At a news conference on January 7th, President-elect Joe Biden announced he will nominate U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit Judge Merrick Garland for Attorney General. Biden’s choice of a noted Second Amendment opponent to lead the Department of Justice is an overt assault on gun rights and gun owners.
Following the death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in February 2013, President Barack Obama nominated Garland as Justice Scalia’s replacement. With an understanding of Garland’s unacceptable jurisprudence, NRA strongly opposed Garland’s nomination and the Senate wisely chose not consider the nomination.
Garland’s anti-Second Amendment position is clear from his record. Garland does not believe the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms. 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 and recognized that the Second Amendment protects an individual right. Expressing disapproval of the panel’s ruling, Garland voted to rehear the case.
Moreover, Garland has worked to undermine a federal statute meant to protect gun owners from firearms registration. In the 2000 case NRA v. Reno, NRA sued to stop the Department of Justice from retaining successful National Instant Criminal Backgrounds Check System (NICS) transaction records in what the agency termed an “audit log.” In relation to NICS, federal law (18 U.S.C. 922(t)(2)(c)) requires the government to “destroy all records of the system with respect to the call (other than the identifying number and the date the number was assigned) and all records of the system relating to the person or the transfer.” In a three-judge panel, Garland joined a colleague to uphold this Department of Justice practice, imperiling the privacy of gun owners.
Given his long history of hostility towards the Second Amendment and gun owners, Judge Garland is the wrong choice to lead our nation’s Department of Justice.