director Kristen Rand adds, "John Ashcroft will place
the health and welfare of the NRA and its gun industry allies over that
of the American public. What this means is simple: more assault weapons,
less vigorous enforcement of federal gun laws, and a rollback of the Brady
law. The Senate should not approve his nomination."
The Violence Policy Center is a
national non-profit educational foundation that conducts research on violence
in America and works to develop violence-reduction policies and proposals.
The Center examines the role of firearms in America, conducts research
on firearms violence, and explores new ways to decrease firearm-related
death and injury.
Thursday, January 4, 2001
Violence Policy Center