President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh once wrote, in response to a ban on "assault weapons," that banning a class of weapons is "equivalent" to a ban on a category of speech, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Kavanaugh addressed the topic in a dissent in a case involving Washington, D.C.'s ban on assault weapons and magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition several years ago.
"A ban on a class of arms is not an incidental regulation," the judge, who sits on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, wrote in a dissent in Heller vs. District of Columbia in 2011. "It is equivalent to a ban on a category of speech."
He added: "Gun bans and gun regulations that are not longstanding or sufficiently rooted in the text, history, and tradition are not consistent with the Second Amendment individual right."
Kavanaugh also wrote that since rapid-fire guns are "in common use today," having "not been traditionally banned," they are therefore protected under the Second Amendment.
Judge Douglas Ginsburg, who was appointed by former President Ronald Reagan and wrote the opinion which upheld the ban, found a ban on rapid-fire weapons does not "disarm individuals or substantially affect their ability to defend themselves," while "large capacity magazines pose a danger to innocent people and particularly to police officers."
Ginsburg found the District of Columbia Council acted within its rights in banning these items in the interest of public safety.
UCLA law professor Adam Winkler told the L.A. Times that Kavanaugh's writing "reflects an unusually broad view" of gun rights, noting "he said judges should not consider public safety. And he says only long-standing gun laws are permissible. If so, what about new and innovative regulations," such as a ban on the sale of firearms to those convicted of domestic violence.
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