by Sam Bocetta, ©2018

(Sep. 25, 2018) — As the details of the contentious nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court continue to make headlines, one hot political issue that has played a key role in the Senate deliberations over the nomination is that of gun control, and specifically of the legal civilian right to possess and own an AR-15 rifle.

Specifically, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) challenged Judge Kavanaugh on the right to own an AR-15 during the Senate confirmation hearings when she argued that the AR-15 and similar semi-automatic rifles are “not in common use” with American civilians.

Over her career, Senator Feinstein has established herself as one of the biggest proponents of gun control in the Senate, and has attempted to get the original assault weapons ban renewed numerous times since the previous law expired in 2004.

Both Judge Kavanaugh and the National Rifle Association challenged Senator Feinstein’s assessment that AR-15’s were not in common use with American civilians.

The NRA in particular pointed out that nearly 16 million AR-15’s are currently in circulation with American civilians and are widely available at sporting goods stores as well as online marketplaces such as Gunbroker, Armslist, and the GrabAGun online store.

“Needless to say, there is nothing reasonable or moderate about banning what is literally the most popular class of rifles in America,” the NRA said in a statement.

For his own part, Kavanaugh has a history of supporting gun rights as a judge.  In 2011, he dissented in the U.S. Court of Appeals D.C. Circuit decision that upheld Washington D.C.’s assault weapons ban, which essentially banned all semi-automatic rifles with a detachable magazine in addition to a pistol grip, flash suppressor, or adjustable stock.

In his dissent, Kavanaugh argued that the law was inconsistent with the Supreme Court’s 2008 D.C. v. Heller decision that upheld the individual right to keep and bear arms.  He also claimed in his dissent that there was no “meaningful or persuasive constitutional distinction” between a semi-automatic handgun and a rifle, and also noted that handguns are used more often than rifles in violent crimes.

At the hearings, Kavanaugh continued to argue in favor of his pro-gun stance when he directly engaged Feinstein: “Semi-automatic rifles are widely possessed in the United States. There are millions and millions that seemed to fit the definition of ‘common use’ and not being a dangerous and unusual weapon.”

Senator Feinstein argued back that by “common use,” she was referring to the actual use of the firearms and not the number of them in circulation with American civilians.

She also went on to state that Kavanaugh’s reasoning in his 2011 dissent was “far outside of the mainstream of legal thought and surpasses the views of Judge Scalia.”

“If the Supreme Court were to adopt your reasoning, I fear the number of victims would continue to grow,” she stated.

While Kavanaugh’s fate remains yet to be determined, his past history as a judge and his direct debate with Senator Feinstein at the confirmation hearings strongly indicate that he would serve as a pro-gun justice if he is indeed confirmed.


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  1. When framing the U.S. Constitution our Founding Fathers did not mince words, use needless phrases, nor leave doubt in the mind of the reader. The Second Amendment reads: “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” One sentence formed by the Founding Fathers that is plain and simple to understand, except for Liberal Loons and RINOs.

    The Second Amendment has no ‘exception’ clauses nor sentences.

    Many pro and con debaters imply that the Second Amendment grants authority. Not so. The Second Amendment does not GRANT the citizens of the U.S. the right to keep and bear ‘arms’. The Second Amendment commands lawmakers not to make ANY laws banning or restricting the God-given right to keep and bear any ’arms’.

    All ‘arms’ laws directed at non-incarcerated U.S. citizens, including the laws requiring the need to be licensed to ‘carry’, are unConstitutional.

    When the Department of Justice starts prosecuting lawmaking politicians at all levels of government that make ANY laws that ‘infringe’ on our God-given right to keep and bear arms of any type, that’s the day that the Second Amendment will be understood.

    For U.S. Senator Feinstein: The AR-15 works great as it was designed, but will also be useful as a back scratcher with its raised front protruding sight.

  2. The right to bear arms is about the ability of citizens to defend themselves. Perhaps the
    founding fathers should have stated in the Constitution that citizens have the right to use
    any type of weapon or force to defend themselves.

    “Time Outs” and “Safe Places” aren’t so safe or secure. To defend ones self equal or usually
    overwhelming force is required. As the saying goes, those who forget history are apt to
    repeat it…

    As I recall from history, when arms are gathered from lawful citizens bad things happen. By the way, what kind of police security does Feinstein have. Don’t they carry guns?