Guns and Gorsuch

by Ramesh Ponnuru

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence sent out a press release today with four proposed questions for Judge Gorsuch’s confirmation hearing. The questions don’t seem to me to be either illuminating or challenging. Here they are, stripped of prefatory language:

1.) Do you agree that the 2nd Amendment right is not unlimited or absolute, that it does not trump other constitutional rights, and that it is subject to reasonable limitations for public safety?

2.) Do you believe current federal law requiring Brady background checks for gun sales from licensed dealers, and prohibiting certain people from completing gun purchases, is constitutional?

3.) Do you believe that the 2nd Amendment protects gun owners and/or gun industry participants with immunities or protections from liability for negligence?

4.) Do you believe states have the ability to develop gun laws to keep their citizens safe?

My own answers to these questions are:

1) Yes, I agree. 2) It would be improper to commit to rule in particular ways on issues that may come before the Court. 3) Statutory protections already in law are certainly constitutional, and will likely make the question of whether the Constitution itself confers any protections from liability moot. 4) Yes, within constitutional limits.

If these questions were designed to put Judge Gorsuch on the spot, I don’t think they were designed well.

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