Dave Kopel's Second Amendment Newsletter February 25, 2008

Dave Kopel's Second Amendment Project is based at the Independence Institute, a free-market think tank in Golden, Colorado.

The Independence Institute publishes several newsletters on other topics, plus a weekly newsletter containing our most recent op-eds and news of our activities. E-mail subscription to any of these newsletters is free.

Delivery of this newsletter comes courtesy of the Second Amendment Foundation, in Bellevue, Washington.

Please visit Dave Kopel's website, containing articles on the Second Amendment and other freedom topics.

Table of Contents

  1. SPECIAL REPORT ON THE HELLER CASE: Amicus Briefs and Analyses; Filings; Multimedia
  2. New By Kopel: International Comparisons; Human Right of Self-Defense; Ugandan Ethnocide; Dave cast into the Tower!
  3. International: Canada; Czech Republic; Guyana; India; Japan; Lebanon; Mexico; New Zealand; U.K.
  4. Culture: Credit Company's Gun Ban; Anti-Gun Gunrunner; NBA and NFL; Praeger Queries
  5. Self Defense: Guns on Campus; Texas 'Castle Law'; Offer to Train AZ teachers; Award to Church Defender
  6. Politics: NIU and the Campaign; Clinton 'Hypocrite' and Gun Summit
  7. The States: Colorado 'Safe Storage'; Virginia Gun Show Bill
  8. Law: Watson v. United States; Minnesota Churches; NYC 'Sting'; Red's Trading Post; OK Work Guns; KY Gun Fraud; Anti-Gun Lawyer Sentenced; D.C. Manufacturers' Suit; PA Pre-Emption
  9. Federal Issues: NICS Spin; VRHTP Act; BATFE Head Unconfirmed; Park Gun Policy
  10. Scholarship: New Articles; Rebuttal to 'Historians' Brief'

SPECIAL REPORT: The Supreme Court Second Amendment Case

Amicus CuriaeBriefs to the D.C. Gun Ban Case

On Writ of Certiori to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia

David B. Kopel, C.D Michel, and Jason A. Davis
February 8, 2008

Dave Kopel and a law enforcement coalition's amicus brief on the D.C. Case. Those behind Dave's brief include firearms trainers, the Maryland Fraternal Order of Police, and 29 California District Attorneys.

On Writ of Certiori to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia

Jeffrey B. Teichert
February 11, 2008
PDF files require Adobe Acrobat Reader or similar software.

This is the"errors brief‚" prepared by the citizens' Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. It identifies some of the falsehoods in the pro-ban briefs.

On Writ of Certiori to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia

Nelson Lund
George Mason School of Law
February 7, 2008
PDF files require Adobe Acrobat Reader or similar software.

In the Second Amendment Foundation's brief, Nelson Lund carefully explains the text of the Second Amendment.

Statement From Wayne LaPierre and Chris W. Cox On Vice President Dick Cheney Signing Congressional Amicus Curiae Brief In D.C. Case

Wayne LaPierre and Chris W. Cox
The National Rifle Association
February 8, 2008

The NRA expresses its gratitude to Vice President Dick Cheney, who signed the Congressional Amicus brief in the D.C. v. Heller case. The Bush Justice department's brief has provoked considerable negative reaction among those supporting the case.

Case Filings

Gura & Possessky, P.L.L.C
February 20, 2008

Here are all the filings in D.C. v. Heller, including all the amicus briefs on both sides.


In Liberty's Two Arms: Both clauses of the Second Amendment Protect Gun Rights

David B. Kopel
Legal Times
Jan. 14, 2008
PDF files require Adobe Acrobat Reader or similar software.

Applying Justice Stephen Breyer's book "Active Liberty" to the Second Amendment

The Supreme Decision. Analysis of the D.C. v. Heller case

David B. Kopel
America's 1st Freedom
January, 2008
PDF files require Adobe Acrobat Reader or similar software.

Here is Dave's own published analysis of the arguments and the issues at stake.

Respondent's Brief in DC v. Heller

David B. Kopel
The Volokh Conspiracy
February 7, 2008

This link takes you to a collection of 19 of Dave's blog posts, analyzing some of the leading briefs in DC v. Heller.

With Friends Like These...

Robert VerBruggen
The American Spectator
January 16, 2008

Here is a reaction to the Bush Justice Department's amicus brief in the D.C. v. Heller case. Verbruggen's views provoked a storm of reader comment available on the site http://www.spectator.org/dsp_article.asp?art_id=12590.


