GOA Release on Heller

GOA once again fans of the flame of anger and resentment by trying to trash people who actually pick up the ball and try to move if forward:

More to the point, Justice John Paul Stevens asked Alan Gura, the attorney for Dick Heller, if it would be proper to say that the right protected in the Second Amendment shall not be “unreasonably infringed”?

To our shock and horror, Gura answered “yes.” He did qualify his answer somewhat by saying “we don’t know” exactly what this “unreasonable standard looks like.” But he conceded a significant amount of ground with his answer, because any ban would be “reasonable” to Chuck Schumer and Sarah Brady.

Truth be told, we do have a proper standard for interpreting the Second Amendment. The language doesn’t say anything about “reasonable” or “unreasonable;” it simply says the right of the people “shall not be infringed.” It’s a shame that even people on “our side” don’t fully understand that.

Larry Pratt is no doubt a legal expert and knows better than the parties involved in this case, many of whom were experienced supreme court litigators, how to handle oral arguments before The Court.  And is GOA suggesting with “our side” schtick in quotes that the people who worked long and hard on this case, many of whom have been laying the groundwork for this all their academic and legal careers are not on it?

As I said yesterday in a comment over at Dave Hardy’s site, where Dave mentioned Gura was getting messages all that evening from angry folks:

I want to be the first to welcome Mr. Gura to the wonderful world of pro-gun activism, where if he had the entire team of petitioners dangling over a shark tank with a copy of the National Firearms Act sticking out of their back pockets, there would still be yahoos screaming that the sharks don’t look hungry enough.

Guys like Dave Hardy, Dave Kopel, Clayton, Joe Olsen, Alan Gura, Bob Levy, Bob Cottrol — the names of people who have worked on this case could go on and on — they are on our side.  I don’t question that.  I do question whether Larry Pratt and the GOA are interested in really anything other than feathering their own nests at the expense of the entire movement.  Alan Gura in all liklihood just won a case that gives us a second amendment that actually means something, but he’s not on our side?  GOA can go to hell.

12 thoughts on “GOA Release on Heller”

  1. Good to see my decision to not give money to the GOA wasn’t wasted.

    Mr. Gura’s response was quite accurate. Had he stuck to the non-yielding GOA train of thought, we’d have nothing instead of something.

    The GOA must make shitty wood choppers if they think all it takes is one whack.

  2. Larry Pratt is not a legal expert. He’s an asshole who makes his living off doing stuff like this. Watch. GOA will do a fundraiser mailing to the lunatic fringe saying Gura/Heller/NRA/somebody sold the 2nd Amendment out to SCOTUS while GOA stood tall and please send us money because we’re the only ones standing up for you.

  3. All political groups must have the extremeists to keep the moderates honest.

  4. I don’t think the gun movement should just have one voice. We need many, including “extremist” ones. What we don’t need are groups who constantly berate pro-gun efforts in an attempt to sell themselves as the one, true voice.

    Despite NRA’s many flaws, one thing I’ve never heard them do, and this is even folks with the association talking to me privately where they know they could get away with it, is criticize another pro-gun group. They have very strong cultural inclination within their organization against criticizing people on our side. Other gun groups, particularly GOA, need to start fostering that kind of culture.

  5. I think that there is definately a place for GOA on this landscape. I definately disagree with them on this issue….but none the less, there is a place for them.

    Generally, we need to downplay this “split” among gun owners, rather than up-play it. After all….up-playing it is what folks like AHSA are doing.

    Even if the GOA keeps up their rhetoric on this, we need to downplay the differences.

    This is a much better problem to have than if Kennedy, for example, would have come out saying something like “I think that the right to arms is very closely tied, if not dependent upon, the militia portion of the amendment.

    What would we be arguing about, then? I must agree with Gura that it seems that some folks just can’t help but stay angry, no matter what happens. It’s just too bad.

  6. Generally, we need to downplay this “split” among gun owners, rather than up-play it. After all….up-playing it is what folks like AHSA are doing.

    Even if the GOA keeps up their rhetoric on this, we need to downplay the differences.

    I don’t agree. GOA plants seeds into the movement which will sow its own destruction if this stuff goes unanswered. There’s plenty of groups out there, such as SAF, CCRKBA, and JPFO (most of the time), I’m happy to agree to disagree with when we part ways. I’m not going to give GOA a pass when GOA keep promoting the split among gun owners, by tempting gun owners with “Come join us. We’re real defenders of your rights, unlike all those other people who don’t have your best interests at heart.” It’s divisive, it’s destructive, and I don’t think we should tolerate it.

