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The majority of the GOP presidential field broke with the decision of the late Justice Antonin Scalia by promising to fight back on all restrictions to the Second Amendment despite Scalia’s landmark decision that kept the door open for some restrictions on “dangerous weapons.”
When Fox News’s Chris Wallace asked Marco RubioMarco RubioWebb: What matters now is policy McMahon dodges smackdown from Small Business Committee Why the era of US global leadership is over MORE which lines he would draw around the Second Amendment, he answered: “As few as possible.”
“The Second Amendment, as I’ve said before, is not a suggestion,” he added.
“It is the Second Amendment for the reason. It is right after the defense of the freedom of speech for a reason, for clearly the founders of our nation understood and the framers of the Constitution understood that you cannot have life, you cannot have liberty and you cannot pursue happiness if you are not safe.”
He went onto add that “criminals don’t follow gun laws,” so any restrictions on the Second Amendment would only hurt law abiding citizens.
Donald TrumpDonald TrumpSenate committee moving forward with Russia hacking probe Trump must re-engage Africa to halt Chinese inroads Voter fraud allegations reignite squabble MORE walked back his previous support of an assault weapons ban, while Ted CruzTed CruzCruz shares 'proof' of basketball skills - with pic of Duke look-alike Cruz introduces bill letting states bar refugees Trump's America: Businessmen in, bureaucrats out MORE chided Trump for his previous support of the policy and added that the ban was ineffective.
John Kasich was not asked to weigh in.
In Scalia’s landmark 2008 opinion, D.C. vs. Heller, the majority of the court agreed that the right to bear arms applies to an individual even if they are not part of a militia. Its most immediate effect was to strike down a Washington, D.C., law banning handguns in the city.
But Scalia’s opinion left the door open for some limits to the right to bear arms, specifically “prohibiting the carrying of ‘dangerous and unusual weapons.’” He also wrote that court precedent “does not protect those weapons not typically possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes, such as short-barreled shotguns.”
None of the candidates specifically addressed that language, the crux of the question. But Cruz warned that with Scalia’s recent death, the confirmation of a liberal Supreme Court justice would lead to “the Heller decision being overturned, which would effectively erase the Second Amendment.”