Independence Institute brief in D.C. v. Heller

Dave Kopel and Jon Caldara
February 11, 2008

Here is Independence Institute President Jon Caldara's interview with Dave about the issues and arguments at hand in D.C. vs. Heller.

New by Kopel

Kopel International

Is There a Relationship between Guns and Freedom? Comparative Results from 59 Nations

David Kopel with Howard Nemerov
Social Science Research Network
February 5, 2008

This is a working Paper concerning the 59 nations for which data about per capita gun ownership are available. It examines the relationship between gun density and several measures of freedom and prosperity: the Freedom House ratings of political rights and civil liberty, the Transparency International Perceived Corruption Index, the World Bank Purchasing Power Parity ratings, and the Heritage Foundation Index of Economic Freedom. The data suggest that the relationships between gun ownership rates and these other measures are complex. The data show that (although exceptions can be found) the nations with the highest rates of gun ownership tend to have greater political and civil freedom, greater economic freedom and prosperity, and much less corruption than other nations. The relationship only exists in for high-ownership countries. Countries with medium rates of gun density generally scored no better or worse than countries with the lowest levels of gun rates.

The Human Right of Self-Defense

David B. Kopel, Paul Gallant, and Joanne D. Eisen
BYU Journal of Public Law, Number 1; 43-127
February 4, 2008
PDF files require Adobe Acrobat Reader or similar software.

Here is the final, published version of a massive article showing that self-defense is a universal human right, and is the foundation of international law.

We're from the Government, and We're Here to Help You

David B. Kopel, Paul Gallant, and Joanne D. Eisen
The NRA Institute for Legislative Action
December 20, 2007

The Ugandan government perpetrates ethnocide against the Karamajong tribes, under the pretext of gun control.

A Question of Balance

Dave Kopel
Snow Goose Productions
May 1-2, 2003

Dave attended an international firearms policy symposium at the Tower of London, video from that is available for free (registration required) at XONtv. Once you have registered, look under "Documentaries" and then under "Snow Goose Productions." The individual speakers are in separate segments; Kopel appears in the segment on "Firearms Possession" (by "non-state actors").

Kopel Media

CU Students Protest to Carry Concealed Weapons

Jaclyn Allen
November 5, 2007

Denver's 7 News did a report about an 'Empty Holster' protest at the University of Colorado against that institutions ban on legal concealed carry. The report features video of Dave's speech to the Federalist Society last November, and a short interview with Dave.



Army to Help Police Disarm Civilians

Angola Press Agency
January 3, 2008

The effort against civilian ownership of 'military' small arms extends now in Angola to using the military against civilians suspected of possessing such weapons.


No handgun ban, Stockwell Day says

Tonda MacCharles
Toronto Star (Canada)
January 30, 2008

"Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day is flatly rejecting calls for a ban on handguns..."

Liberty in Canada/Libérte au Canada

Pierre Lemieux
The Canadian Constitution Foundation
February 15, 2008

Here is a new website from Canada's great pro-freedom writer.

Czech Republic

Gun numbers in Prague may reach 250,000

CTK Daily News (Czech Republic)
January 17, 2008

"Official data speak about 75,000 firearms in Prague at end of 2007, but the actual number may reach 250,000."


Illegal gun trade "flourishes" in Guyana

BBC Monitoring Americas
January 15, 2008

"Anyone with the right connections and cash can buy or rent a gun in Guyana, to be used in way they choose." Laws to the contrary notwithstanding.


Bangaloreans Go for Guns

New Indian Express
January 28, 2008

"The boom in real estate business and suspected terror activities in the City has made many feel insecure and take up arms for self-defence."

India Shaken by School Violence: 2 Deaths Since December Spur Calls for Broader Gun Control

Emily Wax
The Washington Post
February 13, 2008

"Two fatal shootings and a stabbing in Indian schools have rattled parents and teachers here, forcing India to confront an issue it had previously known mainly through TV news footage from the United States."


NPA wants Gun Owners to Store Weapons at Dealers
Daily Yomiuri (Japan)
December 23, 2007

"Even before the Sasebo shooting, the NPA advised people who plan to leave their houses for an extended period, due to such reasons as going on a business trip or hospitalization, and elderly people living alone, to ask gun dealers and others to store their guns to prevent them from being stolen." The NPA is the Japanese National Police Authority.


Beirut Arms Itself Against a Shaky Future

Nicholas Blanford
The Times (UK)
January 5, 2008

"With Lebanon mired in political crisis for more than a year, Lebanese have been buying arms in huge numbers, seeking to protect themselves should the tensions explode into civil war."


