Gun rights groups on Wednesday praised President Donald Trump's nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch for the vacant seat on the Supreme Court.
The nation's top gun rights proponents pointed to Gorsuch's originalist judicial philosophy, which strives to interpret laws the way they were understood when they were passed, and his history on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit as reasons for their support of his nomination. The National Rifle Association called Gorsuch an "outstanding choice to fill Justice Scalia's seat" and promised to activate "tens of millions" of its supporters to help ensure he gets confirmed.
"President Trump has made an outstanding choice in nominating Judge Gorsuch for the U.S. Supreme Court," Chris Cox, head of the NRA's lobbying arm, said in a statement. "He has an impressive record that demonstrates his support for the Second Amendment. We urge the Senate to swiftly confirm Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, just as it did in confirming him to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit by a unanimous voice vote."
Though Gorsuch has only a few rulings dealing with Second Amendment rights, activists pointed to his concurrence in United States v. Games-Perez where he affirmed the Supreme Court's Heller ruling that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to keep and bear arms. The Second Amendment Foundation, which is involved in dozens of gun rights cases across the country, said there may not be a better candidate to fill the vacancy.
"We are delighted at President Donald Trump’s selection," Second Amendment Foundation vice president Alan M. Gottlieb told the Washington Free Beacon. "Based on what we know and what others are saying about Judge Gorsuch, we can honestly say that there may not be a better candidate to fill the seat left vacant by Justice Scalia’s passing last year. We’re especially impressed with the fact that he has observed in a legal opinion that ‘the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to own firearms and may not be infringed lightly.’"
"President Trump has kept his word by nominating a superb High Court candidate with an originalist approach to interpreting the Constitution, and particularly the Bill of Rights, as the Founders intended."
The National Shooting Sports Foundation, which represents thousands of firearms manufacturers and dealers, it is pleased by the pick and called on the Senate to confirm Gorsuch. "We are confident that Judge Gorsuch will serve our nation with distinction as an Associate Justice of our nation's highest court and that his service will do honor to the legacy of the late Justice Antonin Scalia in the protection of the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans," Larry Keane, the group's senior vice president, said in a statement.
Gun control advocates expressed unease with Gorsuch as gun rights groups championed him. "While Gorsuch's record on guns isn't long, it does suggest that he's open to making it easier for some felons to have guns," John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety, told supporters in an email. "The vast majority of Americans—including gun owners and NRA members—agree that we need to enforce the gun laws on our books. But if his record is any clue, Gorsuch could make it harder for us to enforce public safety laws—laws that have been on our books for centuries."
Gorsuch's nomination, with the backing of leading gun rights groups, will now be sent to the Senate for confirmation.