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U.S. Supreme Court (Finally) Takes Another Second Amendment Challenge to a Gun Control Law

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a Second Amendment challenge to a gun control law for the first time in nearly 10 years. Arguments in the case will likely be heard during the court’s next term, which starts in October.

During the opening decade of the 21st Century, the U.S. Supreme Court issued two landmark rulings that many hoped would revitalize the Second Amendment, which had been all but read out of the Constitution by activist lower judges that favored banning or heavily restricting firearms.

District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) and McDonald v. City of Chicago (2010) made abundantly clear that the Second Amendment is a fundamental civil right and should be respected as such by the nation’s courts and public officials.

That did not happen. 

Instead, the rulings seemed mainly to energize the resistance to the right to keep and bear arms both within and without the judicial system. 

Billionaires turned social engineers – most notably Michael Bloomberg – created a new industry around more sophisticated and organized anti-gun efforts. 

Elite universities created research departments entirely devoted to engineering empirical support for gun control and rewriting American history as it pertains the Second Amendment and gun ownership.

The same judges with their same lifetime appointments who refused to acknowledge the obvious import of the Second Amendment’s history and text refused to acknowledge the obvious import of the Heller and McDonaldopinions. 

And one lower court decision after another upheld the most sweeping and oppressive forms of gun control, including bans on America’s most popular riflesbans on magazines used for self-defensebans on dealer sales of handguns to military-aged adultsmandatory handgun licensing fees of $340discretionary licensing for the carrying of firearmslengthy waiting periods to acquire guns, and infeasible manufacturing requirements that effectively ban new models of handguns.

Throughout it all, the high court seemed to have turned its back on the Second Amendment, refusing review in case after case. This sometimes provoked impassioned dissents from justices who believed the Second Amendment was being treated as a “disfavored right” and a “constitutional orphan.” 

Only once in all this time did the U.S. Supreme Court revisit the Second Amendment in an unsigned opinion that summarily reversed, without argument, a Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court opinion that upheld the state’s ban on electrically-powered “stun guns.” 

That changed on Tuesday when the high court granted review to the NRA-backed case of New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. City of New York. This case concerns a challenge under the Second Amendment and other constitutional provisions to New York City regulations that effectively ban law-abiding handgun owners from traveling outside the city with their own secured and unloaded handguns.

The bizarre and unique nature of this regulation – apparently the only one of its kind in the nation – and the exceedingly thin “public safety” justification for it potentially make the case low-hanging fruit for another positive Second Amendment ruling. 

But whether the Supreme Court will use the occasion to bring lower court defiance of the Second Amendment to heel or simply to rule narrowly on this particular regulation remains to be seen.

The development does, however, underscore the importance to gun owners of President Trump’s appointments to the high court, including Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brent Kavanaugh. 

The latter replaced Justice Anthony Kennedy, who was considered the crucial swing vote in the Heller and McDonald cases. Yet Kennedy’s sustained commitment to a robust Second Amendment was always in question, leading to speculation that neither the court’s pro- or anti-gun blocs had the confidence to take another case.

Unlike Kennedy, however, Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh are committed originalists, the same mode of judicial interpretation that the late Justice Antonin Scalia used in authoring the Heller opinion. Fidelity to that method and to the court’s opinions in Heller and McDonald are the surest guarantees we can have that the Second Amendment will get the respect it is due by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Left-leaning pundits are already issuing hysterical predictions about what this development means for gun control in the United States. 

May they be right and then some. 

The more sober and mature outlook, however, is a wait-and-see attitude, along with a healthy appreciation of how President Trump’s appointments to the court may finally reenergize a Second Amendment that has been neglected for too long. 

Those appointments would not have happened without the steadfast work of NRA members who understand the importance of the U.S. Supreme Court as the final backstop against infringements of our Second Amendment rights. We may now be on the threshold of realizing the fruits of that labor.

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EDITORS NOTE: This NRA-ILA column with images is republished with permission. The featured photo is by Sofia Sforza on Unsplash.

With Senators Like These, No Wonder America’s In Trouble

As the smear campaign against Judge Brett Kavanaugh continues, it is clear that the anti-Trump resistance has brought out the worst in many Democratic Party Senators. Senators Chris Coons of Delaware and Mazie Hirono of Hawaii are Exhibit A in the cutthroat, gutter-class attacks to which Republicans must put a halt.

First, it was Hirono who told CNN’s Jake Tapper that Kavanaugh’s pro-life beliefs make sexual assault accusations against him believable. The block quote below highlights just one of the at least three times she mentioned Kavanaugh’s pro-life beliefs in a discussion about sexual assault:

TAPPER: Doesn’t Kavanaugh have the same presumption of innocence as anyone else in America?

