Sour Grapes

December 22nd, 2012

Immediately following the Sandy Hook shooting, the gun control lobby told us they wanted a conversation with us. They seem to define "conversation" as a plurality of ultimatums. It comes as little surprise that the NRA is giving them nothing they want.

Nor should we. We're not the ones who turned the murder of 20 children into sickening political theater.

There's simply no point to bargaining with the anti-gun lobby because that's the last thing they want. Negotiation implies that each side gives something, but when have they ever given us anything? We have no philosophical or moral obligation to …

Simple Math

December 19th, 2012

If every member of the NRA would make the minimum donation of $25.00 to the ILA, that would total $100 million.

That's the cost of a couple of PMAGs or a box of premium ammo, and it's a more effective investment at the moment.

Alternately, you cry about possible gun control legislation, sit back and do nothing, then cry about real gun control legislation. Seems pretty clear to me.

Salt in the Wound

June 2nd, 2011

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled [pdf] that the NRA is eligible for reimbursement of attorneys' fees from Chicago and Oak Park.  That makes my day.

You may recall that the NRA had a case running in parallel to McDonald v. Chicago, and though they lost, they were later vindicated by Alan Gura's victory in the Supreme Court.  The ever-quotable Frank Easterbrook writes:

This litigation was over except for the entry of an injunction by the district court. Chicago and Oak Park capitulated, which made the exercise unnecessary. By the time defendants bowed to the inevitable,


June 19th, 2010

Just yesterday, the Gun Owners of America was castigating the NRA for supposedly "selling out" other gun organizations by carving themselves an exemption from the provisions of HR 5175 (also known as the DISCLOSE Act).  Today, they're taking credit for killing the thing.  Go figure.

The NRA's "carve out" exemption was the poison pill that killed the act.  The 1st Amendment is at best a tangential issue for the NRA, but in this case, they had to get involved to protect the interests of their membership.  Getting directly involved in a 1st Amendment battle takes …

Virginia Gets It

May 3rd, 2010

HB 1217 has passed in Virginia.  The bill allows local elementary schools to teach firearms safety to students, using the NRA's Eddie Eagle program as a template.

Predictable but impotent resistance came from the Virginia Center for Public Safety, a Brady Campaign partner.  The VCPC is an affiliate of States United to Prevent Gun Violence, who recently merged with Joyce Foundation beneficiary Freedom States Alliance (*).

A spokesperson for the VCPC lamented that firearms safety training did not belong in the schools, and that it is "up to the parents to teach that at home."  With the latter, I agree.

The problem is, that's not happening.  If parents were doing their jobs, this wouldn't be an issue.

NRA Bashing

May 1st, 2010

Apparently, some folks are unhappy with the NRA's actions leading up to the passage of SB 308.  In fact, they're so riddled with angst, they're quitting the NRA and urging others to do so.

Why?  The claim is that the NRA withdrew their support for the bill because the language re-legalizing carry in the insecure areas of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport was stripped from the final version.   Allegations have been made that NRA lobbyists pressured Senators to vote against the bill, and that they attempted to "sabotage" it.

As far as I can gather, this comes from three sources:

a poorly-written article with a misspelled title
a claim from an organization that's voiced hostility to the NRA before, and
the utterances of two Senators who were opposed to the bill's passage.

Of course, none of the three people who foamed at the mouth to me about it in person could tell me exactly what was said, who said it, or in what context it was said.

Well, if you're making a claim like that, I'd expect proof, not hearsay.

Division in the Ranks

January 8th, 2010

Paul Clement, representing the NRA, has filed a motion [pdf] requesting a portion of the time reserved for petitioners' oral arguments in McDonald v. Chicago.  Alan Gura will have thirty minutes to argue his case before the Court, some of which will be given over to Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott.  I doubt he can spare another ten.

The gist of the NRA motion is that they wish to have more time dedicated to arguments in favor of Due Process incorporation, believing that it "presents the most straightforward and direct route" to incorporating the 2nd Amendment.

The NRA had their chance to argue for selective incorporation.  They did so before the 7th Circuit last June, and it was a good case.  It was considered, alongside McDonald, to be heard by the Supreme Court.  The Court chose McDonald.

The Justices could have taken the easy way out with the NRA case, which asked only for selective incorporation.  In taking McDonald, the Court is telling us that they're interested in entering a larger and more important debate. Clement seems worried that, should the Court choose not to overturn Slaughterhouse and Cruikshank, the game is up.

This is simply not true.

Chicago Responds

August 10th, 2009

Counsel for the City of Chicago have responded [pdf] to the McDonald/NRA petitions to have their case heard before the Supreme Court next term.  If you're just tuning in, jump in here.

First off, it's a mess.  Seriously, as I parsed through this and took notes, I felt like I was grading a grammar-school book report rather than a legal argument.

