John Ashcroft

Sunday, March 1st, 1998

Sen. John Ashcroft of Missouri is the designated recipient of the CCRKBA Gun Rights Defender of the Month Award for March.

In nominating Ashcroft for the Award, John Michael Snyder, CCRKBA Public Affairs Director, said that the U. S. Senator “is an experienced, elected public official who understands that, very often, personnel is policy. That is why it was so important that he took the lead in trying to prevent the confirmation of Dr. David Satcher, the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as Surgeon General of the United States.

“Sen. Ashcroft knows that Satcher, a notorious anti-gun medical bureaucrat, could use the joint posts of Surgeon General and Assistant Health Secretary as a perch from which to continue and to amplify his attacks on the individual Second Amendment civil right of law-abiding American citizens to keep and bear arms.

“Even though he was not successful in this instance and Satcher was confirmed last month, we’re glad that Sen. Ashcroft, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, did step out in front in the Satcher matter. His action puts the scandal-ridden Clinton Administration on notice that some Senators at least will be looking at Satcher’s activities with a high-power magnifying glass. Sen. Ashcroft certainly is most deserving of this Award.”

Satcher previously characterized so-called “handgun violence” as a “public health menace.”

In late January, Sen. Ashcroft announced at a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D. C. that the confirmation of Satcher “would weaken seriously the influence and moral authority of the position.”

Ashcroft noted that he, Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott of Mississippi, and others had placed “holds” on the Satcher nomination. A “hold” means that the Senate cannot proceed to consideration of the nomination without debate. This eliminates the possibility of a merely formal confirmation vote on the nomination, as distinguished from a vote after thorough floor debate.

Ashcroft said that, even if Lott and others did lift their “holds,” which they did, he would maintain his. He said that if the nomination were to proceed, which it did, he would familiarize the Senate with all of the facts regarding the nomination before proceeding to a vote.

Last year, after the Clinton Administration submitted the Satcher nomination to the Senate, Alan M. Gottlieb, CCRKBA Chairman, said “we oppose David Satcher. He’s totally anti-gun. This is another slap at gun owners by Bill Clinton, who is the most anti-gun President in history.”

Shortly after his National Press Club announcement on January 20, Sen. Ashcroft noted in a statement prepared for POINT BLANK that “James Madison, author of the Bill of Rights, decried the Old World governments for ‘being afraid to trust the people with arms.’ He reassured his countrymen that they did not need to fear their government because of ‘the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation.’ One cannot help but question whether Mr. Madison would be so optimistic today.

“In a little over two years, the Clinton Administration has established itself as the most anti-gun administration in recent history. Under the guise of fighting crime, federal agencies and cabinet departments have supported policies which threaten the rights of law-abiding gun owners. These efforts include the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) support for research which portrays gun ownership as a hazardous activity, the Department of Education’s promotion of programs biased against firearms ownership, and the Forest Service’s proposal to outlaw firearms on public lands under its control. Unfortunately, administration officials forget a basic rule: CRIMINALS DON’T OBEY LAWS. Restricting firearm ownership may sound good, but it won’t stop crime, and it is an intolerable violation of our Second Amendment rights.

“Like the European despots from whom our Founding Fathers fled, today’s power brokers and policy wonks ‘are afraid to trust the people with arms.’ I don’t share their fears. Instead, I am fearful of a government that doesn’t trust the people who elected them. You have my assurance that I will continue to oppose legislation which infringes on the rights of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms.”

John Ashcroft, who was elected to the United States Senate in November of 1994, served previously as Governor of Missouri, 1985-93, as Missouri Attorney General, 1976-84, and as Missouri State Auditor, 1973-75.

Born May 9, 1942 in Chicago, Illinois, he graduated cum laude in 1964 with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale University, and received his Juris Doctor degree in 1967 from the University of Chicago Law School.

Ashcroft was Associate Professor of Law, 1967-71, Coordinator for Judicial Affairs, 1969-73, then Associate Professor, 1971-73, all with Southwest Missouri State University.

A member of the Assembly of God church, he and his wife, Janet Elise Roede, who also received her law degree from the University of Chicago Law School in 1967, are the parents of three children, Martha Patterson, Jay and Andrew.