HIRONO: I put his denial in the context of everything that I know about him in terms of how he approaches his cases.

As I said, his credibility is already very questionable in my mind and in the minds of a lot of my fellow Judiciary Committee members, the Democrats.

So he comes, and — when I say that he’s very outcome-driven, he has an ideological agenda, is very outcome-driven. And I can sit here and talk to you about some of the cases that exemplifies his, in my view, inability to be fair in the cases that come before him.

This is a person that is going to be sitting on our Supreme Court, making decisions that will impact women’s reproductive choice. He has a — he very much is against women’s reproductive choice.

TAPPER: Mm-hmm.

HIRONO: And I can tell you two very important cases in which he applied the same standard, but came to totally different results to make it much harder for women to get this kind of coverage.

So there’s — there are so many indications of his own lack of credibility. And I put that in a context.

TAPPER: It sounds to me like you’re saying, because you don’t trust him on policy and because you don’t believe him when he says, for instance, that he does not have an opinion on Roe v. Wade, you don’t believe him about this allegation about what happened at this party in 1982? Is that fair?:

Coons’ comments were, if possible, actually worse than Hirono’s. At least she’s just being a party hack, albeit on a critical issue. (Though she’s also a hypocrite — Hirono is a supporter of Planned Parenthood despite the abortion company’s complicity in hiding sex abuse.) Coons is a Yale Law graduate, which means he knows better than to say that Kavanaugh has the burden of proof regarding innocence.

Yet that’s exactly what he did on MSNBC:

Mr. Coons said that Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez “have nothing to gain” and have put themselves “at legal risk” by accusing Mr. Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct in his teen years.

“It is Judge Kavanaugh who is seeking a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court and who I think now bears the burden of disproving these allegations,” said Mr. Coons in a Monday interview on MSNBC, “rather than Dr. Ford and Deborah Ramirez who should be dismissed with slanderous accusations.”

This pathetic effort at #Resistance to President Donald Trump’s excellent nominee would be laughable if it wasn’t so serious. It’s past time for the hackery to stop and for Kavanaugh to be approved to the U.S. Supreme Court.


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EDITORS NOTE: This column is republished with permission.

Kavanaugh Allegations: Aimed at Justice or at a Justice?

Why would someone sit on an allegation for nearly six weeks, if were about a subject that everyone is supposed to be concerned about? Perhaps it’s because they are more concerned about how to use the allegation than whether or not the allegation is true.

Welcome to Washington, DC where such political theater is regularly on display, the latest episode being Senate Democrats’ efforts to derail Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh with an eleventh-hour allegation of inappropriate behavior from more than thirty years ago. Whether or not the allegation is true is one thing. We should always be concerned about the truth. But how it is being used is another — and methods have the right to be questioned.

“It’s disturbing that these uncorroborated allegations from more than 35 years ago, during high school, would surface on the eve of a committee vote after Democrats sat on them since July,” a Senate Judiciary Committee statement read. “If Ranking Member Feinstein and other Committee Democrats took this claim seriously, they should have brought it to the full Committee’s attention much earlier.”

Quite true. Instead, writes the committee, Democrats “said nothing during two joint phone calls with the nominee in August, four days of lengthy public hearings, a closed session for all committee members with the nominee where sensitive topics can be discussed and in more than 1,300 written questions. Sixty-five senators met individually with Judge Kavanaugh during a nearly two-month period before the hearing began, yet Feinstein didn’t share this with her colleagues ahead of many of those discussions.”

At the same time, many (including many women who knew him years ago) have firmly vouched for his character and integrity. Additionally, as my friend Franklin Graham noted, “Judge Kavanaugh has been through 6 incredibly thorough FBI vettings and a multitude of other inquiries, and nothing even related to these 36-year-old allegations has ever come up.” We know that many progressives and opponents of our Constitution as it is written would love nothing more than for this whole process to be derailed. Given the way this has unfolded, we have every reason to believe Kavanaugh’s opponents don’t care about justice; they care about a justice — specifically, that he not make it onto the Court.

As Franklin reminds us, we must “[p]ray for Judge Kavanaugh, Mrs. Ford who is making this accusation, their families, and for wisdom and discernment for Senate leadership dealing with these post-hearing, previously unreported, allegations from his distant teenage years.” Indeed, in a situation like this, let us all pray — for the good of our Constitution and our nation — that truth, justice, and righteousness would prevail.


Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.


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