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July 2, 2010

NSSF Opposes Confirmation of Elena Kagan to Supreme Court


After reviewing the record of Elena Kagan, including public statements, written documents and her testimony this week before the Senate Judiciary Committee, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) – the trade association for the firearms industry – is opposing her confirmation to the United States Supreme Court. 

Though Ms. Kagan’s record on Second Amendment-related issues is sparse, what’s available is troubling.  While serving in the Clinton Administration, Ms. Kagan played a key role in developing anti-gun policies and strategies.  Specifically, we know Ms. Kagan helped draft a presidential directive that suspended imports of semiautomatic firearms. Records also indicate that during this period Ms. Kagan met with plaintiffs’ attorneys involved in municipal lawsuits against members of the firearms industry. 

As a clerk for Justice Thurgood Marshall, Ms. Kagan made clear that she did not support a challenge to the D.C. gun ban. Demonstrating that this belief had not changed, Ms. Kagan, as solicitor general of the United States, refused to file an amicus brief in the landmark McDonald v. Chicago case – a case that reaffirmed that our Second Amendment rights do not stop at state and city borders.  

In her testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, then Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor said that she considered the Second Amendment to be “settled law.”  It wasn’t until after she was confirmed that Justice Sotomayor let her true views be known as she ruled against the Supreme Court’s earlier decision (Heller) by supporting Chicago’s unconstitutional handgun ban (McDonald), thereby disregarding “settled law.”  Similarly, Ms. Kagan, during her testimony this week, parroted Justice Sotomayor’s response, skirting the issue, when she said that the Second Amendment was “settled law.” 

Earlier this week NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Lawrence G. Keane, commenting on the McDonald decision, noted, "Today's decision marks the beginning of a new era of civil rights litigation as laws and regulations that infringe upon and violate the individual right of law-abiding Americans to keep and bear arms, protected by the Second Amendment, are challenged."

Understanding this, it is clear that the Heller and McDonald Supreme Court decisions were not the finish line, but the starting point of America's fight to preserve and protect the Second Amendment.  With a 5-4 ruling in both cases and a litany of challenges to restrictive firearms laws and regulations sure to be seen over the next few years, it is imperative that a Supreme Court justice not merely recognize the Second Amendment as "settled law," but actually rule accordingly. Based upon Ms. Kagan's record, we have no reason to believe she will.     

For these reasons, NSSF is encouraging senators not to confirm Elena Kagan to the United States Supreme Court.