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Did Supreme Court Justices Protect Gun Rights?

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Did Supreme Court Justices Protect Gun Rights?

By Phil Williams. CREATED Jul 24, 2014

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The attorney for a local gun owner said Thursday that three state Supreme Court justices deserve credit for protecting his client's Second Amendment rights.

That follows questions about claims that the campaign for the justices made in a recent TV ad, boasting about their records.

"And they kept their word - protecting individuals rights, the Second Amendment right to bear arms," the commercial says.

When NewsChannel 5 Investigates first asked, a spokesperson for the justices could not name a single gun-rights case that they had heard.

But, now, the campaign is pointing to the case of David Scott Blackwell.

Blackwell sued for his right to own a gun after he received a pardon for a drug crime he had committed when he was 20.

The Court of Appeals ruled in Blackwell's favor and, given a chance to take the case, the Supreme Court declined.

"By them denying the appeal on two occasions, they functionally upheld the Second Amendment right. My client has a firearm -- that's the bottom line," said Blackwell's attorney, David Raybin.

NewsChannel 5 reached out to local gun rights lawyer John Harris.

He said the Supreme Court accepts so few cases for review that, in his opinion, it's not always clear what conclusions to draw.

"It is hard to make the argument that their decision not to take that appeal means anything for or against the Second Amendment," he said.

"But clearly they had the opportunity to take that case up and decided not to do it."

The three justices - Connie Clark, Sharon Lee and Gary Wade - face votes in August over whether they should be retained.

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Phil Williams

Phil Williams

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Phil Williams is chief investigative reporter for NewsChannel 5's nationally award-winning investigative team. His investigations have earned him journalism's highest honors.