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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Dave Kopel on the Future of the Second Amendment After Death of Scalia

Yesterday, Dave Kopel, Research Director of the Independence Institute, spoke with Cam Edwards of NRANews' Cam and Company and discussed the impact of the late Justice Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court and our right to keep and bear arms.

Scalia wrote the majority opinion in the 5-4 decision in District of Columbia v. Heller,  acknowledging the individual right to keep and bear arms. Besides the essential gun rights decision in Heller and McDonald, Kopel said that Scalia brought two important things to the law: originalism, the Constitution’s meaning at the time of its enactment, and textualism, looking at the words on the paper, not some other outside intent. Kopel told Cam that if President Obama or his successor are able to change the balance of the court, Heller is likely to be overturned or so diminished that it will only allow a handgun in the home.
As if the direction of the Supreme Court wasn't already going to be a focus of this year's election with so many justices in their upper 70's or older, Scalia's death makes it even more so.  National Review's Jim Geraghty shares some sobering numbers via this morning's Morning Jolt on the subject:
Strangely, the percentage of people who said they had “never heard of” Antonin Scalia increased from 29 percent in 2001 to 39 percent in 2005. Was that the Greatest Generation, who read newspapers, dying off and the Millennials, who never look up from their cell phones, entering the polling sample?

This is a free country, and you’re free to not care, and free to not pay any attention to, say, one-third and arguably our most powerful branch of government. I understand the sense that it would be a better world if we could spend more time thinking less about what government is doing about more pleasant things -- food, sports, movies, home furnishings, how awesome the finale of Gravity Falls was, etc.

But if you choose to pay no attention to these things, and refuse to read anything about them, watch anything about them, or learn anything about them . . . then I’d rather you left the voting to those of us who do care.

(This is also a key data point for those who think the next Supreme Court justice will be a pivotal issue in the 2016 elections. This matters to the bases of each party, but not the less-engaged, less-interested voters.)
It is our task over the next 8 months to make even the most apolitical gun owner understand what this election means to their right to buy and own firearms.

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