BELLEVUE, WA – Anti-gun Senator Dianne Feinstein quoted the Supreme Court’s 2008 Heller ruling out of context while questioning Judge Neil Gorsuch during this week’s Judiciary Committee hearings in an attempt to legitimize her gun ban agenda, the Second Amendment Foundation said today.
“It is unfortunate that Sen. Feinstein had to resort to this cheap parlor trick to make it appear that the late Justice Antonin Scalia would be okay with a ban of modern sporting rifles,’ said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “We’ve carefully reviewed her question to Judge Gorsuch and the actual text of the ruling, which was written by Justice Scalia.”
Feinstein posed the following question: “Justice Scalia also wrote that, ‘Weapons that are more useful in military service, M-16 rifles and the like, may be banned’ without infringing on the Second Amendment. Do you agree with that statement that under the Second Amendment weapons that are most useful in military service … may be banned?”
But here is what Scalia actually wrote: “It may be objected that if weapons that are most useful in military service—M-16 rifles and the like—may be banned, then the Second Amendment right is completely detached from the prefatory clause. But as we have said, the conception of the militia at the time of the Second Amendment’s ratification was the body of all citizens capable of military service, who would bring the sorts of lawful weapons that they possessed at home to militia duty. It may well be true today that a militia, to be as effective as militias in the 18th century, would require sophisticated arms that are highly unusual in society at large. Indeed, it may be true that no amount of small arms could be useful against modern-day bombers and tanks. But the fact that modern developments have limited the degree of fit between the prefatory clause and the protected right cannot change our interpretation of the right.”
“It is clear to us that Sen. Feinstein quoted Heller out of context,” Gottlieb stated, “and she was playing ‘Gotcha’ with Judge Gorsuch on the issue of banning the most popular rifle in America today. By trying to paint Judge Gorsuch into a corner that exists only in her mind, Sen. Feinstein did a disservice to the hearings, the Supreme Court’s ruling, and the Constitution, itself.”