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Gun stance disqualifies Merrick Garland for Supreme Court

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Judge Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama’s choice to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, sits during a meeting with Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, March 17, 2016.

President Obama has nominated federal appeals court Judge Merrick Garland to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court. “He deserves to be confirmed,” said the president Wednesday, introducing Garland at the White House. “I couldn’t be prouder of the work that he has already done on behalf of the American people.”

Garland spoke of his fidelity to the Constitution and the law in accepting the nomination. “If the Senate sees fit to confirm me to the position for which I’ve been nominated today, I promise to continue on that course.”

Although Garland has been praised as a “moderate” by Democrats and some Republicans, his stance on the Second Amendment most certainly is not. And that makes him unfit to serve on the Supreme Court.

Garland has a long history of supporting firearm registration, has argued semi-automatic rifle bans are constitutional and believes the right for an individual to own a handgun, specifically in Washington, D.C., doesn’t exist.

In fact, in 2007 Garland voted to uphold District handgun bans, including bans on ownership inside private homes, despite a D.C. circuit court striking it down.

“With Justice Scalia’s tragic passing, there is no longer a majority of support among the justices for the fundamental, individual right to own a firearm for self-defense,” said Chris Cox, executive director of NRA-ILA in a statement. “Four justices believe law-abiding Americans have that right — and four justices do not. President Obama has nothing but contempt for the Second Amendment and law-abiding gun owners.”

“Obama has already nominated two Supreme Court justices who oppose the right to own firearms and there is absolutely no reason to think he has changed his approach this time. In fact, a basic analysis of Merrick Garland’s judicial record shows that he does not respect our fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms for self-defense. Therefore, the National Rifle Association, on behalf of our five million members and tens of millions of supporters across the country, strongly opposes the nomination of Merrick Garland for the U.S. Supreme Court.”

The decisions in D.C. v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago, which reaffirmed that the Second Amendment not only applies in the states but protects the right of an individual to keep and bear arms, were absolutely crucial. The next Supreme Court justice will determine whether those rulings stand.

When Justice Scalia died last month, it was a sobering moment for the balance of the court and for the future of the country. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, along with Republican Senate Judiciary Committee members, have reaffirmed that hearings for Garland will not be held and that he will not be confirmed. This is based on principle and the vacancy coming in an election year, not on Garland’s record.

Should Hillary Clinton be elected president, Second Amendment rights will be at risk, given that any nominee from Clinton would have a Second Amendment record similar to that of Garland, if not worse. When the next president chooses a different nominee, the consequences and stakes will be much higher.

Katie Pavlich is editor of TownHall.com. Her exclusive column appears on the first and third Fridays of the month.

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