Op-Ed: Kagan Bad on Guns

by Brian Darling

"President Obama's nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court," I wrote in HUMAN EVENTS on June 3, 2009, "owes the American people an explanation on her view of the 2nd Amendment."

The nominee then was Sonia Sotomayor, who never provided an explanation. Now, with the choice of Solicitor General Elena Kagan, President Obama is two for two in selecting Supreme Court nominees with an apparent strong hostility to the right of self-defense.

And it's only fair that Kagan now be held to the "Kagan Standard."

In the spring of 1995, Kagan wrote a book review of Stephen Carter's The Confirmation Mess. "When the Senate ceases to engage nominees in a meaningful discussion of legal issues, the confirmation process takes on an air of vacuity and farce, and the Senate becomes incapable of either properly evaluating nominees or appropriately educating the public," Kagan wrote.

Well, to maintain that standard, the Senate should demand Clinton-era memos written by Kagan, so lawmakers can understand her view of the 2nd Amendment. After all, she was very much involved in many of the gun-control initiatives pushed by President Bill Clinton. The Senate must "properly evaluate" Kagan and "appropriately" educate the public about any anti-gun views she holds.

...Kagan has no public record to speak of, and the President aims to keep her anti-gun views secret from the American public.

Even without much of a paper trail, reporters have already found a "smoking gun" that indicates Kagan's extensive anti-gun activism. James Oliphant of the Los Angeles Times wrote May 10, "according to records at the William J. Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Ark., she also drafted an executive order restricting the importation of certain semiautomatic assault rifles." Senators should study that executive order and the memos written during its preparation to understand if Kagan advised Clinton to infringe on the 2nd Amendment rights of Americans.

There's more evidence of hostility to gun rights on her part. The Times also reports that "gun-control efforts were a hallmark of the Clinton Administration. Kagan had already been involved in an executive order that required all federal law-enforcement officers to install locks on their weapons." Kagan also may have worked on legislation to effectively close gun shows. "Those moves angered the National Rifle Association, which became even more alarmed in late 1998 when Clinton proposed closing the 'gun show' loophole that allowed firearms purchases without background checks."

Her efforts to restrict the importation of some guns, mandate trigger-locks on federal law-enforcement officers' guns and efforts to close gun shows are three issues that must be raised during Kagan's Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing. Expect Kagan to dodge any direct questions on these gun-grabbing activities during the Clinton years, though, and run away from her own "Kagan Standard."

Click here to read the entire op-ed from Brian Darling, director of U.S. Senate Relations at The Heritage Foundation, at HumanEvents.com.

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