Mukasey: Mexican Database to Track U.S. Firearms

The Associated Press
U.S.A. Today
January 14, 2008

"A Spanish version of an electronic database will help Mexican authorities trace American firearms found in Mexico, U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey said Wednesday."

New Zealand

Growing Interest in Firearms 'Healthy'

Jenny Ling
New Zealand News on Stuff.co.nz
January 16, 2008

"More New Zealanders are arming themselves with firearms licences for sport, recreation and pest control, showing what police believe is a healthy attitude toward gun use."

United Kingdom

Scotland to Host Summit on Air-Gun Law

Shan Ross
The Scotsman (Scotland, UK)
January 16, 2008

"Scotland is to host a UK-wide summit on reforming the law on firearms including air guns."

Why Boys Should be Allowed to Play with Toy Guns

Laura Clark and Sarah Harris
The Daily Mail
December 28, 2007

"Playing with toy weapons helps the development of young boys, according to new Government advice to nurseries and playgroups. Staff have been told they must resist their 'natural instinct' to stop boys using pretend weapons such as guns or light sabres in games with other toddlers."


Credit Card Company: No More Buying Guns

Bob Unruh
World Net Daily
January 31, 2008

"A major credit card company has issued a letter to a gun dealer canceling his payment processing services because of corporate concerns firearms were being sold to consumers in other states, in 'a non face-to-face environment.'"

Leader of No Guns Group Gets Eight Years

Sam Quinones
Los Angeles Times (CA)
January 18, 2008

"The director of the antigang organization No Guns, which the city of Los Angeles once paid $1.5 million to steer Latino youths away from a life of crime, pleaded guilty Thursday to illegally selling assault weapons to federal undercover officers."

NBA, NFL Go Anti-Gun

Chris Sprow
Reason Magazine
January 9, 2008

"For years, the NFL and the NBA have attempted to distance players from firearms. Some would argue these policies are aimed at a culture that celebrates the criminal use of violent weapons, but the effect is pretty clear: The leagues would rather their players put themselves at risk than protect themselves with guns."

Five Questions about Shootings at Universities

Dennis Praeger
February 19, 2008

Columnist and radio talk show host Dennis Praeger asks questions such as why the murderers are always counted among the 'victims,' and why the term 'shootings' replaces 'murders' in the discussion of such onslaughts.


More Guns on Campus?

Suzanne Smalley
February 15, 2008

A group called Students for Concealed Carry on Campus argues that the recent murders on the 'Gun Free' Northern Illinois University campus make their case, not the case for yet more gun control.

Vulnerable Schools Need Protection

David McGrath
The Chicago Tribune
February 19, 2008

An English Professor points out that the University official in the best position to protect students from a sudden assault would be an armed professor.

'Castle Law' Arms Texas Homeowners with Right to Shoot

Michael E. Young
Dallas Morning News
January 20, 2008

" 'I think the castle law has more citizens thinking about fighting back, knowing they're protected from being sued later,' said Dallas homeowner Dennis Baker." Others disagree. The article contains a lengthy treatment of Texas cases involving justifiable homicide.

Millionaire Patriot Commits to Provide Gun Training for All Arizona School Teachers

Press Release
Front Sight Firearms Training Institute
January 28, 2008

"In response to Arizona Senate Bill 1214, which would exempt concealed-carry permit holders from a state law that bars individuals from knowingly carrying deadly weapons onto school property, Dr. Ignatius Piazza has committed to provide every Arizona School teacher with a $2,000, Four Day Defensive Handgun Course, free of charge if Arizona lawmakers will pass the Senate Bill 1214."

Gun Saint Society Honors Colorado Church Heroine

Press Release
St. Gabriel Possenti Society
December 15, 2007

"The St. Gabriel Possenti Society, Inc. this week awarded Jeanne Assam of New Life Church in Colorado Springs its Medal and Certificate of Honor, Society Founder/Chairman John M. Snyder announced here today." Assam wounded and stopped an attacker at the Church as he sought to enter the building where hundreds of worshippers had taken shelter.


