Washington, D.C. –-(Ammoland.com)- With the contentious confirmation hearings over, it now looks very likely that Brett Kavanaugh will be confirmed as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. This will have a major effect on the battle to protect our Second Amendment rights on several fronts.
Kavanaugh is best noted for his dissent in the October 2011 ruling in Heller v. District of Columbia. In his dissent from that ruling, Kavanaugh stated that he would have struck down DC’s ban on certain 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,” he wrote.
The FBI’s crime statistics show that Kavanaugh accurately stated the obvious about the rarity of any rifle, much less the dreaded AR-15, being misused in a crime. But under other standards, these rifles are in common use – at least five million were in private hands as of 2016, according to CNBC.
In and of itself, this makes it very likely that we could see semi-auto bans like those in New Jersey and California struck down should the proper case come up. But the effects don’t just stop there. The fact is, once you have stronger statements from the Supreme Court on the Second Amendment, some efforts by Michael Bloomberg and others who seek to take away our rights become harder.
A repeat of Operation Choke Point will be far more risky in the sense that this time, it will be targeting a constitutional right. So will Andrew Cuomo’s shenanigans with bank regulations, for the same reason. Yes, loyal Ammoland readers know that the Second Amendment is a right, but some firm declarations by the Supreme Court – beyond the Heller and McDonald decisions – would help matters a great deal on that front.
The court rulings would also have an effect on the push for corporate gun control that is now a major concern. Put it this way, would Bank of America really close accounts of licensed dealers who sell AR-15s if the Supreme Court ruled that ownership was constitutionally protected? Would Citigroup seek to end lending to firearms manufacturers who make modern sporting rifles in those cases as well? We can’t be 100 percent sure the answer would be no, but the Supreme Court ruling would not hurt the cause of Second Amendment advocates in this fight.
There is a potential downside to the Kavanaugh nomination.
You might seem surprised about this, but hear me out. His nomination, and ruling striking down semi-auto bans, or the “may issue” approach used by New York, California, Maryland, and some other states could breed complacency among supporters of the Second Amendment.
The fact is, those who oppose our Second Amendment rights are not going to just pack it in. Worse, this time, there has been talk of trying to annul the Trump presidency. How do you annul Supreme Court appointments? Well, one way is to impeach justices… but that takes a two-thirds vote, a margin not reached in decades. The other option could be to pack the court with justices who would be committed to overturn Heller and any other pro-Second Amendment decision.
The Democrats did reach a total of 60 seats in the Senate after the 2008 election to go with control of the House of Representatives. Now, the 2008 election was a rare landslide, but Charles Schumer, a staunch enemy of our Second Amendment rights who has long waged a fight to maintain left-wing control of the courts, may decide to use the nuclear option to ram through a SCOUTS-packing scheme.
One other campaign will precede that power play – one intended to make support of the Second Amendment akin to being a smoker. In short, you may have the legal right to own a gun, but the media and entertainment outlets will be blaring out all sorts of nonsense to get your friends and neighbors to drop you unless you drop the Second Amendment. That will be the hardest, because it will involve interaction, and there will be a lot of up-close-and-personal rejection, despite your best efforts.
The confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh will not mark the end of the fight, or even the beginning of the end. What it will do is mark a shift in the fight – and one that will require new strategies and approaches to keep our right to keep and bear arms secure.
About Harold Hutchison
Writer Harold Hutchison has more than a dozen years of experience covering military affairs, international events, U.S. politics and Second Amendment issues. Harold was consulting senior editor at Soldier of Fortune magazine and is the author of the novel Strike Group Reagan. He has also written for the Daily Caller, National Review, Patriot Post, Strategypage.com, and other national websites.