Remember the key points of political action. Please also see Jaspar's Five Minute Handbook For Gun Rights Activists. It's right on target!
Similarly when you catch the mass media making errors/distortions/lies/propaganda it's really important to call them on it. Literally. For newspapers and magazines, write letters to the editor. For radio and TV stations, send them a letter for their public file and carbon copy the FCC. Very often your calls and letters will stop the distortions.
Here's the Ninth Circuit opinion in Nordyke v King (local copy). Author and attorney Dave Kopel speaks about it in this podcast. Here's Calguns' wiki coverage of the case. Here's Eugene Volokh's initial blog post about the opinion. Cato's Ilya Shapiro piece about it is titled "Yes, California, There Is an Individual Right to Keep and Bear Arms". Here are Mark Hemingway's comments about Nordyke in National Review Online.
"Whether the following provisions -- D.C. Code secs. 7-2502.02(a)(4), 22-4504(a), and 7-2507.02 -- violate the Second Amendment rights of individuals who are not affiliated with any state-regulated militia, but who wish to keep handguns and other firearms for private use in their homes?"More information on Parker lead attorney Alan Gura, and his Parker opinion piece in JURIST's Hotline make good reading. Eugene Volokh's blog entries, comments, and references are also of interest. The California Rifle and Pistol Association has a nice collection of newspaper editorials in response to the Supreme Court's granting of certiorari in D.C. v. Heller.
Oral Arguments for Heller were heard by the Supreme Court on March 18, 2008. The transcript is published at http://www.supremecourtus.gov/oral_arguments/argument_transcripts/07-290.pdf (local copy). CSPAN has Real Media video of the argument and press conference.
To summarize, we conclude that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms. That right existed prior to the formation of the new government under the Constitution and was premised on the private use of arms for activities such as hunting and self-defense, the latter being understood as resistance to either private lawlessness or the depredations of a tyrannical government (or a threat from abroad). In addition, the right to keep and bear arms had the important and salutary civic purpose of helping to preserve the citizen militia. The civic purpose was also a political expedient for the Federalists in the First Congress as it served, in part, to placate their Antifederalist opponents. The individual right facilitated militia service by ensuring that citizens would not be barred from keeping the arms they would need when called forth for militia duty. Despite the importance of the Second Amendment's civic purpose, however, the activities it protects are not limited to militia service, nor is an individual's enjoyment of the right contingent upon his or her continued or intermittent enrollment in the militia.
Parker v. District of Columbia, March 9, 2007
Yeah it has a funny name and it's not on this server, but please check out the excellent, 2-3 minute Flashmedia movies at this site. They provide solid, hard-hitting arms rights perspectives and they debunk gun control myths, including so-called "ballistic fingerprinting".
"U.S. Senate Subcommittee on the Constitution, The Right to Keep and Bear Arms: Report of the Subcommittee on the Constitution of the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Congress, 97th Congress, 2nd Session, February 1982"
8/6/03 Update: Women Against Gun Control file an Amicus Brief (309 KB) in the
8/15/03: NRA files an Amicus Brief (188 KB) with the U.S. Supreme Court in Silveira.
5/6/03 Update: an En Banc Panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denies a petition to rehear Silveira, setting up a challenge to the Supreme Court. While denying a rehearing, six of the Judges argued strongly against Reinhardt's collective-rights-only interpretation, finding broad and strong constitutional and legal support for the Second Amendment as an individual right. (The order linked above is the original 2 Megabyte PDF file. Here is a relatively unformatted text version exported from the PDF at about 80 KB.) Silveira's attorney Gary Gorski is filing an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court to resolve this glaring discrepancy.
Setting up a conflict which the Supreme Court may need to decide, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals' Judge Stephen Reinhardt issued an anti-individual rights interpretation of the Second Amendment in Silveira v. Lockyer. This directly conflicts with the individual rights interpretation cited by the Fifth Circuit in Emerson. These are the sort of directly conflicting Circuit court rulings that may force the Supreme Court to finally do its duty and rule directly on the Second Amendment.
