Another View: What a Justice Barrett might mean for the Second Amendment

Another View: What a Justice Barrett might mean for the Second Amendment

As the Senate Judiciary Committee began hearings Monday on the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, much of the attention focused on whether the committee should even be considering her at this late date, with so many Americans already casting ballots in elections that could shift control of the White House and Congress. There was widespread interest, too, in how Barrett would handle issues already before the court or potentially soon to be there, including challenges to the Affordable Care Act and the results of the November elections. One issue flying under the radar is gun control. It’s been more than a decade since the Supreme Court has taken up a significant Second Amendment case – largely, court observers agree, because the four conservative associate justices worried that they wouldn’t be able to persuade Chief Justice John Roberts to vote with them to expand the rights of gun ownership. If Barrett wins Senate approval to replace the late liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the conservatives might just gain that fifth vote. And that could be exceedingly dangerous for a country already awash in guns, potentially undermining efforts of California, New York and other states to overlay some measure of sanity on access to and use of firearms. The Supreme Court previously embraced the notion that the Second Amendment referred to the rights of states to maintain militias, which consisted of individuals who brought their guns with them in the event the state called the militia […]

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