Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News

A Changing Federal Judiciary Offers Hope, but There’s Still Work to be Done

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

A Changing Federal Judiciary Offers Hope, but There’s Still Work to be Done

Since the landmark rulings in District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago recognized an individual right to keep and bear arms, anti-gun state and local lawmakers have preserved existing unconstitutional schemes and continued to probe the outer reaches of their authority to restrict firearms. Enjoying the tacit or explicit approval of some federal courts, this legislative adventurism has often gone unchecked.

Frustrated gun owners are in good company. In June 2015, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas wrote, “Despite the clarity with which we described the Second Amendment’s core protection for the right of self-defense, lower courts … have failed to protect it.” Later that year, Justice Samuel Alito took the federal courts of appeals to task for what he termed “noncompliance with our Second Amendment precedents.”

Sadly, these public admonishments have done little to curb lower court obstinacy.

In April, U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts Judge William G. Young upheld Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey’s unlawful interpretation of state law that resulted in a ban on commonly owned semi-automatic firearms. The judge ridiculously contended that the late Justice Antonin Scalia “would be proud” of the Bay State’s restriction. Young came to his strident conclusion despite the fact that Scalia joined a 2015 dissent from denial of certiorari in Friedman v. Highland Park, where Thomas made clear that the right to possess semi-automatic rifles is protected by the Second Amendment under Heller.

And in August, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld California’s Unsafe Handgun Act, which requires that all new models of handguns sold in the state after 2013 contain microstamping technology. The idea behind microstamping is that it will imprint a microscopic identifying code in two separate places on spent cartridge casings. The reality, however, is that this technology does not exist.

No matter. Despite Heller’s determination that the Second Amendment protects possession of those firearms “in common use for lawful purposes,” a panel of the 9th Circuit upheld the microstamping provision.

Control of the Senate is at stake in this November’s elections. If anti-gun lawmakers take the majority, they could obstruct all of Trump’s judicial nominations.

Thanks to President Donald Trump’s judicial nominees, however, there are reasons for hope.

Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY., and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, are intent on placing jurists that respect our Constitution on the federal bench. As of mid-July, Trump had successfully appointed 43 judges to the federal courts. The Pew Research Center says Trump’s 22 appeals court judges were the most of any recent president at that point in their first term.

Moreover, there is significant room for growth. As of early August, there were 151 vacancies throughout the federal courts and 84 nominations pending.

And, in nominating Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court, Trump has chosen a jurist with an impressive pro-Second Amendment record. In 2011, Kavanaugh employed a careful reading of Heller to determine that the District of Columbia’s ban on commonly owned semi-automatic rifles and registration regime were unconstitutional.

The nomination of a judge willing to faithfully apply the Supreme Court’s Second Amendment precedent has sent gun control advocates into a meltdown, as they fear their days of exploiting a lethargic federal judiciary could be coming to an end.

Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety wailed that Kavanaugh’s respect for Heller is “dangerous.” Brady Campaign Co-President Avery Gardiner said the nomination was “pretty scary” for anti-gun advocates.

Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., has framed the nomination debate in moralistic terms. Two weeks after attacking Kavanaugh for his fidelity to the Second Amendment, the senator declared at a press conference that those who do not oppose the nominee are “complicit in the evil.”

Gun owners must resist taking the opposition’s hysterics as a sign of total victory, as there is still much work to be done. Control of the Senate is at stake in this November’s elections. If anti-gun lawmakers take the majority, they could obstruct all of Trump’s judicial nominations. Moreover, our opponents are sparing no expense or tactic in their attempt to stop Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

In order to continue the important progress in securing a federal judiciary that respects the Second Amendment, gun owners must contact their senators to urge their support for Kavanaugh, vote for pro-gun candidates on Nov. 6, and mobilize like-minded friends and family members to do the same. Even given the promising signs, it will require relentless determination and effort to secure consistent respect for our Second Amendment rights.

