Sotomayor faces backlash for gun rights views after bodyguards shoot would-be carjacker: ‘Incredibly ironic’

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Two armed U.S. Marshals on the protection detail for Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor shot a would-be carjacker in self-defense last week, casting scrutiny on her co-signing a 2010 Supreme Court opinion that decried such firearm protection as a Second Amendment right. 

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Kentrell Flowers, 18, was shot Friday after he approached an unmarked Marshals vehicle near Sotomayor’s home. Flowers pointed a handgun at one of the two Marshals on duty through the driver-side window in an apparent attempt to carjack him, according to a police report.

Flowers was arrested at the hospital and faces charges of armed carjacking, carrying a pistol without a license and possession of a large capacity ammunition feeding device.


U.S. Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotomayor speaking

U.S. Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotomayor, and Amy Coney Barrett, not pictured, hold a conversation with moderator Eric Liu, Co-Founder and CEO of Citizen University, during a panel discussion at the Civic Learning Week National Forum at George Washington University on March 12, 2024, in Washington, DC. (Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

The incident sparked criticism of Sotomayor’s Second Amendment positions during her tenure on the high court, including one decision where she co-signed a dissent that said the Constitution does not protect “a private right of armed self-defense.” 

In that case, McDonald v. Chicago, decided in 2010, then-Justice Steven Breyer dissented from the majority which ruled that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to own a gun against the regulations of state and local governments.

“In sum, the Framers did not write the Second Amendment in order to protect a private right of armed self-defense,” Breyer wrote. 


Sotomayor talks about memoir

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor gestures as she speaks about her home life as a child and what drove her to a career in law on Aug. 17, 2019, at the Mississippi Book Festival in Jackson, Miss.  (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)

Ryan Petty, a school safety activist whose daughter was murdered in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in 2018, commented on the incident in a post on X, saying, “Defensive gun use.”

Parker Thayer of Capital Research commented on X, “Sotomayor is protected by the same guns she has repeatedly written that civilians do not need and should not own.”

Justice Sotomayor has aggressively opposed the individual right to self-defense in her dissenting opinions on several major Second Amendment cases over the years,” Erich Pratt, senior vice president for Gun Owners of America, told Fox News Digital. 

“So it is incredibly ironic, even hypocritical, that her own private protective detail was forced to exercise this basic and universal right to protect themselves in a very dangerous situation. Hopefully, this incident will open her eyes, but we won’t hold our breath,” he said.

This term, Sotomayor penned a dissent in a case that ruled a ban on a firearm accessory known as a “bump stock” was unconstitutional. 


“Today, the Court puts bump stocks back in civilian hands. To do so, it casts aside Congress’s definition of ‘machinegun’ and seizes upon one that is inconsistent with the ordinary meaning of the statutory text and unsupported by context or purpose. When I see a bird that walks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, I call that bird a duck. A bump-stock-equipped semiautomatic rifle fires ‘automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger.’ Because I, like Congress, call that a machinegun, I respectfully dissent,” she wrote. 

Sotomayor, who was nominated to the Court by then-President Barack Obama, took heat from lawmakers who were concerned about her Second Amendment philosophy. 

In 2004, she joined an opinion that cited as precedent “the right to possess a gun is clearly not a fundamental right.”


In 2009, she also joined an opinion with the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that Second Amendment rights do not apply to the states.

Fox News Digital’s Stephen Sorace contributed to this report.

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