Menendez, Pascrell, State & Local Leaders Rally with Gun Reform Groups to Highlight #WhatsAtStake for New Jersey with Trump’s SCOTUS Nominee

Menendez, Pascrell, State & Local Leaders Rally with Gun Reform Groups to Highlight #WhatsAtStake for New Jersey with Trump’s SCOTUS Nominee

PATERSON, N.J. – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez and U.S. Congressman Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.-09) today rallied with state and local leaders and gun reform advocacy groups to highlight what’s at stake for the progress of gun safety in New Jersey and across the country if Brett Kavanaugh replaces Anthony Kennedy on the United States Supreme Court.

“If Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed, the gun industry will have new ammunition in their war to overturn commonsense laws aimed at protecting our children, keeping our streets safe, and stopping deadly firearms from falling into the wrong hands,” said Sen. Menendez. “If confirmed, President Trump will have replaced Justice Kennedy – the only swing vote on the court – with someone who only swings to the far-right, no matter the cost to American lives. We’re talking about decades of bad decisions at a time when two out of three Americans support tougher gun laws. That’s why the NRA is cheering on Kavanaugh’s nomination.”




"Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination poses a clear threat to so many of the rights New Jerseyans hold dear, including our ability to keep our communities safe through common sense gun violence prevention measures,” said Sen. Booker. “The deadly epidemic of gun violence has torn apart communities in New Jersey and across our nation, and there’s simply too much at stake to stand idly by. We all must resolve to fight back against this nomination and cast our light by standing up and speaking out.”


“America’s gun violence epidemic weighs every day on the minds families across our country. With many kids going back to school this week, parents worry when they hear children describe going through a metal detector or an active shooter drill,” said Rep. Pascrell. “As a supermajority of Americans cry out for commonsense gun reform, the last thing we need is a Supreme Court justice who is hostile to nearly all forms of gun regulation. Led by the courageous leaders of March For Our Lives and other groups, Americans are speaking in one voice against the NRA’s stranglehold on our country, and against extremists like Brett Kavanaugh.”



“Public safety is a top priority of my Administration, and the views of Brett Kavanaugh go against much of the common sense gun measures that protect all New Jerseyans,” said Peterson Mayor Andre Sayegh. “We do not want assault weapons or concealed carry laws in Paterson, both of which Kavanaugh has supported. We thank Senators Menendez, Booker, and Congressman Pascrell for being strong voices for Patersonians in Washington against this nomination and an expansive view of the Second Amendment.”




“Brett Kavanaugh is the most extreme pro-gun nominee in modern U.S. history and our message to him is very direct:  back off New Jersey’s strong gun violence prevention laws supported by Governor Murphy,” said William Castner, Senior Advisor to Governor Murphy on Firearms. 



“As a woman, as a mother, as a grandmother – I am very concerned about what’s going to happen in these next couple of weeks and days to come when these hearings will take place for the consideration and the vote for the nomination of the U.S. Supreme Court nominee,” said State Senator Nellie Pou. “I’m concerned about what will happen to the future of my children and my grandchildren. We need to understand what’s really at stake here. So as a State Senator, let me just say that I will continue to advocate and continue to speak up on issues like this.”



As a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, Kavanaugh has had a troubling record on Second Amendment cases.


In the case Heller v. District of Columbia, the DC Circuit ruled that DC was permitted to ban the possession of semi-automatic rifles, as well as required registration for all firearms.  While two other judges cast deciding votes upholding these laws, Kavanaugh dissented, arguing that because assault weapons are in “common use” today and were not historically regulated, they cannot be prohibited under the Second Amendment.  Kavanaugh also determined that because most states do not require registration of firearms, it is unconstitutional to have a mandatory registration law.


In Kavanaugh’s words, the Supreme Court’s Heller decision left “little doubt that courts are to assess gun bans and regulations based on text, history, and tradition, not by a balancing test such as strict or intermediate scrutiny.”  Under Judge Kavanaugh’s interpretation of the Second Amendment, there is an “absence of a role for judicial interest balancing or assessment of costs and benefits of gun regulations.” This radical view would allow judges to pick and choose which gun regulations have adequate historical support and invalidate all other laws.  Kavanaugh concluded that the District of Columbia’s ban on semi-automatic rifles and its gun registration requirement are unconstitutional under Heller.


He cast a dissenting procedural vote in the 2016 case Grace v. District of Columbia stating he would leave in place a lower-court ruling striking down DC’s concealed carry licensing law pending appellate review, which adopted the view that DC’s “good reason” requirement for concealed carry permit applicants is unconstitutional. 




The NRA has applauded the nomination of Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, stating, “President Trump has made another outstanding choice in nominating Brett Kavanaugh for the U.S. Supreme Court. He has an impressive record that demonstrates his strong support for the Second Amendment.”  The NRA views Kavanaugh as a tie-breaker on cases related to gun rights. Kavanaugh has also earned the endorsement of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a gun industry lobby, as well as Gun Owners of America.


