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Jeff Sessions

Wednesday, July 1st, 1998

United States Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama is the designated recipient of the CCRKBA Gun Rights Defender of the Month Award for July.

In nominating Sen. Sessions for the Award, John Michael Snyder, CCRKBA Public Affairs Director, stated that as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Youth Violence, “he has taken a leading role in countering the Clinton-Gore Administration’s attempt to blame youth violence on guns. He’s placing the blame where it belongs, on the faulty administration of justice under that same Administration.”

A native Alabamian, Sen. Sessions takes pride as a crime fighter who has served as Alabama’s Attorney General, as the U. S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama, and as an Assistant U. S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama.

Just last month, Sen. Sessions, criticizing the Clinton-Gore Administration, wrote that “despite the President’s tough talk about cracking down on guns, the Clinton Administration’s record on gun prosecutions is pathetic. Federal gun prosecutions have dropped drastically under the Clinton Justice Department. How President Clinton can justify calls for more gun control when his Justice Department doesn’t fully prosecute the laws we now have is a mystery to me.

“Take Project Triggerlock prosecutions. Project Triggerlock was formed by the Justice Department in the late 1980s to target the use of guns to commit other crimes. Despite the obvious importance of Project Triggerlock, the Clinton Justice Department has badly neglected these prosecutions. Project Triggerlock prosecutions have declined from 4,353 in 1992 to 2,844 in 1997, a decline of nearly 35 percent. Moreover, the decline in gun prosecutions is not limited to Project Triggerlock: Weapons and firearms cases generally have declined from 3,917 in 1992 to 3,184 in 1997.

“Given President Clinton’s consistent desire for more gun control, how could federal weapons prosecutions decline under his Justice Department? The answer is simple: the entire criminal justice division is in disarray. Unbelievably, the position of Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division has been vacant for nearly 1,000 days due solely to the delay of the Clinton Administration. It took President Clinton 31 months to nominate someone for one of the most important positions in the Justice Department.

“Not surprisingly, this inexcusable delay in filling the criminal division vacancy has severely affected federal criminal prosecutions. Without a leader, the Criminal Division has lost focus, and this lack of leadership has impacted more than just firearms prosecutions. Drug task force prosecutions declined nearly 10 percent from 1992 to 1997. As a whole, there were more total criminal prosecutions by the Justice Department in 1992 than in any year between 1993 and 1996, even though the number of Assistant United States Attorneys steadily increased during this period. In 1997, finally, there were more criminal prosecutions by the Justice Department than in 1992. However, an unusually large percentage of the 1997 prosecutions were immigration cases, which are much simpler to prosecute. Immigration cases artificially inflate overall prosecution statistics because they are easier to process and prosecute. In 1997, immigration cases accounted for three times the percentage of overall cases as they did in 1992. Without such a large number of immigration cases, the 1997 prosecutions would also be below the 1992 level.

“President Clinton finally nominated James Robinson as Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division on March 13. Mr. Robinson, a law school dean from Wayne State University in Michigan, has only three and a half years of criminal experience in his lengthy career. To his credit, however, Mr. Robinson seemed to appreciate the current plight of the Criminal Division during his confirmation hearing. Hopefully, he can bring badly needed direction to the Justice Department. One thing is for sure, with the current Justice Department’s record on gun prosecutions and crime generally, President Clinton is in no position to ask for more gun control.”

In addition his work on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Sessions serves on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, the Senate Select Committee on Ethics, the Joint Economic Committee, and the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control.