It's worth noting that in support of its flawed arguments, the Ninth Circuit cited the widely and officially discredited work of anti-gun historian Michael Bellesiles and the academically-ignored, one-sided Chicago-Kent Law Review. Update: Reinhardt revised his finding to remove references to Bellesiles fraudulent and widely discredited work. In my mind this weakens both Bellesiles' and Reinhardt's claims. Further it turns out that the Chicago-Kent Law Review's Symposium against the Second Amendment was funded-to-order by the anti-gun Joyce Foundation. In other words the "scholars" providing material to the Chicago-Kent individual-rights bashing, cited by Reinhardt and including Bellesiles, were paid about $8000 each for their dubious contributions, which apparently is way out of line for participation in legitimate academic forums.
Here are a couple letters rebutting Silveira by CCW activist Jim March, and research scholar Clyde Spencer. In addition, here are comments by Eugene Volokh in National Review Online, biting, insightful comments from Clayton Cramer in his blog, fairly neutral coverage by law.com, NRA, SAF, Washington Times. Note that the SAF site includes many links and references to related material. Cramer gives many well-known citations from case law that show Judge Reinhardt is utterly wrong in his anti-individual rights Second Amendment claims.
Added some original court documents: Initial Complaint to Federal District Court, Writ of Certiorari to the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
12/13/02: Columbia University rescinds Bellesiles' Bancroft Prize, concluding correctly "that he had violated basic norms of scholarship and the high standards expected of Bancroft Prize winners."
10/25/02: Bellesiles has resigned his professorship at Emory University after an independent panel investigating his research in Arming America found "extensive errors," and "evidence of falsification." Here is a copy of the press release by Emory about Bellesiles' resignation and the investigation report and a (local copy).
Some of the results of other formal academic research into Bellesiles' claims can be found in The William and Mary Quarterly forum titled "Historians and Guns". In a sense it's a good thing for academia that Bellesiles fraud was caught and Bellesiles fired. It means academia is still somewhat functional.
(Earlier:) Bellesiles has been asked to formally defend his ludicrous and falsified claims about gun ownership in early America by his University. Emory University History Department Chair James Melton told the Boston Globe:
If there is prima facie evidence of scholarly misconduct, the university has to conduct a thorough investigation. Whether it be a purely internal inquiry, or the university brings in distinguished scholars in the field, will depend on how Michael responds.Bellesiles' academic misconduct was also covered by the Boston Globe and Fox News. The Boston Globe independently confirmed some of the original sources which quantitative history Professor James Lindgren reviewed in checking Bellesiles work, finding significant errors. Many other people have found many serious problems with Bellesiles' citations, to the point of fraud.
Bellesiles' first formal response to the criticism his research does little to explain his errors. Here is the Boston Globe's coverage. The New York Times also notes the controversy. The Times finds Bellesiles' draft extended response, appearing in a special issue of the William and Mary Quarterly, "concedes some mistakes and challenges others, but leaves many serious errors unaddressed." The Chicago Tribune includes Bellesiles in a cautionary tale about what can happen to professors who publish "fraudulent data". National Review Online published a follow up article with links to notes from the Contra Costa County Historical Society (local copy, by permission) regarding Bellesiles' recent (and apparently only) visit there and the materials he incorrectly attributes as San Francisco probate records. The Boston Globe summarizes the scholarly criticisms appearing in the January 2002 William and Mary Quarterly wherein three of the panel of four historians "severely criticize" Bellesiles' inaccuracy, numerous "errors in facts", strong bias, and striking discrepancies:
For example, Bellesiles writes in his book that in 46 years, there were no homicide cases heard in the courts in Plymouth Colony. But [violence historian Randolph] Roth writes that well-indexed and readily available records clearly show 11 murder cases in the Plymouth courts, and possibly four others.
On the February 7, 2002 eve of publication of the William & Mary journal, Emory University opened a formal investigation into Bellesiles' bogus research. Here is the Associated Press article. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution also covers the growing scandal from nearby. More good coverage by David Skinner appears in The Weekly Standard February 25, 2002 issue. Kimberley Strassel continues coverage of Bellesiles' ongoing saga of deceit and denial in her February 22, 2002 column in the OpinionJournal. The San Francisco Chronicle interviews Betty Maffei of the Contra Costa Historical Society regarding Bellesiles' misuse of their records (local copy, by permission) and assaults on their reputation. There is further academic and lay response in an online forum in The Chronicle of Higher Education's Colloquy.
