President Joe Biden’s first hint that he might nominate anti-gun judge Merrick Garland as his attorney general created a headache for gun owners. If confirmed, Garland could be one of the administration’s biggest dangers to gun rights. Now that confirmation hearings are underway for Garland, those fears are proving well-founded.
AG Nominee Merrick Garland & His Stance on Guns
First, a little about Garland for those who might not be familiar. He’s been in the headlines before, and not in a good way for gun owners. The judge’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court by then-President Barack Obama after the death of Chief Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016 prompted a hard-fought battle that ended with the nomination going down in defeat.
In fact, Garland’s anti-gun leanings are no secret, according to the National Rifle Association.
“Garland does not believe the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms,” NRA-ILA wrote in a recent news update. “On March 9, 2007, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issued a ruling in Parker v. District of Columbia, the precursor to Heller v. District of Columbia. The opinion struck down the District of Columbia’s complete ban on the civilian ownership of handguns. It also recognized that the Second Amendment protects an individual right. Expressing disapproval of the panel’s ruling, Garland voted to rehear the case.”
If that’s not bad enough for a judge, consider a U.S. attorney general holding such an opinion. The Congress-created position of AG is appointed to administer justice by overseeing more than 100,000 federal employees in about 40 separate component organizations, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation and, you guessed it, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Having a man of Garland’s anti-gun credentials heading that agency could be problematic, to say the least.
Merrick Garland Supports Biden’s Bans
Now, back to Garland’s statement over the weekend about Biden’s gun-control plans. It didn’t bode well for lawful American gun owners.
“As I’m sure you know, the president is a strong supporter of gun control and has been an advocate all of his life, professional life, on this question,” Garland told the Senate Judiciary Committee. “The role of the Justice Department is to advance the policy program of the administration as long as it is consistent with the law.
“And as I said, so far we have a little indication from the Supreme Court as to what this means. But we don’t have a complete indication,” he continued. “And where there is room under the law for the president’s policies to be pursued, then I think the president is entitled to pursue them.”
Where Will Supreme Court Land?
In reality, we actually have plenty of indications from the Supreme Court what the Second Amendment really means. In the previously mentioned Heller case, the court ruled that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to own a firearm for self-defense. And, in the subsequent McDonald v. Chicago decision, the court ruled that the Second Amendment also protects the right to carry a firearm outside the home for self-defense.
At the hearing, Garland also went even farther. A reported questioned him about Biden’s plan to repeal the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA). The act keeps politicians and others from frivolously suing gun makers because of criminal use of their legal, safe products. Garland replied: “I have not thought myself deeply about this. I don’t think it raises a Second Amendment issue.”
Given Democrat control of the U.S. Senate, Garland’s approval seems all but imminent. In the long run, American gun owners will have to battle not only the president, but also the nation’s highest law enforcement officer, to protect the Second Amendment from further peril.