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What Justice Gorsuch Might Mean for the Second Amendment

by ANDREW F. BRANCA | National Review  |  Published on February 2, 2017


His concurrence with decisions upholding reasonable law-enforcement measures should not be controversial.

Trump’s nomination of federal judge Neil Gorsuch to the US Supreme Court has been greeted with much glee by conservatives and a well-anticipated gnashing of teeth by the progressive Left. Naturally, those of us in the gun community have our own particularized questions about what a Justice Gorsuch might mean for the Second Amendment. Let’s take a look, shall we?

A look at Judge Gorsuch’s generalized judicial philosophy is certainly encouraging. Given that it was Scalia who led the pro–Second Amendment decisions in District of Columbia v. Heller and MacDonald v. Chicago, and that Gorsuch has been described not inaccurately as “Scalia 2.0,” we may reasonably hope that Gorsuch will bring a Scalia-like originalist and textualist approach to Second Amendment jurisprudence.

Judge Gorsuch’s actual record on the Second Amendment is rather sparse, however. He has not been involved in first-principle cases such as Heller and MacDonald, so his decisions have nothing as explicitly affirming. It is worth asking, then, whether any of his decisions could suggest he would approach the Second Amendment in a negative manner.

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