 

"Originally appeared in the August 2018 National Rifle Association Official Journal magazines" 

Chris W. Cox

BY Chris W. Cox

Former NRA-ILA Executive Director

Follow This Contributor

Chris W. Cox served as the executive director of the Institute for Legislative Action, the political and lobbying arm of NRA, until 2019. As NRA’s principal political strategist, Cox oversaw eight NRA-ILA divisions: Federal Affairs; State & Local Affairs; Public Affairs; Grassroots; Finance; Research & Information; Conservation, Wildlife & Natural Resources; and Office of Legislative Counsel. Cox also serves as chairman of NRA’s Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF), the Association’s political action committee; president of the NRA Freedom Action Foundation (NRA-FAF), which focuses on non-partisan voter registration and citizen education; and chairman of NRA Country, an effort to bring country music artists together with NRA members in support of our Second Amendment freedoms and hunting heritage.

TRENDING NOW
Alabama: Important Lifetime Carry Permit Legislation Introduced

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Alabama: Important Lifetime Carry Permit Legislation Introduced

Today, January 22nd, legislation was introduced in the Alabama Legislature to create a new lifetime carry permit for state residents.

Bloomberg Dismisses Texas Hero, Insists It Wasn’t His “Job” to Have a Gun or Decide to Shoot

News  

Monday, January 6, 2020

Bloomberg Dismisses Texas Hero, Insists It Wasn’t His “Job” to Have a Gun or Decide to Shoot

Jack Wilson – a 71-year-old congregant of the West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, Tex. – is a hero to most Americans. When a deranged man savagely murdered two of Mr. Wilson’s fellow ...

Bloomberg Bought Virginia Legislators Introduce Confiscatory Gun Ban

News  

Monday, November 25, 2019

Bloomberg Bought Virginia Legislators Introduce Confiscatory Gun Ban

Michael Bloomberg’s bought and paid for Virginia legislators have wasted no time introducing legislation that would make the Old Dominion’s gun laws worse than those of the billionaire’s home state of New York.

New Hampshire: Bill to Shut Down Shooting Ranges Set for Committee Hearing

Thursday, January 16, 2020

New Hampshire: Bill to Shut Down Shooting Ranges Set for Committee Hearing

On January 23rd, the New Hampshire Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a public hearing on Senate Bill 469, sponsored by Senator Jeanne Dietsch (D – District 9), at 10:00 AM in Room 100 of the State ...

Virginia Senate Passes Three Gun Control Bills - Committee Advances a Fourth

News  

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Virginia Senate Passes Three Gun Control Bills - Committee Advances a Fourth

Last week, the Virginia Senate Judiciary Committee sent four gun control bills to the full chamber. The measures included an attack on the state firearms preemption statute and Right-to-Carry permit holders (SB35), a one-handgun-a-month bill ...

Washington: Mag Ban & Other Bills Heading to Senate Floor

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Washington: Mag Ban & Other Bills Heading to Senate Floor

On January 23rd, the Washington Senate Law & Justice Committee approved three anti-gun bills, among them Senate Bill 6077 to ban most standard capacity magazines. These bills are now headed to the Rules Committee awaiting being pulled ...

Los Angeles Backs Down, Repeals Controversial Ordinance Targeting NRA

News  

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Los Angeles Backs Down, Repeals Controversial Ordinance Targeting NRA

FAIRFAX, Va. — The Los Angeles City Council today voted to formally repeal a controversial city ordinance requiring contractors seeking to do business with the city to disclose ties to the National Rifle Association (NRA). The ...

Virginia Gov. Northam Wants Millions in Tax Money to Ban Guns and Jail Gun Owners!

News  

Monday, January 6, 2020

Virginia Gov. Northam Wants Millions in Tax Money to Ban Guns and Jail Gun Owners!

In recent weeks NRA-ILA informed Virginia gun owners about gun control funding included in the state budget bill. The budget legislation, HB30, included a $250,000 appropriation to the Corrections Special Reserve Fund in order to provide for the ...

Sorry Shannon, But Those “Random Civilians” Are What Are Known As NRA Members

News  

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Sorry Shannon, But Those “Random Civilians” Are What Are Known As NRA Members

We were well aware that after New York billionaire Michael Bloomberg spent a cool $2.5 million on his latest acquisition, majority control of the Virginia General Assembly, law-abiding gun owners in The Old Dominion would see an onslaught of legislation ...

Missouri: Gun Bills Filed for 2020 Session

Friday, January 10, 2020

Missouri: Gun Bills Filed for 2020 Session

With the 2020 Missouri legislative session starting, legislators have filed pro-gun and anti-gun legislation. See below for information on some of the bills that have been introduced to date. Your NRA-ILA will keep you informed of ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.