BELLEVUE, WA â€“ Several of the nationâ€™s leading gun rights activists, including the heads of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms and Second Amendment Foundation, today joined to oppose the confirmation of Judge Sonia Sotomayor as an associate justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.
â€œ It is extremely important that a Supreme Court justice understand and appreciate the origin and meaning of the Second Amendment, a constitutional guarantee permanently enshrined in the Bill of Rights, â€ said a letter from the group, which was hand-delivered to every member of the U.S. Senate. â€œJudge Sotomayorâ€™s record on the Second Amendment causes us grave concern about her treatment of this enumerated Constitutional right.â€
Included among the signators were Sandra S. Froman, former president of the National Rifle Association; Alan M. Gottlieb, CCRKBA chairman; Joseph Tartaro, SAF president; Gene Hoffman, chairman of the CalGUNS Foundation; several current or former NRA directors; Robert Corbin, former Arizona attorney general and past NRA president; former Congressman Bob Barr; Jim Wallace, executive director of the Gun Ownersâ€™ Action League in Massachusetts; John T. lee, president of the Pennsylvania Rifle and Pistol Association; Tom King, president of the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association; Robert E. Sanders, former assistant director of law enforcement for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and several others, 25 in all.
â€œThe Supreme Court is almost certain to decide next year whether the Second Amendment applies to states and local governments, as it does to the federal government,â€ they wrote. â€œWhile on the Second Circuit, Judge Sotomayor revealed her views on the right to keep and bear arms in Maloney v. Cuomo, a case decided after Heller, yet holding that the Second Amendment is not a fundamental right, that it does not apply to the states, and that if an object is â€œdesigned primarily as a weaponâ€ that is a sufficient basis for total prohibition even within the home. Earlier in a 2004 case, United States v. Sanchez-Villar, Sotomayor and two colleagues perfunctorily dismissed a Second Amendment claim holding that “the right to possess a gun is clearly not a fundamental right.” Imagine if such a view were expressed about other fundamental rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, such as the First, Fourth and Fifth Amendments.â€
â€œWe joined in this effort,â€ Gottlieb said, â€œbecause our nation stands at point in history where we either defend all civil rights, or begin to surrender them one by one until none are left. It would be unconscionable to stand silently as the Senate deliberates confirmation of a new associate justice with such evident disregard for a key tenet, if not the critical element, of the Bill of Rights.â€
â€œThe Second Amendment survives today by a single vote in the Supreme Court,â€ the letter notes. â€œJudge Sotomayor has already revealed her views on the right to keep and bear arms and we believe they are contrary to the intent and purposes of the Second Amendment and Bill of Rights.â€