Amy Coney Barrett’s Confirmation Could Be a Huge Setback for Gun Safety Laws – By Matt Cohen (Mother Jones) / Oct 8 2020
“An ideal Supreme Court justice for the NRA, but a terrible one for the safety of the American people.”
In June, when the Supreme Court decided that it wasn’t going to take up any firearm-related cases in its next term, gun control groups were surprised and relieved. The nation’s highest court had nearly a dozen of gun cases up for potential consideration and a ruling on any one of them could have had a significant impact on the gun safety laws passed in numerous states since District of Columbia v. Heller 12 years ago, which overturned DC’s longtime ban on gun ownership and affirmed that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to own a firearm for the purpose of self-defense. And with a firm conservative majority on the Supreme Court—thanks to Trump’s appointments of Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh—it seemed poised that an expansion of the Second Amendment was all but inevitable. But it didn’t happen, scoring a major short-term victory for gun control advocates.
Now, with the Senate poised to confirm Amy Coney Barrett—Trump’s pick to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg—gun rights advocates are once again terrified about how the Supreme Court might dismantle gun safety laws. “Make no mistake: Amy Coney Barrett is a gun rights extremist who has no place on the Supreme Court, and we unequivocally oppose her confirmation,” says John Feinblatt, the president of Everytown for Gun Safety, the gun control group that’s largely funded by billionaire Michael Bloomberg. Shannon Watts, the founder of Moms Demand Action, a subsidiary organization of Everytown, echoes Feinblatt’s concerns: “Amy Coney Barrett’s alarming interpretation of the Second Amendment would make her an ideal Supreme Court Justice for the NRA, but a terrible one for the safety of the American people,” she says.
At this point, there isn’t much that Democratic lawmakers or any advocacy group that opposes Barrett can really do to stop Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s rush to confirm her. But a spokesperson for Everytown says that the two groups are nonetheless trying, focusing “on digital rather than in-person actions.” Their volunteers have helped to deliver more 35,000 messages opposing Barrett’s confirmation to senators, and the two groups have released a number of memos explaining why Barrett poses such a threat to gun safety laws, in hopes that they might have some sort of sway on any on-the-fence senators.