BELLEVUE, WA – Emboldened by their new authority as majority party members of the United States Senate, New Yorker Charles Schumer and Massachusetts’ Edward Kennedy are mounting a witch hunt against Attorney General John Ashcroft for his pro-civil rights philosophy, said leaders of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA).

Schumer, now chairman of the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on administrative oversight, and Kennedy, a member of that committee, demanded Thursday that Ashcroft turn over all internal memoranda and documents related to his decision to purge gun purchase files after one day to protect buyers’ privacy rights. Both liberal Democrats have long histories of virulence toward American gun owners, and their individual rights under the Second Amendment.

“This is nothing more than a vicious attempt by Schumer and Kennedy to prevent Attorney General Ashcroft from correcting years of gun rights abuses under the Clinton Administration and Congressional Democrat leadership,” said CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb. “American gun owners are getting their first glimpse of the kind of anti-gun inquisition an unbridled Chuck Schumer and Ted Kennedy have salivated for since Democrats regained Senate control.”

Added CCRKBA Executive Director Joe Waldron: “Kennedy and Schumer are getting desperate, and are resorting to any measure they can to cloud the important issue surrounding the individual right interpretation now properly accorded the Second Amendment. They’ve been mischaracterizing the meaning of the Second Amendment for so long, they are beginning to believe their own propaganda.”

The two liberal Democrats have threatened to subpoena Ashcroft’s documents. They have also asked for all reports, documents and memoranda from the FBI for the past three years that support their contention that background check information must be kept for several months.

The National Instant Check System (NICS) went on line in November 1998. By law, transaction records must be destroyed. Under the Clinton/Reno Justice Department, those files were retained for up to six months. Recently, the retention period was reduced to 90 days, but Ashcroft believes records should be destroyed after 24 hours to protect the privacy of gun owners.

“Chuck Schumer and Ted Kennedy are finally faced with someone in the Attorney General’s office who believes gun owners have civil rights, and they just can’t stand it,” Gottlieb commented. “We predicted just this kind of tantrum-driven, extremist leadership if Schumer and Kennedy ever returned to positions of power.”