Conservatives across the nation fear the Second Amendment is in danger of being gutted by the U.S. Supreme Court following the sudden death of Justice Antonin Scalia.
Leading the cry of concern is GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz, who said he will filibuster any replacement nominee put forward by President Barack Obama.
Cruz also warned that a replacement selected by his Democratic presidential rivals Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders would mean the Second Amendment's right to bear arms would be "written out" of the Constitution.
And, in a shot at his chief Republican presidential rival, Cruz told ABC News' "This Week" program: "If you vote for Donald Trump in this next election, you are voting for undermining our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms."
In 2008, Scalia was hailed by gun-owners coast to coast when he wrote the Supreme Court's historic 5-4 majority opinion that the Second Amendment gives an individual right to own a firearm, striking down a local handgun ban in a case called District of Columbia v Heller.
Firearms advocates say that decision now hangs by a thread with the nine-justice court down to eight with Scalia's death — evenly divided four to four on whether the Second Amendment is an individual or a collective right.
Dave Kopel, a lawyer and gun rights advocate involved in that case, told London's Guardian
newspaper: "Based on the past, we can expect that [President Barack Obama] will appoint someone who will pay lip service to the Second Amendment and then vote to overturn Heller."
The National Rifle Association, the powerful pro-gun lobby, said in a statement: "We are one justice away from a Supreme Court that would harm our Second Amendment rights."
Alan Gottlieb, founder of The Second Amendment Foundation
, the nation's oldest legal action group focusing on the Constitutional right to privately own and possess firearms, said: "The Court must not be allowed to swing away from supporting Second Amendment rights."
Awr Hawkins a Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News
and political analyst for Armed American Radio, said Scalia's death "gives progressives on the Supreme Court an opportunity to gut the Second Amendment by reinterpreting it as a 'collective' right rather than an individual right."
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