  7. I’d like to also commend Dick Heller for being, effectively, the football in all of this. I’m not sure I entirely understand what sacrifices he has made in the last 5 years of this case, but I have a glimmering of an idea. Ditto for his 5 original co-plaintiffs.

  8. Sebastian:

    Regarding your post immediately prior to Federal Farmer…

    You have a very rational and realistic view of 2A rights, and, it seems, you steep your views of those rights in the undeniable social and political dynamics of our time. In other words, you seem to comprehend that our views of the 2A, at this time, must be woven into the social and political realities of this time. In other words, I have much respect for you, and for your views.

    But I guess as a humble counter to your sentiments above, I generally think it unwise for “we gun owners”, in the broad sense, to infight at this point in time. I mean, we don’t even have a decision yet. Of course, we all have our points, emphases, and priorities, and they obviously differ to some extent. But in as much as we allow issues that come up to divide us, whether petty or significant, it is generally less good for us and more good for those who would completely do away with the 2A and any protections it affords the people.

    That’s my opinion, and I will try to let well enough alone from here on out. I concede that people will do what people will do, and I won’t get too hung up over it, whatever it is.

    With respect,
    Carl in Chicago

  9. Oh, I agree that it doesn’t make much sense to infight. But is it preferable to allow divisive memes to flourish, or is it best to quash them? That’s the question I think we’re faced with here. Perhaps by attacking them we offer them credibility, so in that sense perhaps it’s a bad idea. But GOA inhabits a fever swamp, and the more gun owners get pulled into it, the worse, overall, I think we’ll be. I don’t deny them their “no compromise” position, even if I don’t think it’s effective. But I would like them to quit throwing pooh at people on their own side.

  10. Gura did fantastic, and Pratt (and others) are wrong to offer such harsh criticism, but there was a BETTER answer.

    As others have said, ‘Of course you would have gotten every answer perfect, even in those places where Gura was perfect you would have been perfect too.” — anyone who KNOWS this to be true of themself is full of crap.

    Everyone who MIGHT have argued this cases would have handled some questions and arguments different, some better, some worse. Overall almost everyone who tried would do worse on balance, and the few who might have done better (on balance, not just this one question) are not offering such harsh criticism?

    How could it have been handled better without falling into the “no gun law is Constitutional” trap that might have ruined everything for some Justice’s support?

    By agreeing it could be changed IF the other rights also had such wording in front of them, “unreasonably compelled to be a witness against himself”, “reasonably speedy trial”, “unreasonably cruel and unusual punishments”, “unreasonable law regarding an establishment of religion”, “unreasonably infringing the freedom of speech”.

    All of the rights protected by the Constitution have “reasonable” exceptions and so does the 2nd Amendment; it is for the courts and eventually belongs to this Court, to decide which reasonable infringements exist, while preventing governments to use the standard that anything which sounds reasonable in casual conversation or on a bumper sticker is in fact “reasonable” or “unreasonable”.

    This (or a better) response SHOULD have been prepared, pre-written, and rehearsed to use WHEN this question was ask or when opportunity presented.

    Another point that should have been better prepared was the issue of “common defense”: well of course this was the common language to mean defense of self, family, community, and ultimately the nation itself and the Constitution that protects our freedoms.

    Anyone would take for granted at the Framing that citizens had a right to self-defense and the means to perform that defense — at least equal to what the common criminal or British soldier might show up holding.

    Maybe you can say it better than even I can say it, but ideally such answers would have been perfected in rehearsal.

  11. Did anyone read the next few lines of the oral argument after the section quoted by GOA? Wasn’t it Alito who then coached Gura by saying “what you’re saying is that if they are reasonable, they are not infringements?”

    The genius of this statement is that it is absolutely correct, and it is our best argument against this GOA nonsense moving forward. This is where felons and the mentally ill do not possess the right, therefore a law restricting their possession of guns is not an infringement. This is also where the lineage of common law comes into play, as was also discussed in oral argument. It has been assumed for some time that these folks don’t have the right, so it is assumed that the Founders thought this way as well. Don’t get me wrong, there is always a slippery slope involved in tests of reasonableness, but this is a fight we will be involved in FOREVER. There will always be laws, there will always be legal challenges, there will always be politicians and “useful idiots.” GOA thinks we can what, just sweep aside all gun laws and then never look back?

    If GOA wants to change the legal/political climate for things like machineguns, Gura is right: Take a kid shooting, and stop sitting around in the pub bitching about the Feds.

Comments are closed.