Gun Safety Under Threat: How Extremist Judges Are Undermining Gun Laws
Courts wield a tremendous amount of power over gun safety laws. For years, trial courts, courts of appeal, and even the Supreme Court have affirmed the constitutionality of lifesaving gun laws. More recently, extremist judges have thrown established legal precedent and the progress of the gun safety movement into jeopardy, threatening the safety of all Americans.
Our report Gun Safety Under Threat: How Extremist Judges Are Undermining Gun Laws examines how a small number of judges can wield an outsized influence. Through opinions reversed on appeal and dissenting opinions, extremist judges on the lower courts can create the building blocks the Supreme Court needs to reshape Second Amendment law.
President Trump has appointed far more judges to the United States Courts of Appeals than other recent presidents in their first terms. Many of these judges have extremist views of the Second Amendment in line with those of the gun lobby.
On Friday, August 14, a Ninth Circuit panel ruled that California’s large-capacity magazine ban is unconstitutional, in a 2–1 decision written by a Trump-appointed judge. This decision makes the Ninth Circuit the first appellate court in the country to strike down a law like this, and further highlights the dangerous implications of the continuing nominations and confirmations of extremist justices.
Not only do gun safety laws predate the Second Amendment and not only have they been proven effective, they have been repeatedly upheld as constitutional. Yet the gun lobby continues to sue. And as more extremist nominees are confirmed, the higher the likelihood of dangerous outcomes that put all Americans at risk.
Gun safety advocates must protect lifesaving laws by demanding that elected leaders nominate and confirm judges who will defend long-standing constitutional precedent and our right to be safe from gun violence.
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