Remarks made by US Solicitor General Seth P. Waxman in federal court this week that “federal law enforcement officials are privileged to do what would otherwise be unlawful if done by private citizens” were immediately deplored by a top firearms civil rights leader.

Waxman told the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, during arguments in the on-going effort to prosecute FBI sniper Lon Horiuchi for manslaughter in the 1992 shooting death of Vicki Weaver at Ruby Ridge, Idaho that, “These federal law enforcement officials are privileged to do what would otherwise be unlawful if done by private citizens. It’s a fundamental function of our government.”

That statement brought an immediate condemnation from Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Bellevue, Wash.-based Second Amendment Foundation. Exclaimed the astonished Gottlieb, “A ‘fundamental function of our government?’ Somebody better remind Seth Waxman that this is the United States, not a police state!”

In August, Waxman raised the hackles of gun rights activists across the country when he said in a letter to one citizen that the Second Amendment does not extend an individual right to keep and bear arms. Waxman was defending remarks made earlier this year by Assistant US Attorney William Mateja, who was arguing a case before the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. In that case, US v Emerson, Mateja told a three-judge panel that the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms does not apply to individual citizens.

In his more recent verbal faux pas, Waxman also suggested to the court that the facts of the case are “irrelevant.”

That brought a sharp response from Gottlieb: “Decent, law-abiding American citizens should be appalled at this incredibly cavalier attitude, but unfortunately, considering who Waxman works for, they should not be surprised.”Gottlieb was alluding to Waxman’s service as part of the outgoing Clinton/Reno Justice Department.

“Seth Waxman’s statements clearly reveal the insidious anti-civil rights philosophy that has permeated not only the Justice Department, but the entire Clinton Administration for the past eight years,” Gottlieb stated. “From the White House on down, these people have considered themselves to be above the law. It really is time for them to go.”

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