I know what the Constitution says about guns, but I am personally opposed (though resigned) to their very existence. Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito seems to believe they are vitally important to our nation. This is from an email I received today:
Judge Alito has shown a dangerous hostility to strong federal gun laws.
In a case involving the illegal sale of machine guns at gun shows, Judge Alito concluded that the federal machine gun ban is an unconstitutional exercise of Congressional power. If Alito’s extreme view prevailed at the Supreme Court, federal gun laws that protect our families could be placed in jeopardy. Possession of machine guns, which fire continuously with one pull of the trigger and can discharge hundreds of rounds in seconds, would no longer be a federal crime.
For this reason, the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence has announced its first-ever opposition to a Supreme Court candidate and has urged the Senate to reject Alito’s nomination. Please join us in opposing the confirmation of Judge Alito.
In the case of U.S. v. Rybar, gun dealer Raymond Rybar, Jr. attended a gun show in Pennsylvania and sold a fully automatic Chinese Type 54, 7.62-mm submachine gun and a U.S. Military M-3 .45 caliber submachine gun. Rybar was prosecuted for violating federal law, which barred his possession of machine guns. Rybar pled guilty, but argued that he should be set free because the federal machine gun ban is unconstitutional. In a 2-1 ruling, the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit held that the federal ban on machine gun possession was constitutional.
Judge Alito cast the dissenting vote, stating that the machine gun ban was an unconstitutional “novel law.”
Dismissing years of Congressional findings on the impact of illegal guns and criminal gun violence, Alito demanded that Congress and the President “assemble empirical evidence” for him to review in order to “protect our system of constitutional federalism.”
In Judge Alito’s view, if Congress provided him with such “empirical evidence,” that “might” be sufficient to persuade him to uphold the law. Alito also argued that Congress may not even have the power to regulate “the simple possession of a firearm,” as this “is not ‘economic’ or ‘commercial’ activity….” If Alito’s view became the law, it could place other federal restrictions on gun possession in similar jeopardy.
Alito’s dissent was sharply criticized by the other judges in the Rybar case as having “no authority” in the law. The majority stressed that Judge Alito’s attempt to create new hurdles for Congress and the President tramples “a basic tenet of the constitutional separation of powers.”
Even conservative Republican Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, in an interview on Meet the Press, agreed that Alito’s dissent represented improper judicial activism. Coburn stated, “Those aren’t decisions judges should be making. Those are decisions legislators should be making. And that’s how we’ve gotten off on this track is, that we allow judges to start deciding the law….” Senator Coburn went on to state that Alito’s Rybar opinion was “wrong” and amounted to “legislating” from the bench.
Judge Alito is a dangerous example of a judicial activist — twisting the law to fit his personal views. Alito’s nomination poses a threat to our nation’s gun laws and the public’s safety.
StoptheNRA.com offers an email letter to your senators here to express your opposition to Alito’s views on the second amendment.