By Chris Cox Published: 9:41 AM 10/11/2011 | Updated: 10:26 PM 01/23/2012
Executive Director, National Rifle Association's Institute for Legislative Action
Chris W. Cox is executive director of the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) and serves as the organization’s chief lobbyist.
Nearly three years into President Obama’s first term in office, Michelle Obama finally said something with which I can agree.
At a recent fundraiser for President Obama’s re-election campaign in Providence, Rhode Island, the first lady told her audience:
“We stand at a fundamental crossroads for our country. You’re here because you know that in just 13 months, we’re going to make a choice that will impact our lives for decades to come … let’s not forget what it meant when my husband appointed those two brilliant Supreme Court justices … let’s not forget the impact that their decisions will have on our lives for decades to come.”
This was music to the ears of the small, affluent crowd of admirers who cheered and applauded. But to gun owners, Michelle Obama’s remarks should sound like a warning bell, alerting us to the danger ahead should Barack Obama win re-election and get the opportunity to alter the current make-up of the Supreme Court.
When Americans flock to the polls in 13 months, we will not simply decide which direction our country should take over the next four years. Rather, we will decide whether or not our fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms will survive over the next several decades.
Currently, the Second Amendment clings to a 5-4 pro-freedom majority on the Supreme Court. Just one vote is all that stands between the America our Founding Fathers established and a radically different America that Barack Obama and his supporters envision.
If you want to read something scary, take another look at the minority opinions in the Supreme Court’s landmark Heller and McDonald decisions that struck down Washington, D.C.’s and Chicago’s unconstitutional gun bans. In the Heller dissent, four justices concluded that the Second Amendment does not guarantee an individual right to own a firearm, nor does it protect our right to defend ourselves, our families, or our property. In McDonald, the same four justices argued that the 5-4 Heller decision should be reversed.
If these four justices had just one more vote on their side, their opinion — that the Second Amendment should not exist in today’s modern society — would be the law of the land today. And assuredly, the anti-gun activist wing of the court knows how close they are to gaining the upper hand. As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg told a Harvard Club audience in 2009, she looks forward to the day when a “future, wiser court” overturns 5-4 decisions like Heller.
Praying for the health of five justices is not a sound legal strategy for ensuring that our Second Amendment freedoms survive the relentless legal assault that gun-ban groups are waging in courtrooms across America. We need a president who will nominate sound, originalist nominees to the high court — nominees who will preserve the freedoms our Founding Fathers enshrined in our Constitution.
If President Obama gets the opportunity to tilt the balance of the Supreme Court in his favor, we’re unlikely to see another pro-gun victory at the Court in our lifetime. Even worse, the 5-4 majorities in Heller and McDonald will be in serious jeopardy of being reversed, effectively eliminating the Second Amendment.
NRA members, gun owners and all freedom-loving Americans should heed Michelle Obama’s warning. We must spend the next 13 months working to make sure her husband doesn’t get four more years to destroy American freedom for generations to come.
Chris W. Cox is the Executive Director of the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) and serves as the organization’s chief lobbyist.
4 years 11 weeks ago, 8:19 AM