Candidates Weigh in on Guns after NIU Deaths

Craig Gilbert and Dave Umhoefer
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
February 16, 2008

"Responding to the shootings at Northern Illinois University, Democratic presidential candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton both called Friday for what they said were common-sense changes in gun laws, while declaring their support for the right to bear arms... But asked about gun rights, Obama said, 'I believe the Second Amendment means something.' "

Gun Control Advocates Call Clinton a Hypocrite

Jake Tapper
ABC News
February 5, 2008

"In an email to me, Andy Pelosi of Gun Free Kids, writes, 'quite frankly, there are many gun control advocates that find it distasteful that Clinton appears to be running to the right of Obama on guns.' "

Clinton Wants a Gun Summit

Michael McAuliff
New York Daily News
February 18, 2008

" 'I believe we really should have a summit where everybody comes together on all sides of this issue,' Clinton said. 'Let's figure out how we can be consistent with the Second Amendment, which I wholeheartedly support, and do more to keep people safe.' "

The States


Controversial Curb on Gun Owners Passes Committee on Party-line Vote

Senate Minority Office
Colorado State Senate
February 5, 2008

"SB 49, sponsored in the Senate by Arvada Democrat Sue Windels, holds homeowners criminally liable--subject to a misdemeanor charge--if minors obtain their firearms and commit suicide or a crime against another. Windels says the measure is meant to cut crime and teen suicides, but Republicans on the committee said the bill would backfire."


Senate Panel Defeats Bill on Gun Show Sales

Sandhya Somashekhar
The Washington Post
January 24, 2008

"A bill that would have restricted certain gun sales in Virginia and that had received passionate support from survivors of the Virginia Tech massacre was defeated by a Senate committee Wednesday, ending the major gun control effort of this year's General Assembly session."


Watson v. United States

Supreme Court of the United States
December 10, 2007
PDF files require Adobe Acrobat Reader or similar software.

When a federal undercover agent gives a drug seller a gun in exchange for drugs, the seller does not "use" the gun in a drug crime, for purposes of the federal sentencing enhancement statute. Unanimous decision, authored by Justice Souter. Concurrence by Justice Ginsberg suggests over-ruling Smith v. United States, a previous decision holding that "use" includes the drug merchant giving someone a gun in exchange for drugs.

Churches Win Another Round on '05 Gun Law Exemptions

Rochelle Olson
Minneapolis Star Tribune(MN)
February 5, 2008

"Forcing churches to allow guns in their parking lots and use state-mandated language for signs forbidding firearms is an unconstitutional infringement on religious freedom, the state Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday."

Judge Rules for the City in Gun Sting Of Dealers

The New York Times
January 26, 2008

"A federal judge in Brooklyn ruled on Friday that the administration of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg did not break the law in conducting sting operations meant to catch out-of-state gun dealers making illegal sales."

Judge Denies ATF's Request for Summary Judgment, Red's Trading Post Case Now Goes on to Trial

Ryan Horsley
Red's Trading Post
January 25, 2008

US District Court Judge Edward J. Lodge dismissed the ATFE's claim that Red's Trading Post willfully committed errors in required paperwork and will allow a suit contesting the revocation of the business's firearms license to go to trial.

The Memorandum Opinion in Red's Trading Post

US District Court Judge Edward J. Lodge
United States District Court for the District of Idaho
January 23, 2008
PDF files require Adobe Acrobat Reader or similar software.

Here is the judge's denial of summary judgement in the Red's Trading Post case.

AG, Governor Seek Reversal on Gun Ruling

Robert Boczkiewicz
Tulsa World (OK)
January 26, 2008

"Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry and Attorney General Drew Edmondson contend a state law allowing employees to have guns in locked vehicles where they work promotes public safety."

Ky. Antique Gun Trial Ends in Acquittal

Dylan T. Lovan
Associated Press
January 23, 2008

"A jury rejected all felony charges brought against an Alabama couple accused of selling a slew of famous firearms to a millionaire collector at fraudulent prices." The details of the prosecution are interesting as the case is more a fraud case than a firearms rights prosection.

D.C. Lawsuit against Gun Manufacturers is Dismissed

David Kopel
The Volokh Conspiracy
January 10, 2008

D.C.'s abusive lawsuit against firearms manufacturers is dismissed, thanks to the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Firearms Act. The Kopel blog post analyzes the case, and provides a link to the opinion of the D.C. Court of Appeals.

Leading Class-Action Lawyer Is Sentenced to Two Years in Kickback Scheme

Michael Parrish
The New York Times
February 12, 2008

A leading anti-gun civil lawsuit lawyer has been sentenced to prison for fraud. For a biography of Parrish, see http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/l/william_s_lerach/index.html

Philly, NRA and Legislature Heading to Court over Local Gun Rules

Mark Scolforo
Associated Press (PA)
February 17, 2008

Philadelphia's Mayor Nutter is going to the Pennsylvania State Supreme court in the hope of reversing with new judges the Court's previous sustaining of Pennsylvania's firearms law preemption statute against Philadelphia's city ordinances against civilian firearms ownership. The city plans to enforce the laws regardless of the previous decision.

