July 14th, 2009
11:47 AM ET
5 years ago

Sotomayor says she recognizes individual right to bear arms

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Judge Sonia Sotomayor said Tuesday that she recognizes an individual right to bear arms as recently identified by the U.S. Supreme Court.

"I have friends who hunt" and "understand fully" the Second Amendment right identified in the ruling District of Columbia v. Heller, she said.

The recent Supreme Court 5-4 ruling concluded that a sweeping handgun ban in the nation's capital violated Americans' constitutional right to "keep and bear arms."

In the 2009 2nd Circuit ruling Maloney v. Cuomo, Sotomayor stated that the Second Amendment right applied only to the federal government, and had not yet been applied to individual states.

In the 2004 ruling U.S. v. Sanchez Villar - decided prior to Heller - Sotomayor rejected a challenge to New York state's pistol licensing law, arguing that "the right to possess a gun is clearly not a fundamental right."

Sotomayor stressed Tuesday that her rulings followed a strong legal precedent.

–CNN's Bill Mears contributed to this report


Filed under: Sonia Sotomayor • Supreme Court
soundoff (98 Responses)
  1. SmallGame Hunter

    To Dutch/Badnews VA.
    I do hunt with a AR-15, small game like woodchucks and coyote's I also compete in Rife matches using a AR-15. Law abiding Citizens should have the right to process Semi Automatic weapons for Hunting, target pratice, Criminals and to defend oneself from a increasingly oppressive Government.

    July 14, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  2. MDM

    two things:

    "Obama was a professor of Constitutional Law"

    So was/is Robert Bork

    "Obama is a Harvard grad, the Ivy League education is so much better than his predessor"

    Bush graduated from Yale, and is the only U.S. President with an M.B.A. ( also from Yale)

    Please refrain from using two points above as validation for the President.

    July 14, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  3. Marge

    She will be confirmed and rightfully so! but I love these hearings...I want these Rethug losers to have ALL the time they need to show America just how inept they are...
    She's smarter than all of them,...Sessions 'thought' he was going to "score" some politcal points yet she went toe to toe with him!

    July 14, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  4. herbert

    she latina and no have authority to be govurnor. why she even run?

    July 14, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  5. ONCE UPON A HORSE

    wow looks like the far right neo cons are out in full force today...doesn't really matter though because she's going to be confirmed anyway and you guys will still have the only weapon you have left, the internet where you can come and whine daily to get it off your chest.

    July 14, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  6. Jaz in Chitown

    @Randolph Carter

    Because, unlike motor vehicles, owning a gun is a right not a privledge. That right says that congress will not infringe on an individual's right to keep and bear arms. Registrations and permits are an infringement to that right.

    July 14, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  7. Marc

    Scott Tucson – So, basically, because there is a very remote possibility that one day in the FUTURE there MIGHT be an oppressive and unconstitucional government ruling the USA you're advocating the right of, TODAY, have ANY weapon you want to?
    How can someone live in such a constant and abnormal fear?

    Texashunter – Hitler did a lot of things to better have complete control of Germany, that did not stopped brave germans to try (and unfortunately fail) to kill him nearly 40 times!
    As much as FOX News is annoyingly pathetic for me with their constant 'reinvention' (twisting) of the facts, like the many times hey put a D of Democrat instead of the R in front of Sanford's name lately, I don't see and don't think that I will see president Obama challenging their right to exist or sending his paramilitary croonies to erase them of existence, do you?

    July 14, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  8. joey

    I love the amount of people saying
    "I am a liberal democrat, but...." You only THINK you are a liberal democrat because it is the "IN" thing these days. All the movie stars are there and the pariah in the white house is a snake oil salesman.

    If you are a "liberal democrat" that is against gun control than you are a MODERATE.

    there is nothing wrong with picking and choosing your issues. But how can you claim to be something that you disagree with?

    Too many people caught up in the Dem vs Repub debate. Not enough people voting with common sense.

    July 14, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  9. conservative

    She will say that until seated and the libs pressure her!

    July 14, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  10. Terry

    Why all the negative comments that she will support Obama policy? He chose her for a reason... the same reason that all Presidents select specific judges. All you wingnut rightists need to move on or move to another country. YOU LOST.... get over it.

    July 14, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  11. Carol

    Once again, a Republican confusing his belief with the truth.