In another blow to his credibility, the National Endowment for the Humanities has withdrawn their name from a recent fellowship granted by the Chicago-based Newberry Library to Bellesiles. Kimberley Strassel's June 6, 2002 OpinionJournal column is among many articles covering the latest in the drawn out dethroning of this liar. Here is the AP wire service article about the NEH withdrawing Bellesiles' grant support.
If this now flourishing City, and greatly improving Colony, is destroy'd and ruin'd, it will not be for want of Numbers of Inhabitants able to bear Arms in its defence. 'Tis computed that we have at least (exclusive of Quakers) 60,000 Fighting Men, acquainted with Fire-Arms, many of them Hunters and Marksmen, hardy and bold. -- Benjamin Franklin (1747), B.F. Papers, vol. III, p.202Here is a flyer by Randy Herrst handed out when Bellesiles spoke at U.C. Irvine, and a version modified by Jeff Chan for Bellesiles' appearance at Stanford Law School's Second Amendment Conference 4/21/01. Both contain links to numerous reviews, criticisms, refutations. Here are some of my overall impressions of the conference. Here's an October 2000 early review titled "Disarming America" by former NRA honcho Tanya Metaksa.
I enclose you a list of the killed, wounded, and captives of the enemy from the commencement of hostilities at Lexington in April, 1775, until November, 1777, since which there has been no event of any consequence... I think that upon the whole it has been about one half the number lost by them, in some instances more, but in others less. This difference is ascribed to our superiority in taking aim when we fire; every soldier in our army having been intimate with his gun from his infancy. -- Thomas Jefferson in a letter to Giovanni Fabbroni, June 8, 1778.
The percentage of inmates who got firearms at a gun show in the 1997 survey is 0.7%. Flea markets were 1.0%. Rifles were carried in 1.3% of crimes. Obviously this shoots big holes in the so-called "assault weapon" hysteria, and the "gun show loophole" lie, and it's from authoritative government sources. Be sure to mention this in letters, etc. These results are largely consistent with earlier versions of the BJS surveys by James Wright, etc.
The main page for the BJS Firearm Use by Offenders report is at: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov./bjs/abstract/fuo.htm, and I have archived copies at: http://rkba.org/research/bjs/fuo/
6/10/02: As the Ashcroft Justice Department suggested it should, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear Second Amendment challenges by Emerson and Haney. News coverage ranged from relatively neutral Reuters to the blatantly biased and incorrect characterization by Associated Press that the 1939 Miller precedent supports a collective, not individual right. This false interpretation is pretty much a rehash of prior anti-rights press releases. Here are some of my responses to Reuters, AP and About.com coverage. In its most recent review of the Second Amendment, the Miller decision, the Court clearly and repeatedly characterizes it as recognizing, or even requiring, an individual right to arms. Read my comments and the text itself and see if you agree.
UCLA Law Professor Eugene Volokh comments in his Wednesday, June 19, 2002, 10:58 AM blog about the mischaracterization of Miller by the media, and about the general meaning of the Supremes refusing to hear Emerson or Haney. (Here is a local copy of Volokh's comments on the Emerson cert. denied that may come up faster since it's a plain text excerpt.)
12/7/01: The Second Amendment Foundation is filing an appeal of the Emerson case to the Supreme Court! Here is a link to the original announcement of The Emerson Defense Fund and a local copy of the 12/7/01 announcement of the Supreme Court appeal.
