If President Trump is true to his word, and there is no reason to believe that he isn’t, then he will nominate a defender of the Second Amendment to the US Supreme Court to fill the vacancy created by the death of Justice Scalia.
Given that the Republicans have a majority in the US Senate, whomever Mr. Trump nominates is likely to be confirmed.
As important as his nominees are, as a short term matter his choices for Attorney General and the Solicitor General are nearly as important. Here is a case which is directly on point – Nesbitt v. US Army Corps of Engineers.
On October 24th, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals notified the parties that this case is being considered for oral arguments which would take place in February of 2017. Had Ms. Clinton won, then the Federal lawyers arguing to defend the US Army Corps of Engineer ban on carrying firearms on Corps’ managed land would very likely have taken a position on the ban even further to the left than President Obama’s lawyers made.
Curiously, Mr. Obama’s lawyers did not claim that the Second Amendment right is confined to the interior of one’s home. His lawyers took the position that the lands managed by the Army Corps of Engineers is a “sensitive place” where the carrying of firearms can be banned.
President Trump’s new lawyer will have the opportunity to tell the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that the Army Corps of Engineer ban is a violation of the Second Amendment and if this case makes it to the US Supreme Court then President Trump’s new Solicitor General will have the opportunity to tell the United States Supreme Court that the ban is unconstitutional.
The same is true of any Federal challenge to any Federal gun law.
And, of course, the opportunities to eliminate Federal guns laws are not limited to the Federal courts. The Republicans hold a majority in both the US Senate and the House of Representatives.
The Founding Fathers wisely limited the powers of the Presidency but they gave the President two powerful tools. The first is the veto pen. If Congress does not send to the President bills that include repeals of Federal gun laws then he can veto the bills and send them back to the Congress. The second is even more powerful and is in two parts. The first part was mentioned above, the second part is that as the Chief Executive of the Executive Branch of the Federal Government he can choose not to enforce Federal gun laws, or any Federal law for that matter.
The danger we face is that the leadership of the so-called gun-rights groups actually like gun-control laws. They will not be lobbying for a repeal of America’s gun-control laws because without them they have no reasons to ask the gullible members of the public for donations and without the public sending these groups hundreds of millions of dollars a year, their leadership would have to go out and get real jobs.
Keep an eye on who Mr. Trump chooses as his Attorney General and Solicitor General. If he chooses notorious opponents of the Second Amendment, like Rudy Giuliani, then supporters of the Second Amendment may find themselves lamenting that Mr. Obama did not win a third term.