Neil Gorsuch Confirmed: Heller, Individual Gun Rights Protected

Justices Gorsuch and Scalia
AP Photos

On Friday the Senate confirmed Neil Gorsuch as the 113th justice of the Supreme Court, thus making good on President Trump’s pledge to use SCOTUS to save the Second Amendment from “people like Hillary Clinton.”

Gorsuch was confirmed by a vote of 54 to 45.

Throughout the 2016 presidential campaign Trump promised that he would act to protect the Second Amendment. And during an October 9 presidential debate, he said:

I am looking to appoint judges very much in the mold of Justice Scalia. …People that will respect the constitution of the United States. And I think that this is so important–also, the Second Amendment which is totally under siege by people like Hillary Clinton.

The nomination of Gorsuch was very much viewed as the nomination of someone who would be a justice “in the mold of Scalia.” Gorsuch’s exchanges with gun control Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) confirmed this.

Breitbart News reported that Feinstein used the opening day of the Gorsuch confirmation hearings to push an “assault weapons” ban and talk about how important she thinks it is to get “military-style assault weapons off our streets.” On day two of the hearings, Feinstein pressed Gorsuch to voice support for more gun control, and he responded:

Heller makes clear that we judges are to apply. The question is whether it’s a gun in common use, for self-defense–and that may be subject to reasonable regulation. That’s the test as I understand it. There’s lots of ongoing litigation about which weapons qualify under those standards. And I can’t pre-judge that litigation sitting here.

Unhappy with the response, Feinstein continued to press, but Gorsush said, “Whatever is in Heller is the law and I follow the law.”

Gorsuch’s comments and subsequent confirmation to the Supreme Court come after the left has spent years trying to keep Heller alive for the purposes of reversing or at least tweaking it if, by chance, a liberal president could successfully nominate a liberal justice. Notably, the Los Angeles Times and New York Times have reported on the Heller decision in a way that keeps it teed up for SCOTUS, should a liberal justice have replaced Scalia.

Gorsuch marks an end to hopes that Scalia’s replacement will reverse Heller.

It should be noted that the Supreme Court was the prize in the 2016 presidential election, and this is why NRA executive VP Wayne LaPierre endorsed Trump by assuring gun owners that a Hillary Clinton court and administration would be nothing less than an extension of an Obama court and administration. After Trump won the election, The Hill quoted UCLA law professor Adam Winkler, who said, “Trump will fill Scalia’s spot” and “That’s 30 years of votes against gun control.”

AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and host of Bullets with AWR Hawkins, a Breitbart News podcast. He is also the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at


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