Feel like both Trump and Hillary, as well as organizations and PACs who support and/or oppose them, have beaten their stance on gun rights to death on the campaign trail? Well, you’re right.
Two mid-Missouri lawyers, who both specialize in Second Amendment issues, spoke to KRCG to explain why politicians on both sides of the aisle frequently use the constitutional right to bear arms to appeal to voters.
“On a scale of one to ten, there is a ten. They believe you have an absolute right to carry whatever qualifies as small arms, whether it’s a chain-fed machine gun or a grenade launcher, without restriction, anywhere that you can lawfully go,” said attorney Stephen Wyse. “And on the other side, there’s a one, that’s the people who believe only the military and police should bear arms.”
Wyse also cited the U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions in Heller and McDonald to highlight the disparity of Supreme Court Judges in regards to how the Second Amendment is interpreted, saying “Any firearm restrictions have to be adjudged on a strict scrutiny standard. The law has to show a significant and compelling government interest for why the regulation is necessary and the restriction has to be narrowly tailored.”
“For example, take felony convictions, or if you’ve been judged mentally incompetent,” Wyse continued. “The government has a significant interest in restricting your access to firearms.”
Although Wyse, in theory, concedes the occasional valid reason to restrict a citizen’s Second Amendment rights, she also thinks those reasons are extremely rare.
“I think the phrase reasonable gun restriction gets thrown around a lot. But it’s really meaningless in my mind. Every time you have a mass shooting or a school shooting, they come out with something like, let’s ban guns from everyone on the no-fly list,” said attorney Jennifer Bukowsky. “They have four-year-olds that are on that list that can’t get off the list. You get on the list, you can’t get removed, and you haven’t done anything wrong, it’s government bureaucrats that are unaccountable to anyone who made up that list. That’s not a reasonable restriction in my opinion.”
With the balance of the Supreme Court in the balance, the candidates know their position on gun rights and commitment to uphold and protect the Second Amendment is a very big deal to potential voters.
“With the death of Scalia, there is uncertainty. It is unlikely that someone with Scalia’s view point will be appointed to the Supreme Court, and both McDonald and Heller were 5-4,” Wyse said.
“Scalia left some big shoes to fill,” Bukowsky said.
That he did.
Now, at the end of the campaign trail, we will soon learn which candidate’s message resonated with American voters.