A Simple Reading of the Law is What Scares Gun-Control Activists

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posted on October 22, 2020
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Gun-control extremists oppose Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, but it is moving forward. Barrett is scheduled to get an up or down vote in the U.S. Senate next week. Gun-control activists are opposed to Judge Barrett because her track record is that of a judge who respects the law. 

In 2018, as a circuit judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, Barrett heard, and gave her opinion on, the Second Amendment case Kanter v. Barr (7th Cir. 2019).

“I spent a lot of time in that opinion looking at the history of the Second Amendment and looking at the Supreme Court’s cases,” Barrett told the U.S. Senators during the committee hearing. “So, the way in which I would approach the review of gun regulation is in that same way: to look very carefully at the text, to look carefully at what the original meaning was.”

When Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) asked Barrett to further explain how she might determine the original meaning of the Second Amendment, Barrett said, the “original public meaning, not the intent of any particular drafter” is what ultimately matters.

“The law is what the people understand it to be, not what goes on in any individual legislator’s mind,” Barrett said. “I respect you, Senator Lee, but what passes both houses, that’s the law, not any private intentions you have."

In her prepared statement for the first day of her hearings, Barrett wrote: “It was the content of [former] Justice Scalia’s reasoning that shaped me. His judicial philosophy was straightforward: A judge must apply the law as written, not as the judge wishes it were. Sometimes that approach meant reaching results that he did not like.”

After Barrett said there is a gun in her home, she was asked if she could “fairly” decide a Second Amendment case. Barrett said, “Yes.”

“Judges can't wake up one day and say I have an agenda—I like guns; I hate guns; I like abortion; I hate abortion and walk in like a royal queen and impose their will on the world,” she said. “You have to wait for cases and controversies, which is the language of the Constitution, to wind their way through the process.” 

The fact that she would read the Second Amendment as it is written is so terrifying to gun-control activists—people who want to read it out of the U.S. Constitution—that 31 anti-gun groups recently sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), “urging them against rushing to confirm a Supreme Court nominee with such radical Second Amendment views,” Mother Jones reported.

“Simply put: pushing through a nominee who may support the adoption of a radically dangerous interpretation of the Second Amendment would undermine the will and safety, health and well-being of all American people, including the constituents you represent,” the letter stated.

It says much about the extremism of these groups (which includes Everytown, Moms Demand Action and the Brady Campaign Against Gun Violence) that they feel the clear and obvious right to self-defense protected by the Second Amendment is a “dangerous interpretation.”

Thankfully, it appears Judge Barrett in no way shares this extremist view.

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