The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals long-awaited decision on Emerson is a whopper as far as the Second Amendment is concerned:
We agree with the district court that the Second Amendment protects the right of individuals to privately keep and bear their own firearms that are suitable as individual, personal weapons..., regardless of whether the particular individual is then actually a member of a militia.While the Circuit Court upheld Emerson's conviction for firearms possession while under restraining order, it issued one of the best and strongest possible interpretations of an individual Right to Keep and Bear Arms. Depending on how the appeals work out this could lead to a reading on the Second Amendment by the Supreme Court. Since the lower court decisions so strongly make the case for an individual right, if the Supreme Court hears the case on Second Amendment grounds, it's hard to see how it could strike down an individual interpretation. A possible problem is that further appeals may find a way to weasel out of addressing the Second Amendment issue. Here is a link to the original Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals decision at http://rkba.org/judicial/emerson/circuit-decision.html (266k), and a link to a local copy.
I've reorganized my Emerson files into their own directory which includes the District decision, notes on the appeal, and the Appellate decision. Both decisions strongly support an individual right to arms and contain excellent reference material on the Second Amendment.
Here are some notes on the Appeal to the 5th Circuit Court which led to the October 2001 decision: The Government's appeal of the Emerson case was heard by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans on June 13th, 2000. The panel of three appellate Judges asked many questions clarifying the Federal government's position on the Second Amendment and hinted that it would reject their abuse of the U.S. Constitution's Commerce Clause in support of overreaching and unconstitutional Federal gun control. (The Federal Government abuses the Commerce Clause to control what should be State matters in many other areas too, so there are many issues beyond gun rights in reforming the application of the Commerce Clause.) Here's a local copy of Neal Knox's Report, filed by Linda Thomas at the hearing. If the Fifth Circuit rejects the government's arguments and sides with Judge Cummings' original decision recognizing individuals' Second Amendment rights, then the U.S. Supreme Court will probably need to hear the case to resolve the Courts' differences.
Shockingly, the Government's position in the appeal was that the Second Amendment only protects firearms issued to the National Guard and no private individual's arms. Government attorneys argued for a purely collective, federalized interpretation of the Second Amendment that is clearly at odds with the Amendment's actual wording and extensive history predating English Common Law. Total bans on the private ownership of guns is what we have been saying the anti-rights side has been after all these years and they have finally admitted it in open court. Here is an exchange between Judge Garwood and the Government's attorney Meteja, reported by Tom Gresham:
Judge Garwood: "You are saying that the Second Amendment is consistent with a position that you can take guns away from the public? You can restrict ownership of rifles, pistols and shotguns from all people? Is that the position of the United States?"The Clinton Administration's position against individual rights in Emerson is confirmed in a response to an NRA member by his Department of Justice's Solicitor General Seth Waxman. Needless to say Waxman's citations are seriously flawed and out of context. (Note for example that U.S. v. Hale says U.S. v. Miller protects individual ownership of militia arms.) Frankly I find it disgusting that our government could be arguing so completely against individual rights. Our government was formed to protect rights, not destroy them. California State Senator Ray Haynes has some choice words about the Federal Government's position in the Emerson Appeal.
Meteja (for the government): "Yes"
Garwood: "Is it the position of the United States that persons who are not in the National Guard are afforded no protections under the Second Amendment?"
Garwood: Membership in the National Guard isn't enough? What else is needed?
Meteja: The weapon in question must be used in the National Guard.
In the original Emerson decision, District Court Judge Cummings found that boilerplate restraining orders violating individuals' due process and firearms rights are unconstitutional. Judge Cummings' February 26, 1999 decision referenced Clayton Cramer's book, For The Defense Of Themselves And The State, among a host scholarship and legal history supporting individual firearms rights. Here is a link to the original District Court decision at http://www.txnd.uscourts.gov/PDFs/emerson.pdf (141k), and a link to a local copy of the same. The Emerson decision contains a great summary of historical and recent thinking on an individual rights interpretation of the Second Amendment. A very uplifting read.
The Second Amendment Foundation has a web site devoted to U.S. v Emerson including the government's appeal and lots of background material and original case documents. Their site is useful to keep up with this important case. For example, here are their observations on the good an bad in the Emerson appeal arguments.