They pounce very quickly on the fact that Nordyke is being reheard and that, in the meantime, it is not precedent. Therefore, there is no split among the Circuit courts. That removes one of our arguments for petitioning for cert.

Of course, that situation may change in the near future.

They seem to be trying their best to preclude incorporation under Privileges or Immunities clause. Their strategy seems to be to force the issue to be decided by the Due Process clause.

Why? Because they're trying to prove that keeping and bearing arms is not a "natural" right, and therefore not subject to incorporation, I guess. They appear to be trying to push us into a corner, forcing us to prove that self-defense itself is a natural right.  Plenty of precedent, from Locke and Blackstone to present day, says it is.  So what are they thinking?

Maloney v. Rice

June 28th, 2009

Today's the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision in Heller v. District of Columbia. James Maloney, appellant in Maloney v. Cuomo, has filed a petition for his case to be heard before the Supreme Court next session. The case is now Maloney v. Rice (pdf). Kathleen Rice is the current District Attorney for Nassau County.

The petition follows and supplements the 14th Amendment claim Mr. Maloney made before the 2nd Circuit in February. It points out that the Circuit Courts are now divided three ways on the question of 14th Amendment incorporation, which would demand that the Supreme Court rectify this discrepancy. It's worth noting that 7th Circuit Justice Easterbrook also acknowledged this disparity in NRA v. Chicago.

Maloney also recognizes the existence of the pending petitions from Alan Gura and the NRA, and he suggests consolidating all three:

Either or both of the pending petitions for certiorari on the Second Amendment incorporation issues arising out of National Rife Association would be fitting for this Court to grant because those cases present the same Fourteenth Amendment issues concerning applicability of the Second Amendment to the States invoked in this petition. Indeed, consolidating those cases with this case and granting certiorari over all of them as a unit would put before the Court the fullest possible range of factual and legal settings in which to consider and resolve the burning issue of Second Amendment incorporation. (p. 25)

Such a measure would represent the largest, broadest coalition of 2nd Amendment resources in American history towards a single goal.

NRA v. Chicago, up the ladder

June 2nd, 2009

It took less than a week, but the 7th Circuit has passed down their judgement in National Rifle Association of America v. City of Chicago [pdf]. They disagree with Nordyke and find that the 14th Amendment does not incorporate the 2nd Amendment against state and local governments.

I fully expected this. What I didn't expect was for the 7th to so gleefully and eagerly hand the ball off to the Supreme Court, which is what they're doing here.

Presiding Judge Easterbrook argues,

Cruikshank, Presser, and Miller rejected arguments that depended on the privileges and immunities clause of the fourteenth amendment. The Slaughter-House Cases, 83 U.S. (16 Wall.) 36 (1873), holds that the privileges and immunities clause does not apply the Bill of Rights, en bloc, to the states. [p. 2]

There's just one little problem with that logic: this isn't about the privileges and immunities clause, and it never was. Nordyke found incorporation through the due process clause, the same clause under which all other civil rights have been incorporated.

Interesting that the due process clause is never mentioned in Easterbrook's opinion. Very interesting.

Time for another amnesty?

May 16th, 2009

So, the debate around Coburn's amendment to the Credit Card Holder's Bill of Rights brings up several possibilities.

The one I've heard most of is reversing the Hughes Amendment to the FOPA. If you're unfamiliar with it, I suggest reading up here. It's a long but enlightening read.

The Hughes Amendment made it "unlawful for any person to transfer or possess a machinegun except in the case of a machinegun that was lawfully possessed before the date of enactment." In plain terms, civilians cannot procure machineguns made after 1986.

The primary effect was to reduce the supply to a pre-existing pool of weapons, therefore raising prices through the roof. You want a machinegun? Find someone who already owns one and convince them to sell it to you. They can ask pretty much whatever they want.

Like many people, I'd like to see the Hughes Amendment repealed, but I know that the chances of such a thing are pretty much nil.

I'll defer to Alan Gura on this one:

The solution to 922(o) will have to be political in the end. The fact is, outside the gun community, the concept of privately owned machine guns is intolerable to American society and 100% of all federal judges. If I had suggested in any way — including, by being evasive and indirect and fudging the answer — that machine guns are the next case and this is the path to dumping 922(o) — I'd have instantly lost all 9 justices. Even Scalia.

In short, it ain't gonna happen.

On Strategy

May 10th, 2009

I got a call from an NRA rep this morning, asking me for my support on a "critical issue." OK, which one?

His response? HR 45, a bill that was introduced in January. I wrote about it in February, and it hasn't gained an inch of traction since. It's dead, people. Just like last year.

And yet, I'm getting frantic calls about it in May. It was the big story in America's First Freedom last month. Are they truly this far behind the curve? I don't think so.

So, why are they bugging me about it?

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