One of the biggest impacts that the Trump administration has had and will continue to make on gun rights is the extensive list of federal judges that have been appointed and confirmed.
With the help of Mitch McConnell in the Senate ramming confirmations through the process, even the balance in the Ninth Circuit has changed and, if Trump wins re-election, will have rightward, pro-gun rights tilt for the first time in generations.
[F]orecasting how the Supreme Court might act, or even whether it will take certain cases, is fraught with uncertainty. The court has steered clear of gun-rights cases since establishing an individual right to possess guns in 2008 2010, and has let stand a number of state gun restrictions.
Still, gun-rights supporters are excited by the changes brought by Trump and the Republican-controlled Senate. The upcoming Supreme Court session “could be a real game-changer” with Trump’s appointments of Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, said Chuck Michel, an attorney who represents both the National Rifle Association and the affiliated California Rifle & Pistol Association.
“To the extent that the composition of the court has changed and that it will give the Second Amendment back its teeth, it’s very important,” Michel said. “It looks like there’s enough votes on the court right now to reset the standard.”
His clients are challenging California’s ammunition background check and extended magazine ban before U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez, an appointee of former President George W. Bush.
Other states that limit ammunition magazines in some way, typically between 10 and 20 rounds, are Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Vermont, according to the Giffords Law Center.
Democrats said the prospect of four more years of Trump judicial appointments is helping energize their opposition to his re-election.
“This would be one of the lasting legacies of Donald Trump,” said former California state Senate leader Kevin de Leon, a Democrat from Los Angeles who carried or supported many of the state’s firearms restrictions, including limits on military-style assault weapons. “When Trump is gone, they will be there for lifetime appointments.”
– Don Thompson in Gun-control backers concerned about changing federal courts