Gunning for Judge Kavanaugh
It’s not just the wrongly decided Roe V. Wade decision that liberals fear is in jeopardy with the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh. They also fear their crusade against “semi-automatic” weapons may be exposed as the semantic, visual, and judicial fraud that it is:
"If you care about common sense gun violence protection, Judge Kavanaugh is your worst nightmare. If you want background checks, a ban on assault weapons, or any of the other common sense measures that we have in Connecticut, or California or New York, Judge Kavanaugh will strike them down." said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut, who used to clerk on the court. "That's in his record, it's indisputable."
"Give him a seat on this court, and you can say good-bye to the common sense measures in Connecticut, California and New York that have helped save lives," he added.
President Trump may very well have picked Brett Kavanaugh to be his second nomination to the Supreme Court based on his clear-thinking opinion that there is no asterisk next the phrase “right to keep and bear arms” that says it is okay for that right to be infringed based on a “scary” appearance or advancements in technology:
Kavanaugh, who has served on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit since 2006, dissented from a 2011 decision in which a three-judge panel upheld the District of Columbia's ban on so-called assault weapons and its requirement that all guns be registered. Kavanaugh disagreed with the majority's use of "intermediate scrutiny," saying an analysis "based on text, history, and tradition" is more consistent with the Supreme Court's Second Amendment precedents.
The D.C. "assault weapon" ban covers a list of specific models as well as guns that meet certain criteria. A semi-automatic rifle that accepts a detachable magazine is illegal, for instance, if it has any of six prohibited features, including an adjustable stock, a pistol grip, or a flash suppressor. "The list appears to be haphazard," Kavanaugh noted. "It bans certain semi-automatic rifles but not others -- with no particular explanation or rationale for why some made the list and some did not." In any case, he concluded, the law is inconsistent with the landmark 2008 case District of Columbia v. Heller.
"In Heller," Kavanaugh noted, "the Supreme Court held that handguns -- the vast majority of which today are semi-automatic -- are constitutionally protected because they have not traditionally been banned and are in common use by law-abiding citizens. There is no meaningful or persuasive constitutional distinction between semi-automatic handguns and semi-automatic rifles. Semi-automatic rifles, like semi-automatic handguns, have not traditionally been banned and are in common use by law-abiding citizens for self-defense in the home, hunting, and other lawful uses. Moreover, semi-automatic handguns are used in connection with violent crimes far more than semi-automatic rifles are. It follows from Heller's protection of semi-automatic handguns that semi-automatic rifles are also constitutionally protected and that D.C.'s ban on them is unconstitutional."
When the Constitution was written, both the government and the people had the same weapon -- the musket -- which could be called the semi-automatic weapon of its day. The Second Amendment did not come with an asterisk nor are any of our rights enshrined in the Constitution in any way dependent on technology. Judge Kavanaugh seems to recognize that fact.
When the Constitution was written, the musket was in common use as a personal weapon and was useful as a weapon of war. There was no such distinction when the Second Amendment was written. Supporters of “sensible restrictions” on gun ownership make the argument that the Second Amendment does not protect the right to bear an M-1 Abrams tank. That is a nonsense argument. Try to buy a functional fully-armed tank, or a nuclear weapon. Who will sell you one?
Tanks are designed to be used against other tanks. Guns that fire bullets one at a time such as the AR-15 are useful both in war and peace and are in fact in “common use” by the civilian population of the United States.
Former Navy SEAL Dean Raso is quoted in the Federalist as describing the AR-15 as in fact the ideal defensive weapon against heavily armed predators:
In the wake of the Orlando terrorist attack, the deadliest strike on U.S. soil since 9/11, Democratic lawmakers and progressive activists have responded by attempting to limit access to firearms -- particularly the AR-15, which was incorrectly reported as the weapon the terrorist used to kill at least 49 people and injure another 53.
In a new video, former Navy SEAL Dom Raso explains why the AR-15, the most popular rifle in the country, gives Americans the best chance of surviving in an age of terror.
Choosing to defend one’s home with an AR-15 is a commonsense choice, as it is powerful, accurate, and easy to shoot, Raso said.
Gun control legislation doesn’t stop terror attacks, he explained, citing the two terrorists who weren’t deterred by California’s assault weapons ban when they killed 14 people in San Bernardino last year. Nor would any gun ban have stopped the Boston Bombers when they detonated a bomb at the Boston Marathon, killing three and wounding at least 260 others.
Ironically, both of those incidents of terror were brought to a stop by armed police officers responding to the scene with AR-15s–the same weapon legislators are trying to ban.
“Why would you want to ban the gun you pray for police to show up with?” Raso asked.
Indeed, why would you? As one wag put it, a gun in the hand is betters than a cop on a phone and the response time for a bullet from an AR-15 fired in self-defense is a lot quicker than calling 911. Other non-scary weapons are just as lethal and the AR-15 has been chosen by popular demanded as the defensive weapon of choice, despite a nonsensical ruling by one federal judge:
As the Ferguson riots raged, U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake, appointed by President Clinton, issued a ruling that upheld the Maryland law, saying, "the court seriously doubts that the banned assault long guns are commonly possessed for lawful purposes… and is inclined to find the weapons fall outside Second Amendment protection as dangerous and unusual."
Now the Second Amendment, written in the era of muskets, does not mention what arms we have the right to keep and bear. But we have an idea, based on how they were used: to protect their owners' homes, businesses, farms and families, and to fight the tyranny of the British crown. It's been said that the Second Amendment was put in the Bill of Rights to protect the other nine.
Gun control advocates say, with some snarkiness, that the Second Amendment doesn't allow one to own nuclear weapons or tanks, so it's merely a question of where we draw the line. They would draw the line at the AR-15 and its counterparts -- which, despite the judge's claim, are commonly used for legal, defensive purposes.
The AR-15 is among the guns that must be registered. They've made up 50%-60% of U.S. rifle sales in recent years, federal figures show. The New York Times recently called the AR-15 "The Most Wanted Gun In America." Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., has been pushing a bill to reintroduce the ineffective assault weapons 1994 ban that expired in 2004 with no impact on the crime rate.
Critics of the Second Amendment say that they are not going after guns used for legitimate activities such as hunting. But when the Founders wrote the Second Amendment it was because the British were coming, not because it was the start of deer season. As Fox News contributor Judge Andrew Napolitano notes:
The historical reality of the Second Amendment's protection of the right to keep and bear arms is not that it protects the right to shoot deer," wrote Judge Andrew Napolitano recently in the Washington Times. "It protects the right to shoot tyrants, and it protects the right to shoot at them effectively, with the same instruments they would use upon us. If the Jews in the Warsaw ghetto had had the firepower and ammunition that the Nazis had, some of Poland might have stayed free and more persons would have survived the Holocaust."
The AR-15 is a defensive weapon, such as when it was used by a 15-year-old who grabbed his father’s AR!5 and used it to ward off home invaders:
Not only did this brave 15-year-old defend his home against 2 burglars, but also his 12-year-old sister who was in the house with him. He grabbed his father’s AR-15 and shot one of the burglars multiple times. They got away but had to go right to the hospital where the minor was arrested and the adult who was shot was flown to a different hospital.
If the AR-15 had been available in 1776, George Washington would have fielded an army armed with it, to be sure, but just as surely every farmer, blacksmith, carpenter, and shopkeeper would have grabbed an AR-15 on their way to the village green to protect the freedoms that some federal judges are trying to nibble away. A Justice Kavanaugh would see to it that doesn’t happen.
Daniel John Sobieski is a freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Investor’s Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.