Press Release

Giffords Law Center Calls on Senate Judiciary Committee to Reject Judicial Nominee with Extreme Views on Gun Safety

Lawrence VanDyke, nominee for US Circuit Judge for the Ninth Circuit, has a history of complete allegiance to the gun lobby

VanDyke once stated he believes all “gun control laws are misdirected”

November 19, 2019 — Ahead of the anticipated Senate Judiciary Committee vote on the confirmation of Lawrence VanDyke of Nevada to serve as a judge for the Ninth Circuit, Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence sent a letter imploring committee members to reject VanDyke’s nomination for his lengthy record opposing firearms regulation and lifelong commitment to the gun lobby.

In the letter, Giffords Law Center Executive Director Robyn Thomas states: “Giffords Law Center is compelled to warn this committee about VanDyke’s nomination because of his uniquely troublesome record. VanDyke’s dangerous commitment to gun lobby groups that oppose all firearm regulations and his advocacy for extreme, unconstitutional, and legally unsupported views on gun policy and the Second Amendment disqualify him from a life-tenured seat on the federal bench.”

Click here to read the letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The letter highlights how VanDyke’s lack of independence, impartiality, adherence to legal precedent, and fairness make him a poor choice for a federal judge.

Lawrence VanDyke served as Solicitor General of Nevada and Montana. VanDyke’s dangerous record in Nevada includes preventing the implementation of a voter-approved ballot initiative to expand gun purchase background checks. He argued at the time that the initiative was unenforceable by the governor, while aiding the governor’s refusal to take any steps to implement the new law. In Montana, VanDyke argued in favor of an extreme, gun lobby-backed law which would erode all federal firearms regulations within the state’s borders, despite courts repeatedly declaring the law unconstitutional.

As a candidate for Montana Supreme Court in 2014, VanDyke stated in a National Rifle Association (NRA) questionnaire that he believed all “gun control laws are misdirected.” He pledged to oppose gun safety measures like background checks and support dangerous policies like permitless concealed carry. He inserted a note into his questionnaire saying he resigned his NRA membership, but only so he would not “risk recusal if a lawsuit came before [him] where the NRA was involved.”