Attorney General Nominee Ashcroft Member of National Rifle Association

For Release:  Friday, January 26, 2001

How Can the Nation’s Chief Law Enforcement Official be a Member of an Organization that Compares Federal Law Enforcement Agents to Nazis, VPC Asks

WASHINGTON, DC As a member of the National Rifle Association, attorney general nominee John Ashcroft supports an organization that has labeled federal law enforcement agents – including those of the Justice Department’s own Federal Bureau of Investigation “jack-booted government thugs” and compared FBI agents to goose-stepping Nazis, asking, “What’s the first step to a police state? When the FBI states the rules.”

In response to this attack on federal law enforcement agents and officials, in 1995 former President George H. W. Bush resigned as a Life Member from the NRA, stating, “To attack Secret Service Agents or ATF people or any government law enforcement people as `wearing Nazi bucket helmets and black storm trooper uniforms’ wanting to `attack law abiding citizens’ is a vicious slander on good people.”

The NRA has also repeatedly attacked current FBI Director Louis Freeh for his promise during his 1993 Senate confirmation hearing to “enforce diligently and exhaustively” gun legislation passed by Congress. In his resignation letter from the NRA, the former president also defended Freeh, noting that his “integrity and honor are beyond question.” Bush concluded that “your broadside against Federal agents deeply offends my own sense of decency and honor; and it offends my concept of service to country.”

VPC Executive Director Josh Sugarmann states, “John Ashcroft faces a clear choice. Will he stand with federal law enforcement and enforce our nation’s gun laws, or will he continue to side with the NRA which compares the FBI, its agents, and Director Louis Freeh to Nazis. The answer was clear to former NRA member George H. W. Bush, and it should be just as clear to current NRA member John Ashcroft.”



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