Days before Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation hearings are set to begin, the National Rifle Association Freedom Action Foundation will air TV ads across the nation to highlight the importance of the Supreme Court’s makeup to gun rights.
“Four Supreme Court justices believe you have the right to defend yourselves with a gun. Four do not,” the narrator in the ad begins. “The men and women of the NRA will not let anti-gun elites strip away our rights or our freedom.”
The nearly $1 million ad buy will air across the nation on broadcast, cable and satellite. The ad, provided to McClatchy, will run Tuesday through March 22. Gorsuch’s hearings start March 20.
“The Supreme Court played a pivotal role in affirming our Second Amendment rights in its historic Heller and McDonald decisions,” said Chris W. Cox, president of the NRA Freedom Action Foundation. “But it’s critical for Americans to remember that their basic right to keep a gun in their homes for self-defense survived at the court by only one vote. This ad campaign highlights that important reality.”
Gorsuch’s conservative views on issues, including the Second Amendment, have echoed Scalia’s positions and will take on more weight amid the higher-stakes Supreme Court fight.
“Gun possession is often lawful and sometimes even protected as a matter of constitutional right,” Gorsuch stressed in a 2012 dissent, adding that the felon convicted of possessing a firearm “might very well be wrongfully imprisoned.”
The NRA Freedom Action Foundation praised Trump’s nomination of Gorsuch, 49, who sits on a federal court of appeals that spans Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming and parts of Oklahoma.
After his announcement, Trump immediately met with a group of supporters that included the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre and Juanita D. Duggan of the National Federation of Independent Business.
“President Trump has made an outstanding choice in nominating Judge Gorsuch for the U.S. Supreme Court. He has an impressive record that demonstrates his support for the Second Amendment,” Cox said at the time. “We urge the Senate to swiftly confirm Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, just as it did in confirming him to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit by a unanimous voice vote.”
Cox cited an opinion in which he wrote that "the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to own firearms and may not be infringed lightly."
Other special interest groups have aired ads for and against Gorsuch in the weeks leading to the hearings. Senate Democrats have vowed to filibuster Gorsuch’s appointment, requiring the Senate to secure 60 votes to confirm him.