This reminds of another study Cook recently performed to investigate the firearms self-defense research of Florida State University Criminology Professor Gary Kleck. Cook independently confirmed Kleck's results that guns are used at least a million times a year to stop crimes, mostly without a shot fired, then went on to say that the results are meaningless even though his own research proved that they were valid. Cook's arguments against his own results are laughably dogmatic, closed-minded and unscientific. It's remarkable that Cook can use the statistical tools of science competently and then completely misinterpret and bias the results. That's deliberate, bad science.
From Ludwig and Cook's investigations into the results of the Brady Law and Cook's confirmation of Kleck's results, the facts obtained speak for themselves. Gun control laws have little effect on criminals, and firearms are used far more often to defend against a crime than to commit them. The obvious conclusion, which Cook himself acknowledges as a possibility, is that "gun control" is socially destructive since it infringes on legitimate access to firearms, but does not effectively or significantly restrain criminals.
The Australian Government's own report No. 151 The Licensing and Registration Status of Firearms Used in Homicide by the Australian Institute of Criminology proves that gun registration, licensing and confiscation does not stop criminals from getting guns or killing: "in over 90 per cent of firearm-related homicides the offenders are not licensed and the weapons are not registered".
Professor Polsby's more recent Firearms and Crime paper is available from the Independent Institute.
An interesting debate about gun control and the Second Amendment held 4/8/03 at Harvard Law School found Volokh appearing with Alan Dershowitz and Dennis Henigan. The 2 hour panel discussion is available for viewing online with Real Media. Volokh and Dershowitz sidestep the Second Amendment initially, but Volokh speaks convincingly about the impracticality and undesirability of gun bans as a matter of policy. The talk was sponsored by the Harvard Law School Target Shooting Club and Democrats Club.
Professor Volokh appeared before the Subcommittee on the Constitution of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on September 23, 1998. Here's a local copy of his concise but complete report about the constitutionality of the Second Amendment as an individual right.
Speaking of the Second Amendment....
See also DIPRs excellent 1995 Journal of the Medical Association of Georgia (JMAG) paper: Violence in America - Effective Solutions.
More excellence from Dr. Suter and Pete Kasler appears in their Rebuttal to the anti-gun proposals of the California Police Chiefs Association.
Here's a new HTML version of Dr. Suter's 1994 review: "Assault Weapons" Revisited -- An Analysis of the AMA Report.
Of related interest is a new HTML version of Dean Payne's analysis of Loftin's 1994 New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) District of Columbia article. (The original plaintext is also available.)
Looking back, a 1988 Cato Institute paper by Dave Kopel: "Trust The People: The Case Against Gun Control" makes a strong statement against firearms restrictions but also the unfortunately reveals the great progress of the anti-gun effort, especially overseas. See for example what's happened to firearms ownership in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, etc.
Another very strong and important paper by Dave Kopel is Children and Guns: Sensible Solutions which debunks the common scare tactics about kids and guns and offers practical solutions that address the actual sources of juvenile gun crime. This paper is also available as a ZIP of the html or a ZIP of the original text file.
Professor Halbrook recently argued against the Brady Bill before the Supreme Court and won! His book THAT EVERY MAN BE ARMED: The Evolution of a Constitutional Right is a classic in the modern firearms rights literature.
New! Noted Second Amendment scholar and attorney David Hardy's legal review of the 1986 Firearms Owners Protection Act (300k) includes an outline of all federal gun laws. It has been cited as authoritative by the U.S. Supreme Court. Also available as a UNIX compress (http://rkba.org/research/hardy/fopa_rev.txt.Z 120k) or ZIP file (http://rkba.org/research/hardy/fopa_rev.txt.zip 105k).
I've grabbed copies of recent Supreme Court cases that mention the Second Amendment, U.S. v. Verdugo-Urquidez (1990) and Justice Thomas' opinion from Printz v. U.S. (1997). They're used in my letter against California's SB 23 expansion of the so-called "assault weapon" ban and 10 round magazine ban.
See also the Judiciary section of my FAQ for more Supreme Court web sites.
I'm pleased to announce the availability of a landmark modern wound ballistics paper:
NEW: in research/bjs is the 7/9/95 U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) report "Guns Used in Crime" which has a number of flawed assumptions, methodological errors, and incorrect definitions but still manages to prove that so-called "assault weapons" are almost never used in crime.
