by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Stephen Gutowski of the Washington Free Beacon discusses U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s views about constitutional gun rights.
Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s nominee to replace retiring justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court, has ruled on a number of gun-related cases in his time on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, including a written opinion that comprehensively explains his approach to determining whether or not gun laws are constitutional. …
… “In my judgment, both D.C.’s ban on semiautomatic rifles and its gun registration requirement are unconstitutional under Heller,” he wrote. “In Heller, the Supreme Court held that handguns—the vast majority of which today are semiautomatic—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 semiautomatic handguns and semiautomatic rifles. Semiautomatic rifles, like semiautomatic 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, semiautomatic handguns are used in connection with violent crimes far more than semiautomatic rifles are. It follows from Heller‘s protection of semiautomatic handguns that semiautomatic rifles are also constitutionally protected and that D.C.’s ban on them is unconstitutional. (By contrast, fully automatic weapons, also known as machine guns, have traditionally been banned and may continue to be banned after Heller.)”
“D.C.’s registration requirement, which is significantly more stringent than any other federal or state gun law in the United States, is likewise unconstitutional.”