As president-elect Donald Trump continues to announce appointments to his cabinet, this week he named Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) for his choice as attorney general of the United States.
This story from the New York Times says Sessions was also under consideration for the secretary of defense spot, creating turmoil amidst the Trump transition team.
Sessions is a former prosecutor who was elected to the Senate in 1996. He serves on the Judiciary Committee and has opposed immigration reform as well a bipartisan proposals to cut minimum prison sentences, but what would Sessions as the country’s top cop mean for gun owners and Second Amendment rights?
Here’s a preview. Back in January, Sessions spoke out about President Obama’s executive orders supposedly aimed at reducing gun violence, calling them misguided and saying they ignored the facts, according to this story from al.com.
“The proven method for saving the lives of innocent Americans is not disarming them. The proven method for saving the lives of innocent Americans is to arrest, prosecute, convict, and jail criminal offenders, especially armed career criminals illegally using guns,” Sessions said in the story. “This is the way to reduce gun violence.”
Later in the piece, Sessions is quoted as saying, “Crime is rising across the nation. Homicides are surging. Violent crime is increasing. And the Administration is acting to make it harder for law-abiding Americans to purchase guns while freeing some of the most dangerous felons in the world.”
It’s worth noting that, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), violent crime in the Unites States is continuing a downward trend that began in the late 90s. Homicides overall are down and homicides with firearms are down by 43 percent since 1991.
In June, Sessions spoke out in this story from politico.com against legislation banning suspected terrorists from purchasing guns, saying it may infringe on the constitutional rights of those wrongly entered onto terrorism watch lists, which are created in secret by government agencies with no review by a legal authority or due process. There is also no appeals process in place for those who believe they have wrongly been placed on any one of a number of watch-lists kept by the government.
“But a lot of people may be wrongly on the list. In fact, I’m sure there are a lot of people on that list that shouldn’t be on it,” Sessions said in the politico.com story. “So if you’re going to deny a person a Constitutional right like free speech or the right to have a firearm, then that person has to have an opportunity to explain that they shouldn’t be on the list…That’s what the difference is. Republicans have voted consistently to ban people on that list from having a gun, but to give them an opportunity to prove they shouldn’t be on the list.”