Washington (CNN) - A Republican lawmaker said Friday that senators should ask all judicial nominees about their views on the Second Amendment, which protects the right to keep and bear arms.
Speaking at the National Rifle Association's annual meeting, Sen. John Thune, R-South Dakota, singled out Elena Kagan for special scrutiny. President Obama nominated Kagan for the Supreme Court on Monday.
"One of the biggest threats that I think that we face going forward," Thune told the gathering of gun rights supporters, "is when it comes to appointments to the federal courts."
Thune told the activists that, in his opinion, confirming judges to the federal courts was "one of the most awesome responsibilities" that senators have.
"We need to make sure that as United States senators we take that responsibility very seriously. And we need to ask appointees, nominees to the federal courts – including Elena Kagan – what is her view on the Second Amendment? How is she going to make decisions?"
Thune framed his comments in the larger context of what he called "two competing visions about what the future of this country is going to be like."
"One consists of more government and less freedom," the senator said early in his address, "and the other one consists of less government and more freedom."
Thune, viewed as a possible GOP presidential contender in 2012, ended his remarks by telling the gun rights supporters that they should let leaders in Washington know "we choose freedom."
He added, "Never quit battling for our Constitution. Never quit defending our Second Amendment."