Senator Dianne Feinstein, from California, has pretty much made it her life’s mission in the Senate to fight against private gun ownership in the United States. She has led numerous pushes for legislation that would ban and highly regulate semi-automatic firearms in the past. So, it was no surprise when Feinstein questioned Supreme Court Nominee Neil Gorsuch on the Second Amendment.
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Here is how the exchange went down:
Feinstein: In D.C. v. Heller, the majority opinion written by Justice Scalia recognized that, and I’m quoting, ‘Of course the Second Amendment was not unlimited,’ end quote. Justice Scalia wrote, for example, laws restricting access to guns by the mentally ill or laws forbidding gun possession in schools were consistent with the limited nature of the Second Amendment. Justice Scalia also wrote that, ‘Weapons that are more useful in military service, M-16 rifles and the like, may be banned without infringing on the Second Amendment.’ Do you agree with that statement that under the Second Amendment weapons that are most useful in military service … may be banned?
Gorsuch: Heller makes clear the standard that we judges are supposed to apply. The question is whether it is a gun in common use for self-defense, and that may be subject to reasonable regulation. That’s the test as I understand it. There is lots of ongoing litigation about which weapons qualify under those standards. And I can’t prejudge that litigation.
Feinstein: “I’m just asking, do you agree with [Scalia’s] statement, yes or no?”
Gorsuch: “Whatever’s in Heller is the law, and I follow the law.”
Feinstein: “So you agree with it?”
Gorsuch: “It is not a matter of agreeing or disagreeing, senator, respectfully, it’s a matter of it being the law and my job is to apply and enforce the law.”
Gorsuch’s record on the Second Amendment is a bit sparse. Here is some information from a CNN report:
Although Gorsuch’s record on the Second Amendment is sparse, gun control advocates are concerned about one case where he opined that the government should meet a tougher standard before prosecuting felons for possession of firearms.
Citing Scalia’s opinion Gorsuch wrote: “the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to own firearms and may not be infringed lightly.”
“Although Gorsuch’s exact views on the Second Amendment remain a mystery, several of his decisions made it harder to keep guns out of the hands of felons,” said Adam Winkler, a professor of Law at UCLA School of Law.
Here is video of the exchange: