- In March of 2019, Barrett dissented from the majority opinion in Kanter v. Burr, disagreeing with the court’s finding that there was no explicit constitutional precedent banning states from prohibiting felons from owning guns. She looked to the precedent set by “founding-era legislatures” and gun laws for felons in the 18th and 19th centuries in justifying her dissent.
March 2019: Barrett Dissented In A Case Where It Was Upheld That The Prohibition Against Felons Owning Firearms Applies In All Cases Not Explicitly Exempted. According to her dissent, “If the Second Amendment were subject to a virtue limitation, there wouldbe no needfor the governmentto produce—or for the court to assess—evidence that nonviolent felonshave a propensityfor dangerous behavior.But Heller forecloses the ‘civic right’ argument on which a virtue limitation depends. And while both Wisconsin and the United States have anunquestionably strong interestin protecting thepublic from gunviolence, they havefailed to show,by either logic or data, cf. Skoien, 614 F.3d at 642, that disarming Kantersubstantially advances thatinterest […] I therefore dissent.” [Justia, 3/15/19]
- Barnett On Her Dissent In Kanter Vs. Barr: “There Was No Blanket Authorization To Take Guns, The Right To Possess A Gun From Someone Who Committed A Felony. That Sounds Kind Of Radical, To Say Felons Can Have Firearms.” ”Barnett said a lecture held by Hillsdale College about her dissent in the 2nd amendment rights case Cantor v Barr, “There was no blanket authorization to take guns, the right to possess a gun from someone who committed a felony. That sounds kind of radical, to say felons can have firearms, but I think it’s because what the longstanding prohibitions were and had been even under federal law until more recently, was that violent felons couldn’t have firearms. There’s been a longstanding practice--what the history showed me--is of those who pose a threat to the community cannot have firearms. And that makes sense, history is consistent with common sense. Those who would be risky with guns, who would pose danger with guns, then the state can take guns away. But in the instance of someone in which the state has not shown that the person has demonstrated any risk, the mere status of committing a felony, I found no historical support that said the state was then justified in taking it away. [Hillsdale College, 30:59, 2019]
- Barnett On Her Dissent In Kanter v. Barr: “Simply Saying Someone Has Committed A Felony Isn’t A Good Enough Reason.” Barnett said a lecture held by Hillsdale College about her dissent in the 2nd amendment rights case Cantor v Barr,“So i concluded that the line really isn't whether someone is a felon or not. But the line is whether someone is dangerous or not. Dangerous people shouldn't have guns but simply saying someone has committed a felony isn’t a good enough reason without markers of dangerousness. [Hillsdale College, 33:05, 2019]
Barrett Justified Her Position On Originalist Grounds That The Intent Of The Law Was To Stop “Dangerous” People Not Felons From Owning Guns. According to her dissent, “History is consistent with common sense: it demonstrates that legislatures have the power to prohibit dangerous people from possessing guns. But that power extends only to people who are dangerous. Founding-era legislatures did not strip felons of the right to bear arms simply because of their status as felons. Nor have the parties introduced any evidence that founding-era legislatures imposed virtue-based restrictions on the right; such restrictions applied to civic rights like voting and jury service, not to individual rights like the right to possess a gun. In 1791—and for well more than a century afterward— legislatures disqualified categories of people from the right to bear arms only when they judged that doing so was necessary to protect the public safety.” [Justia, 3/15/19]
- In Barret’s 2019 Gun Rights Dissent She Devoted Several Pages To 18th And 19th Century History Showing A Fondness For Originalism. According to Telegraph Herald, “She has long expressed sympathy with a mode of interpreting the Constitution, called originalism, in which justices try to decipher original meanings of texts in assessing if someone's rights have been violated. Many liberals oppose that strict approach, saying it is too rigid and doesn't allow the Constitution to change with the times. Barrett's fondness for original texts was on display in a 2019 dissent in a gun-rights case in which she argued a person convicted of a nonviolent felony shouldn't be automatically barred from owning a gun. All but a few pages of her 37-page dissent were devoted to the history of gun rules for convicted criminals in the 18th and 19th centuries.” [Telegraph Herald, 9/22/20]