In Her Dissent in Kanter v. Barr –– Which Argued that People Convicted of Serious Felonies Should Not be Barred from Possessing Guns –– Judge Barrett said that “Kanter Shows My Judicial Philosophy” and “I Would Approach the Review of Gun Regulations… In the Same Way”
She Added that “What I Did was Apply Heller’s Methodology… and I Concluded Based on that History One Couldn’t Take that Right Away Simply Because One Was a Felon”
NEW YORK –– Today, Everytown and its grassroots networks, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, responded to the second day of hearings on the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, during which Judge Barrett confirmed her belief that some people convicted of serious felonies should not be prohibited from owning guns. This belief first came to light in Judge Barrett’s 2019 dissenting opinion in Kanter v. Barr, which Judge Barrett repeatedly defended today.
“This morning, Judge Barrett confirmed what we already suspected: she is a gun rights extremist who has no place on the Supreme Court,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “Her belief that some people convicted of serious felonies shouldn’t be prohibited from owning guns is disqualifying, and Everytown unequivocally opposes her confirmation.”
“Judge Barrett confirmed this morning that she’s a dream come true for the NRA and a nightmare for the safety of the American people,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “Giving her a lifetime appointment on the Supreme Court will make us all less safe, and our grassroots army of nearly 6 million supporters will fight like hell to hold President Trump and Senate Republicans accountable at the ballot box for trying to steal this seat.”
Key quotes from today include:
- Judge Barrett reiterating her belief that people convicted of felonies should not be barred from owning guns: “What I did was apply Heller’s methodology…and I concluded that based on that history one couldn’t take the right away simply because one was a felon.”
- Judge Barrett refusing to distance herself from her dangerous and extreme position in Kanter v. Barr: “What I can say is that my opinion and Kanter shows my judicial philosophy. I spend a lot of time looking at the history of the Second Amendment and Supreme Court cases. The way in which I would approach the review of gun regulations is in the same way. To look very carefully at the text, to look at what the original meaning was. I promise I would come to that with an open mind, applying the law as I can best determine it.”
Details from Judge Barrett’s alarming dissent in Kanter v. Barr are as follows:
- Last year, Judge Barrett authored a dissent in which she wrote that barring non-violent felons — even serious felons like the plaintiff in that case — from possessing guns violates the Second Amendment. The two other judges on the panel, from whose majority opinion Judge Barrett dissented, were both Reagan appointees.
- In reaching this conclusion, she adopted a dangerous Second Amendment analysis that largely ignored any questions of public safety, focusing instead on what she found to be the absence of analogous laws during the Founding Era. Judge Barrett even went so far as to say that prohibiting a serious felon like Kanter from possessing firearms would be “treat[ing] the Second Amendment as a ‘second-class right’” — echoing language regularly invoked by both the gun lobby and the Supreme Court’s most extreme Second Amendment Justices.
- No federal court of appeals has adopted the approach that Judge Barrett did in the case and allowed, as she would, those convicted of felonies to possess guns.
If Judge Barrett is confirmed, nearly every gun safety law could be at risk, including bedrock laws like background checks on all gun sales, red flag laws, and measures to disarm domestic abusers –– all of which are supported by overwhelming majorities of American voters. A more detailed analysis can be found in this memo detailing Judge Barrett’s extreme positions on the Second Amendment, this memo on how this Supreme Court confirmation could impact gun safety in the U.S, and this chart showing which states’ gun safety laws are at risk.
If you have additional questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out.