Judge Barrett and the Second Amendment

Judge Barrett and the Second Amendment

We’ve been beating this drum for quite a while now, but the just-completed Senate testimony of Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett reminds us that the High Court has let a fair number of Second Amendment cases go by the boards since the Heller decision 12 years ago. Having testified before the Senate that she would stick to the “original meaning” of the Second Amendment and that “its original public meaning, not the intent of any particular drafter” is what’s important, Barrett saw the Left zero in on one particular case she heard as part of the Seventh Circuit. In Kanter v. Barr , Barrett was the lone dissenter in a case where the plaintiff, convicted in a nonviolent felony fraud case, sued to regain the right to bear arms he’d lost due to that conviction. To open her dissent, Barrett explained, “History is consistent with common sense: it demonstrates that legislatures have the power to prohibit dangerous people from possessing guns. But that power extends only to people who are dangerous. Founding-era legislatures did not strip felons of the right to bear arms simply because of their status as felons. Nor have the parties introduced any evidence that founding-era legislatures imposed virtue-based restrictions on the right; such restrictions applied to civic rights like voting and jury service, not to individual rights like the right to possess a gun. In 1791 — and for well more than a century afterward — legislatures disqualified categories of people from the right […]

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