BELLEVUE, WA. – His third term in the United States Senate scheduled to end in two years, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA) today said that Arizona Sen. John McCain should retire from public service, rather than seek re-election in 2004.

“John McCain began his Congressional career as a genuine war hero, running on a solid platform representative of the views of his Arizona constituents,” said CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb. “However, the past few years have seen Senator McCain increasingly turn his back on virtually every one of those principles, to the point that he not only no longer appears to be working with his own party caucus, he does not represent the interests of voters in his state.

“He has especially attacked the rights of gun owners, who are a major share of the voters in Arizona,” Gottlieb stated. “He has either sponsored or embraced virtually every recent liberal anti-gun proposal. Clearly, Senator McCain has developed his own agenda, assaulting rather than safeguarding the firearm civil rights of the very people who elected him.”

Added CCRKBA Executive Director Joe Waldron, “McCain hasn’t simply lost touch with the people who elected him, he has abandoned their free speech and gun rights to become a media darling. He enjoys hobnobbing with beltway elitists and the Far Left fringe. That may make him popular with the Sunday morning network talk shows, but it does not translate to serving the voters of Arizona.”

McCain’s attacks on the First Amendment rights of various interest groups, combined with his continued assault on the Second Amendment rights of gun owners, not only in Arizona but across the nation, convince Gottlieb and Waldron that it is time for McCain to step down at the end of his current term.

“Senator McCain has steadily distanced himself from the programs and pledges that earned Republicans control of Congress in 1994,” Gottlieb said. “His current views, as demonstrated by the legislation he advocates, are shared by a shrinking minority of career politicians who are out of touch with the interests and needs of most Americans.”

“John McCain has served his country, at times with great courage,” Waldron observed. “He would do the citizens of Arizona, and the country, an even greater service by not seeking another term in the U.S. Senate.”