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 February 23, 2021

Merrick Garland Says Yes to Gun Control: What to Do

Gun owner with dog and young child

Merrick Garland expected to advance fun control policies

As the topic of gun control becomes more and more of a hot-button issue, we’re now seeing signs that additional restrictions may be en route.

On Monday, February 22, Merrick Garland, a federal appeals court judge who is expected to be confirmed as Attorney General, told senators at his confirmation hearing that it’s his job to pursue gun control since Biden is a strong supporter of it. The way he sees it: As long as the Biden administration policies are consistent with the law, he is willing to advance them. Case closed.

He said this in response to GOP Sen. Mike Lee’s question of whether or not he is in support of banning certain types of firearms.

What does gun control really mean?

In recent years, the debate of gun control has escalated more and more with the rise of mass shootings. What does gun control mean, anyway? To put it simply: More restrictions on gun sales.

By restricting access to guns, supporters like Biden believe many lives will be saved. Opponents argue that restriction goes against the Constitution and believe it will do more harm than good.

Last week, Biden called on Congress to put background checks in place for guns, assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and remove protection for gun manufacturers who knowingly distribute “weapons of war” in our country.

The true definition of an assault weapon is up for debate, but many Democrats consider the AR-15 style semi-automatic rifles, and similar firearms, to be assault rifles. While the gun is used by many gun-rights advocates for self-defense, it has also been a common weapon of choice for mass shootings.

What now?

Garland is expected to be confirmed, but this wasn’t the first time he has been the pick for AG. He was nominated initially in 2016 by President Barack Obama, but Republicans who controlled the Senate in those days declined to hold confirmation hearings.

Back in 2007, as a federal appeals judge, Garland voted in favor of gun rights in a case ultimately known as District of Colombia v. Heller. This case was not reheard in the appeals court, and ultimately in 2008, the Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment protects the right for individuals to own guns.

Garland clarifies that he voted in favor of gun rights because there was a need for further analysis in this particular case.

What does this mean for gun owners?

Gun-rights advocates can expect new laws and restrictions that could keep certain types of firearms out of citizens’ hands. This could potentially affect new gun sales as well as delegalize guns that are currently protected for private owners. Gun owners will certainly want to pay attention to upcoming weapon laws and are encouraged to speak with their attorney if new legislation is passed.

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