The political “hot button” issues of guns and judges have become intertwined in this election year. The fate of both issues will be decided by the candidate we elect as president. Why? Because over a four-year term, that president will likely appoint at least two and possibly three justices to the United States Supreme Court. Simply stated, this year when we elect a president, we will also cast our ballot for the next Supreme Court.
Everyone concerned about the Second Amendment and judicial accountability should heed John McCain’s speech to the NRA on May 16. The presumptive Republican nominee will speak directly to guns owners about the Second Amendment at the NRA’s Celebration of American Values event at the NRA Annual Meeting in Louisville, Kentucky.
And in America today, there has never been a greater opportunity or a greater threat to gun rights. In March, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the watershed case of District of Columbia v. Heller, a lawsuit challenging the DC gun ban. Residents of the District of Columbia are categorically prohibited from possessing handguns and operable long guns (rifles and shotguns) in their homes, even for self-defense.
The Heller case turns on whether the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms refers to private, law-abiding citizens, or whether it is a right of the people “collectively” to have guns only when they serve in the National Guard or a state-sponsored militia unit. The Court is scheduled to decide the case the third week in June.
Whatever the Court decides, that decision will shape gun rights in America for generations to come. The Heller decision will become the definitive standard for gun rights in America. The Second Amendment is the insurance policy on American liberty. And whether you own guns or not, you cannot afford for a single minute to think that it doesn’t matter to you, your family or the security of this country.
Just like other controversial decisions, such as those on religious liberty and free speech, the Heller decision will lead to many more questions than it answers.
When the Court decided Everson v. Board of Education in 1947 it created the doctrine of separation of church and state. For over 60 years this nation has grappled with what that doctrine means, in a raging cultural battle.
When the Court declared a previously unnoticed right to abortion in Roe v. Wade in 1973, America’s courts and presidential politics were thrust into an issue that still stirs deep passions and is ever present in political debates.
Sandy Froman is the immediate past president of the National Rifle Association of America, only the second woman and the first Jewish American to hold that office in the 136-year history of the NRA. The views expressed are her own and not that of any organization.
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