He was the dissenter in Heller II.
In my judgment, both D.C.â€™s ban on semi-automatic rifles and its gun registration requirement are unconstitutional under Heller.
In Heller, the Supreme Court held that handguns â€“ the vast majority of which today are semi-automatic â€“ are constitutionally protected because they have not traditionally been banned and are in common use by law-abiding citizens. There is no meaningful or persuasive constitutional distinction between semi-automatic handguns and semi- automatic rifles. Semi-automatic rifles, like semi-automatic handguns, have not traditionally been banned and are in common use by law-abiding citizens for self-defense in the home, hunting, and other lawful uses. Moreover, semi- automatic handguns are used in connection with violent crimes far more than semi-automatic rifles are. It follows from Hellerâ€™s protection of semi-automatic handguns that semi-automatic rifles are also constitutionally protected and that D.C.â€™s ban on them is unconstitutional. (By contrast, fully automatic weapons, also known as machine guns, have traditionally been banned and may continue to be banned afterHeller.)1
Getting protections on semi-automatic rifles would be just what the doctor ordered for states like New Jersey, California and New York. Semi-auto bans are culture killers. No state has ever passed one and come back from it.
Kavanaugh’s approach to the Second Amendment is far better than what we’ve typically seen in lower courts. Several years ago I even suggested that there should be some scholarship published around his approach to help refine it.
There was a lot of speculation that Trump was going to pick Amy Barrett, who would have greatly pleased the SoCo culture warriors, but she would have been an unknown quantity on the Second Amendment. From my point of view, he couldn’t have done much better than Brett Kavanaugh. I know what I’m getting: a judge who’s willing to toss assault weapons bans and gun registration.