Washington, DC�The call today by Attorney General and National Rifle
Association Life Member John Ashcroft for the virtually immediate destruction
of all records of approved purchasers retained for the audit log of the
National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) is a death certificate
for the Brady law, the Violence Policy Center (VPC) warned today. The
VPC, a nonprofit educational organization working to stop gun death and
injury, was the first gun control organization to oppose the nomination
of Ashcroft for Attorney General. The audit log is the key tool in preventing
fraud and abuse of NICS. Earlier reports had stated that the retention
period would be cut from 90 to 45 days.
VPC Litigation Director and Legislative Counsel Mathew Nosanchuk states,
"The so- called `real-time' audit proposed by the Attorney General in
fact equals no real audit. By choosing the NRA over the FBI, the
Attorney General has put untold American lives in jeopardy. This ruling
will put guns into the hands of criminals, wife beaters, and the mentally
disturbed�guaranteed. This is an outrageous and dangerous action by the
Attorney General. During his confirmation hearings, John Ashcroft promised
that he would work to place public safety and law enforcement concerns
over the extremist agenda of the gun lobby. It wasn't true then. It isn't
The announcement is a 180-degree shift in Justice Department policy.
Just this month, Justice Department lawyers
filed a brief before the U.S. Supreme Court opposing immediate destruction
of the records. In the brief, Ashcroft's Justice Department lawyers
stated that there was a "particularly great" need to conduct audits "given
the confidential and valuable information the system provides." The Federal
Bureau of Investigation, Department of Justice, and Bureau of Alcohol,
Tobacco and Firearms have cited the need for the audit log to ensure the
integrity of NICS. This week the Court let stand a lower district court
ruling granting the Department authority to retain the records.
Adds Nosanchuk, "Today's decision isn't about sound public policy, but
bare-knuckle politics. Three days ago the Supreme Court gave the Justice
Department the clear authority to retain the audit log records. Today's
pandering action by the Attorney General proves that the NRA is not only
operating out of the White House, but running the Justice Department.
It's no coincidence that NRA Life Member Ashcroft is currently featured
on the cover of the NRA's America's 1st Freedom magazine."
Last month the VPC launched www.ashcroftgunwatch.org,
the leading source of ongoing information on Ashcroft, his pro-gun activities
and gun lobby ties, as well as his enforcement of current gun laws. The
site can also be reached through the VPC's main web site at www.vpc.org.