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What Has Amy Coney Barrett Said on the Second Amendment So Far?

By: Teresa Mull

Amy Coney Barrett, President Trump’s pick to fill the spot left by the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, has been grilled and preached at for the last couple days by members of Congress.

GPM has reported already that Barrett is supported by the National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR) for what appears to be a consistently constitutionaly minded understanding of the Second Amendment. Barrett has continued to reveal her stance on the subject during the course of her confirmation hearing.

Here are some gun-related highlights from the proceedings:

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham asked Barrett if she owned a gun and if she would rule fairly on Second Amendment-related cases. Judge Barrett responded:

"We do own a gun … 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. You have to wait for cases and controversies, which is the language of the Constitution, to wind their way through the process."

Fox News reports Barrett has shown her stance on the Second Amendment only once in court proceedings in the 2019 Kanter v. Barr case involving Ricky Kanter, who was prevented from possessing a firearm because he was once convicted of mail fraud. Barrett dissented, writing:

“Neither Wisconsin nor the United States has introduced data sufficient to show that disarming all nonviolent felons substantially advances its interest in keeping the public safe. Nor have they otherwise demonstrated that Kanter himself shows a proclivity for violence. Absent evidence that he either belongs to a dangerous category or bears individual markers of risk, permanently disqualifying Kanter from possessing a gun violates the Second Amendment.”

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) told Barrett her opinion in Kanter “…goes farther than Justice Scalia in [District of Columbia] v. Heller” and accused her wrongly of labeling her ruling as “radical.”

Barrett told Blumenthal:

“I concluded after surveying all of the arguments … that there was no blanket authorization to just take guns, the right to possess a gun away from someone who committed a felony. That sounds kind of radical to say felons can have firearms, but I think that’s because what the long-standing prohibitions were, and in fact had been even under federal law until more recently, were that violent felons couldn’t have firearms. And there’s a longstanding, what the history showed me, was that there’s been a longstanding practice of saying that those who have—who pose a threat of violence to the community cannot have firearms. And that makes sense, right? History is consistent with common sense. Those who would be risky with guns, who would pose a danger with guns, then the state can take guns away.”

Furthermore, NRA-ILA reports: “Asked to choose her ten ‘most significant cases,’ Judge Barrett listed her dissent in a Second Amendment case,  Kanter v. Barr (7th Cir. 2019), as her most important ruling.”

And if gun owners need more reasons to support Barrett’s confirmation, it’s important to remember Moms Demand Action and Everytown for Gun Safety are vehemently opposed to her taking a seat on the Supreme Court.

Teresa Mull (teresa@gunpowdermagazine.com) is editor of Gunpowder Magazine.

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