Judge Kavanaugh’s extremist, weapon used view of the Second Amendment is a threat to public safety and he is the wrong nominee for a seat on the high court,” said Adam Skaggs, Chief Counsel, Giffords Law Center. “Judge Kavanaugh rejects the idea that courts should consider public safety when judging gun cases and would strike down bedrock gun laws including laws that keep guns from domestic abusers, laws that regulate concealed carry, and those that restrict civilian use of the dangerous, military-style weapons regularly used in mass shootings.”



In 2016, the NRA, which calls itself ‘Trump’s strongest ally’, spent $30 million to put Donald Trump in the White House. And now, the President is repaying the NRA with Judge Brett Kavanaugh. The NRA is doubling down on its investment, spending over a million on TV ads to urge Americans to call their senators of Kavanaugh’s nomination,” said Kevin Quinn, Board Chair of the Brady Campaign. “Why? Because Judge Kavanaugh is a Second Amendment extremist and the NRA hopes he will eviscerate Supreme Court precedent and pave the way for the gun industry to sell even more guns and make even more money.”




“While Americans anxiously await to hear Judge Kavanaugh’s opinion on so many important constitutional issues, when it comes to guns we’ve already heard enough,” said Nick Suplina of Everytown. “The bottom line is Judge Kavanaugh’s views on the second amendment are extremist, they’re alarming, and they are well outside the judicial mainstream.”




Sen. Menendez has been one of the leading voices in Congress for commonsense gun safety.


He recently introduced an amendment to the FY 2019 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill that would block the U.S. Department of Education from allowing school districts to use Title IV federal funds to purchase firearms for teachers.

In early August, Sen. Menendez joined a group of Democratic Senators to introduce two pieces of legislation to combat the threat posed from the spread of 3D printable guns. The 3D Printing Safety Act and the Untraceable Firearms Act of 2018.  Sen. Menendez went to the Senate floor to try and unanimously pass this emergency bill, but Republicans blocked the vote. He also held a press conference in Cliffside Park with local officials and Moms Demand Action to rail against 3D guns.

The senator met in May with members from the South Jersey Chapter of Moms Demand Action, who delivered postcards from its members voicing their opposition to the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, which passed the House late last year.  The bill would force each state to recognize the concealed carry standards from every other state, even those that have weaker standards.  New Jersey has one of the strictest gun laws in the country, making it difficult for a civilian to obtain a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

In April, Sen. Menendez and Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. (N.J.-09) participated in a “Town Hall for Our Lives”, hosted by Students Demand Action of Bergen County. The event, which was one of more than 120 town halls held across the country, was a national effort urging lawmakers to pass commonsense gun legislation.

In March, Sen. Menendez visited the Essex County Police Academy with Sheriff Armando Fontoura to witness firsthand the power of an AR-15 assault rifle during a live-fire demonstration by the sheriff’s officers. The military-style weapon was used in serveral mass shootings, including by the gunman who took 17 lives at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February.

That same month, Sen. Menendez joined several colleagues on the Senate Floor to demand action on common sense gun safety legislation. During his speech, the senator noted several private companies that have taken action since the Parkland shooting, notably: Dick’s Sporting Goods and Walmart announcing it would no longer sell firearms to people under 21; Dick’s halting sales of assault rifles, like the AR-15; and companies, such as United Airlines and Enterprise Rent-A-Car, have discontinued benefit programs for National Rifle Association (NRA) members.

Sen. Menendez stood with survivors of the Parkland, Fla. school shooting at a Feb. 25 rally in Livingston, N.J., calling for passage of common sense gun safety measures.  He was joined by Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students Harris Jaffe, siblings David and Lauren Hogg, and brothers Ryan and Matthew Deitsch. 

Sen. Menendez is the prime sponsor of the Keep Americans Safe Act, common sense public safety legislation banning the importation, sale, manufacture, transfer, or possession of gun magazines that hold more than ten rounds of ammunition and are designed for shooting en masse.

Sen. Menendez, who voted for the original Assault Weapons Ban in 1994 as a member of the House of Representatives, has cosponsored legislation to reinstate the assault weapons ban. He has also sponsored legislation to expand background checks and close the gun show loophole, outlaw “bump stocks” and other devices that make semiautomatic weapons fully automatic, prevent those on the Terror Watch List from purchasing guns, and improve access to mental health and addiction treatment. 

In February, Sen. Menendez joined a group of senators in demanding answers after the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) failed to record court-martials or criminal convictions of service members into the FBI’s background check database. The senator opposes arming school teachers and supports the rights of states to pass their own gun laws restricting concealed carry permits.  He also participated in the 2016 Democratic filibuster for common sense gun safety on the Senate Floor and joined his House colleagues in a sit-in on the House Floor.