“And yet some want to claim that Mississippi is a major source of illegal guns in Chicago, and I don’t think any statistician in the country is going to say that less than three percent is a major source of anything,” said U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst, also reported by WLBT.
Sen. Durbin went on to raise a dissent offered by Judge Barrett in Kanter v. Barr, a Wisconsin case where the plaintiff was challenging his loss of ability to possess a firearm given that he was convicted of a non-violent felony. It came before the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals last year where Barrett currently serves. Durbin, like many in the media, painted Barrett’s dissent as wanting felons to have guns, but not vote.
However, the opinion offered by Judge Barrett was a history lesson into the Founder’s intent for the 2nd Amendment and other rights granted citizens. She wrote:
“History is consistent with common sense: it demonstrates that legislatures have the power to prohibit dangerous people from possessing guns. But that power extends only to people who are dangerous. Founding-era legislatures did not strip felons of the right to bear arms simply because of their status as felons. Nor have the parties introduced any evidence that founding-era legislatures imposed virtue-based restrictions on the right; such restrictions applied to civic rights like voting and jury service, not to individual rights like the right to possess a gun. In 1791—and for well more than a century afterward— legislatures disqualified categories of people from the right to bear arms only when they judged that doing so was necessary to protect the public safety…”
“…While scholars have not identified eighteenth or nineteenth century laws depriving felons of the right to bear arms, history does show that felons could be disqualified from exercising certain rights—like the rights to vote and serve on juries—because these rights belonged only to virtuous citizens…”
“…In sum, the available evidence suggests that the right to arms differs from rights that depend on civic virtue for enjoyment. The Second Amendment confers an individual right, intimately connected with the natural right of self- defense, and not limited to civic participation (i.e., militia service)…”
Also in the hearing, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham (R), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, asked Judge Barrett if she owned a gun, which she replied that she and her family did own a gun. Graham followed up by asking if she could fairly decide a case even though she owned a gun. Barrett said, “Yes.”
This exchange solicited the tweet below from CNN.
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) October 13, 2020
Mississippi is routinely ranked as a very pro-gun, pro-Second Amendment state where hunting is valued and the right to bear arms is seen as fundamental.
In the face of national calls for stricter gun laws, citizen advocates and lawmakers in Mississippi have worked to ensure that the state is a constitutional carry state, meaning it is legal to carry a firearm, either openly or concealed, without a license or permit.