Governor Andrew Cuomo issued the following open letter on Sunday to the Senate condemning Judge Kavanaugh's record on gun safety and calling on the U.S. Senate to oppose his confirmation.
President Trump's nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court is frightening on many fronts. He is an extreme conservative who will use the Court to attack our progressive values and advance the President's political agenda. I have already been one of the most vocal advocates opposing his nomination for the threat his nomination poses to reproductive health rights and calling for action here in New York to preemptively codify Roe v. Wade into law.
Today I write to underscore another grave danger represented by the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh. Kavanaugh's judicial record shows that he believes the Constitution gives an unlimited right to carry even the most dangerous assault weapons. As a member of our nation's highest court, Brett Kavanaugh threatens to overturn the NY Safe Act and put New Yorkers in danger. He must be stopped.
In 2011, Kavanaugh offered the lone vote against the District of Columbia's ban on assault weapons, writing that regulating assault weapons was "equivalent to a ban on a category of speech." The other two judges were appointed by Republicans, but still, they stood up for reasonable limits against assault weapons and upheld the ban.
Think about the extremism of that position: Judge Kavanaugh believes it is a constitutional right to own semi-automatic rifles. Was James Madison thinking about possessing a semi-automatic rifle as a constitutionally protected right? The idea that in 1788 the authors of the Constitution could ever have fathomed the semi-automatic rifle is an absurdity and we cannot and should not allow this kind of thinking to have a voice on the Supreme Court.
Judge Kavanaugh's extreme views on guns are even more conservative than the late right-leaning Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. In District of Columbia v. Heller, which established an individual right to possess a gun for lawful purposes like self-defense, Scalia still wrote in the majority decision that the 2nd Amendment "is not unlimited."
In New York, we took action against assault weapons because we believe these weapons of war have no place in our communities. They serve only to make shootings deadlier and more violent: since 2007, at least 173 people have been murdered in mass shootings involving the deadly AR-15, including in Newtown, Las Vegas, San Bernardino and Parkland.
In the wake of the tragedy at Sandy Hook, we passed the NY SAFE Act banning assault weapons and advancing the strongest set of gun safety laws in the nation. And while President Trump blocks any meaningful gun safety legislation in Congress, we continue to lead the way, passing legislation this year to remove guns from domestic violence abusers.
We cannot let the extreme conservatives in the federal government roll back all that we have achieved. At a time when this nation is rising up and calling for action to put an end to tragedies like Parkland, Judge Kavanaugh will take us backward and set the gun safety movement back for generations to come.
On behalf of all New Yorkers, I call on you to do everything you can to stop Judge Kavanaugh's confirmation and protect our communities from the scourge of gun violence.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo