DOJ Remains Silent on Introduction of Ashcroft NRA Letter in Case�
Opposes Introduction of VPC Analysis of Ashcroft NRA Letter
WASHINGTON, DC�The Violence Policy Center (VPC) learned this week that
the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is opposing an effort by law professors
David Yassky and Carl T. Bogus�who are friends-of-the-court in U.S.
v. Emerson�to have the recent VPC study, Shot
Full of Holes: Deconstructing John Ashcroft's Second Amendment,
considered by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in the Emerson case.
The VPC study analyzes Attorney General John Ashcroft's May letter to
the National Rifle Association in which he reverses longstanding Justice
Department policy and argues that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual
right to keep and bear arms. The request by the attorneys came after appellee
Timothy Joe Emerson submitted the Ashcroft letter to the court for consideration.
Paradoxically, the Department has not voiced opposition to Emerson's introduction
of the Ashcroft letter.
The DOJ calls the VPC study an "unauthorized supplemental brief." Yet
the VPC analysis of the Ashcroft letter introduced by the two attorneys
is directly related to Emerson's submission of the letter and would
actually support the Department of Justice's�as opposed to Ashcroft's�position
in the case.
VPC Litigation Director and Legislative Counsel Mathew Nosanchuk states,
"The Violence Policy Center has said repeatedly that when it comes to
the Ashcroft Justice Department and our nation's gun laws, watch what
they do, not what they say. And once again, the Ashcroft Justice Department
is saying one thing and doing another. This action clearly benefits domestic
abusers like Timothy Joe Emerson and others intent on dismantling our
nation's gun laws."
Last week the VPC filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with
the U.S. Department of Justice for all documents related to the Department's
shift in its position on the Second Amendment. The VPC FOIA request seeks
to shed light on how this dramatic shift�in which DOJ now states that
the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms�came