Ashcroft Justice Department
Protects Terrorist "Gun Rights" While Putting Americans at Risk
Fly in Face of President Bush's September 20 Promise that "We will direct
every resource at our command�every means of diplomacy, every tool of
intelligence, every instrument of law enforcement, every financial influence
and every necessary weapon of war�to the disruption and to the defeat
of the global terror network."
General Ashcroft's Justice Department has decreed that the war on terror
ends where the gun lobby's interests begin, the Violence Policy Center
(VPC) stated today. The VPC's charge comes in the wake of the admission
today by the Justice Department that it has reversed prior policy and
banned law enforcement from checking the Federal Bureau of Investigation's
(FBI) National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) audit log
to determine if potential terrorists have sought to purchase firearms.
Confirmation of this
policy comes just one week after a VPC report, Firearms
Training for Jihad in America, revealed the contents of a jihad
training manual which urged Muslim holy warriors to exploit lax firearms
laws in the U.S. to obtain military-style firearms and weapons training.
The manual was located on an Internet jihad web site and was reportedly
found in terrorist safehouses in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Ashcroft has reversed established Justice Department policy, placing the
paranoid views of the gun lobby over the safety and security of all Americans,"
states VPC Litigation Director and Legislative Counsel Mathew Nosanchuk.
Prior to joining the VPC this year, Nosanchuk�an expert on the NICS�served
in the Clinton Justice Department, drafting many of the regulations regarding
use of the NICS. Ashcroft was featured on the cover of the July 2001 issue
of the National Rifle Association magazine America's 1st Freedom.
Adds Nosanchuk, "The
Ashcroft Justice Department wants to do everything to potential terrorists
except disarm them. They have been a bull in a china shop when it comes
to civil liberties, stretching their authority past the breaking point:
detaining suspects and witnesses, permitting eavesdropping on detainees'
conversations with attorneys, and authorizing military tribunals. But
the Ashcroft Justice Department walks on eggshells when it comes to the
special interests of the gun lobby, reading non-existent prohibitions
into the law and tying the hands of law enforcement."
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, December 6, 2001
Violence Policy Center
(202) 822-8200 x105