Federal Issues

Gun Lobby Hijacks Bill Intended to Improve Gun Buyer Background Checks

Press Release
The Violence Policy Center
December 19, 2007

This organization, which works to restrict civilian ownership of firearms, expresses its displeasure with the recent (then impending) legislation reforming the National Instant Check System for firearms purchases. The VPC objects to an appeals process for those denied firearms purchases on grounds of mental health disqualifications.

Senate Passes NICS Improvement Act, House Concurs

Press Release
The National Rifle Association's Institute for Legislative Action
December 19, 2007

Here is the NRA-ILA's take on the bill, which President Bush signed into law on January 8, 2008.

Police in Thought Pursuit

Bruce Fein
The Washington Times
December 27, 2007

The Chairman of the American Freedom Agenda objects to the proposed Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007, legislastion he warns will criminalize 'thought patterns' thought to be indicative of proclivities toward domestic terrorism. A commission would designate books and writings thought to be suspect.

Sullivan ATF Confirmation Blocked

Jonathan Saltzman
The Boston Globe
February 14, 2008

"The confirmation of US Attorney Michael J. Sullivan as head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives was thrown into further doubt yesterday, when a Republican senator who is blocking the nomination renewed complaints that Sullivan has refused to loosen licensing rules for guns."

Dispute over Guns Threatens Senate Vote

Matthew Daly
Associated Press
February 16, 2008

"An election-year dispute over whether to allow loaded guns in national parks is holding up a vote on a massive bill affecting public lands from coast to coast."


New research on the Second Amendment Now online

David Kopel
The Volokh Conspiracy
January 8, 2008

Dave has here collected links to articles by Stephen Halbrook, Clayton Cramer and Joseph Olson on Amendment II and offers a precis of each. We link to each below.

St. George Tucker's Second Amendment: Deconstructing 'The True Palladium of Liberty

Stephen P. Halbrook
Tennessee Journal of Law and Policy 183
January 8, 2008
PDF files require Adobe Acrobat Reader or similar software.

St. George Tucker was the leading legal commentator of the Early Republic. His edition of Blackstone, which included copious annotations and appendices written by Tucker, was the foundational legal treatise of its era, and the first scholarly analysis of the new U.S. Constitution, and of how American law was diverging from its British ancestor. Halbrook's article shows that Tucker regarded the Second Amendment as an individual right which included a right to own firearms for self-defense and hunting. The article also points out deficiencies in Saul Cornell's treatment of Tucker; Cornell has a tendency to quote Tucker's analysis of militia issues as if the analysis were about the Second Amendment, and to gloss over what Tucker actually wrote about the Second Amendment.

What Does 'Bear Arms' Imply?

Clayton Cramer and Joseph Olson
Georgetown Journal of Law and Public Policy (Forthcoming)
January 7, 2008

Gun prohibition advocates, including the D.C. government in its brief in D.C. v. Heller, contend that the words "bear arms" in the Second Amendment have an exclusively military connotation, and therefore "the right of the people to keep and bear arms" refers exclusively to bearing arms as part of service in a formal state militia. Cramer and Olson show that "bear arms" never had an exclusively military connotation, either before ratification of the Second Amendment, or in the following decades. This is the abstract of the upcoming full article.

Pistols, Crime, and Public Safety in Early America

Clayton Cramer and Joseph Olson
Willamette Law Review 44 (Forthcoming)

The authors show that the governments of Founding Era were familiar with handguns, and never regulated them differently from long guns. The typical pistol of the late 18th century could fire only a single shot; however, multi-shot pistols had already been invented; many handgun owners provided themselves with multi-shot capacity by carrying two or more handguns, which was not difficult, since there were many very compact handguns. Accordingly, the successful commercial development of the multi-shot handgun (the Colt's revolver in the 1830s) was (unlike, for example, radio) an example of technological progress that was well within the contemplation of the Founders. An abstract, again, of the forthcoming article.

Why DC's Gun Law Is Unconstitutional

David E. Young
History News Network
February 18, 2008

Young finds errors in a brief to the D.C. v. Heller case filed by fifteen professional historians in support of the District of Columbia's gun ban.

This newsletter is compiled with help from Dr. Rob S. Rice. For more on this vestibular, yet stentorian individual, see here: http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/rrice/rrice_hd.html. Dave Kopel has now read Dr. Rice's novel and did not suffer permanent injury, his views are at http://tinyurl.com/34vowt Dr. Rice would bet that none of the commentators besides Dave so much as touched his book.

Al Qaeda delenda est!

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