    ******************************************************
    RR July 14th, 2009 12:50 pm ET

    her actions differ from her words. Just like Obama.

    July 14, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  12. S Callahan

    I don't want a gun..but if a day came and I did ..I certainly would not want to loose my right to own one. This is one of those things that if messed with would rile the souls of Americans.....

    July 14, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  13. FEMALES FOR FEMALES

    OH DO YOU? Now tell us what you really believe.

    July 14, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  14. obongohuffsjenkem

    It's still a free country Libtards.....if you can afford 20 AK's, that's your $, do with it what you want.

    July 14, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  15. rick

    SO RR, and Zero, And Terry, to pick the low hanging fruit. Are there instances in the past 8 years, or 20 years to immitate this issue? Pick a gun, pick a fight.

    "actions differ from her words", shall we quote the George or Cheney over the past eight years?

    How about "Presidential signings"? OK I'll sign this, with the following stipulations as I see them". Publicised???

    Niether extreme side of the "right to bear arms" recognizes the current day issues. Want to shoot each other, pick up and load a musket. Push or pull so reasonable limits need to be applied. Hunting./fishing with mortars is NOT gamesmanship. Automatic firing is NOT "hunting"

    State your issues within reasonable bounds, else be labeled as partisan, biased, party monger, etc.

    July 14, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  16. S Callahan

    No space to give my take: I am somewhat disppointed that Sonia Sotomayor did not share her personal view on the abortion issue...because it really is NOT settled. Numerous polls have shown the face of America is changing on this...more are pro life than not. Maybe it's time to start a new case and open the issue as in support of pro life....just a thought. Being a feminist, a fighter for womans rights, does not mean sacrafice to inner beliefs. This issue should had Never been on the books of government.....Government should never have the authority ot determine who lives and who doesn't. There is a already a fair Judge for that.

    July 14, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  17. Steve, Columbia SC

    Ms. Sotomayor, please confirm you also believe the Second Amendment applies to my right to own any firearm other than fully automatic weapons for self defense and general sport shooting other than hunting.

    July 14, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  18. Leslie

    Regulate the second ammendment and YOU regulate your first ammendment which is FREE SPEECH. The first and second ammendment goes hand in hand, the second reinforced the first. Of course some people are just plain ignorant. NEVER for one second believe your right to free speech would still be alive today if the second ammendment is not in the constitution. The Democrats could have turned this country into dictatorial form of government a long time ago without the second ammendment. For years the Democratic Party wanted to eliminate the second ammendment.

    July 14, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  19. Just My Opinion in Texas

    Uh-huh .. suuure!

    Sorry ma'am but I trust you just about as far as I could throw you! You are like the rest of the gun-grabbers on the Left. I have a news flash for you & the rest of the anti-gun folks ... gun laws do NOT work. Why?? Because criminals don't abide by the laws we ALREADY have! What on GOD'S green Earth makes anyone think they are going to pay attention to a gun law??

    It's just another law for them to break. Why is that concept so hard for gun grabbers on the Left to understand?

    (As for me ... I have a pistol for personal protection but my rifles, shotguns & ammo are all nicely locked up in my gun safe. Gun owners MUST be responsible about keeping them locked up when not in use. But as for banning them ... in the words of the late Charlton Heston ... " From my cold, dead hands! ")

    July 14, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  20. Leslie

    Sotomayor is SUPPORTED and ENDORSED by ACORN.

    July 14, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  21. Leslie

    Sotomayor also SHOW HER IGNORANCE of the US Constitution; the second ammendment is A FEDERAL LAW under the BILL OF RIGHTS; that is NOT left for individual states to decide. You're now seeing how our laws being twisted by Sotomayor.

    July 14, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  22. chris

    isnt it cool that Obama is president for at least 3 1/2 more years and this lady will be confirmed..this is really cool!!!!!!!dont you think my conservative friends...very very cool

    July 14, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  23. Trade Freedom for Security, Lose Both

    The Founding Fathers intentionally put in place mechanisms designed to limit the power of the Federal Government. Some are free speech, free press, peacebly assemble, allowing citizens to bear arms, private property rights, and more. In other words, the Founding Fathers recognized a government should live in fear of its people – not the other way around. Diminish or eliminate these basic rights gives the Government power it should not have.

    July 14, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
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