Assault weapons and offendersThe quote above demonstrates several of the definitional errors in the BJS report. Commercial U.S. AR-15 and AK-47 rifles are not fully-automatic and are therefore not "military...assault rifles". Nonetheless, criminals don't use them. Note that the BJS now has their own site under the Department of Justice site. The BJS site includes a September 1998 report that serious crime rates in England and Wales are now higher than the U.S. despite (or perhaps because of?) stricter gun control there. (Have made a local mirror of "Crime and Justice in the United States and England and Wales, 1981-96".)
In the 1991 BJS Survey of State Inmates, about 8% of the inmates reported that they had owned a military-type weapon, such as an Uzi, AK-47, AR-15, or M-16. Less than 1% said that they carried such a weapon when they committed the incident for which they were incarcerated. A Virginia inmate survey conducted between November 1992 and May 1993 found similar results: About 10% of the adult inmates reported that they had ever possessed an assault rifle, but none had carried it at the scene of a crime. [emphasis added]
See also the Summary of James Wright's "The Armed Criminal in America" (22k). (The original plaintext version is also available.) The National Institute of Justice sponsored this survey of 1,800 felons. In this 1985 report, Wright finds that the overwhelming majority (83%) of felons get their guns through illegal means. Later surveys have shown this percentage to be even higher (90+%). This key research, funded by the government, shows why restricting legitimate gun sales has no significant effect on armed criminals.
Another office of the U.S. Department of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, in 1994 examined juvenile delinquency, drug and gun use. On page 25 of their report "Urban Delinquency and Substance Abuse" they found that adolescent boys "who own legal firearms, however, have much lower rates of delinquency and drug use and are even slightly less delinquent than nonowners of guns." (Original at: http://www.ncjrs.org/pdffiles/urdel.pdf.)
I have a copy of Robert A. Carter's (firstname.lastname@example.org) list of TV networks and programs but remember that only the local stations are legally accountable for what goes out over the airwaves. So to be effective you need to fax the local stations, even when commenting on network-originated programs. See a commercial WWW database of all U.S. TV stations, including addresses and fax numbers.
I also have several lists of media email addresses, including: media-email.12nov95 (41k), medialist, and mass-internet (53k). A fax may have more impact though: lists MEDIAFAX_A-H, MEDIAFAX_I-M, MEDIAFAX_N-Y, contain media fax numbers from 1994. Many are probably still current since these numbers don't change very often. When in doubt, call and check -- they're usually happy to hear from you.
Speaking of target shooting:
Working on the election campaign of a pro-rights candidate is the most powerful form of grassroots action you can do. NRA is already helping organize for the '96 election. This is the most direct, effective and rewarding way to work for your rights! Please participate any way you can.
It's also very important to remind the folks we put in office why we put them there, lest they forget.... See the following item for contact info:
Faxes are best, paper letters and phone calls next best, email least. Hand written letters get more notice. It's definitely worth writing; your thoughtful and polite letters make a big difference in showing (undecided) legislators where interest and opinion are.
As are all files in my archive, this is also available using: http://rkba.org/federal/104/congress.txt A version of this database with fields in double quotes and cr-lf at the end of each line is: congress.dos
There are also some great Web resources with contact info. See the government section of my faq
Here's a press release from JPFO responding to the Anti-Defamation League's lies about JPFO and militias.
The ISIL "book" directory mirrored here includes the complete texts of many important essays on freedom. For example, it includes Thomas Paine's Common Sense, one of the classics of the American Revolution. It's as much a testament to the nature of government as the clear, strong writing and fundamental concepts in Thomas Paine's Common Sense that this monumental title in American thought is as true today as when first written.
HTML versions of Common Sense can also be found elsewhere on the net, such as at the Columbia University Project Bartleby Archive. The Columbia site includes John Stuart Mill's On Liberty.
What liberalism was to the Sixties and conservatism was to the Eighties, libertarianism may be to the youth of the 1990s -- the de facto philosophy of a generation steeped in the precepts of latch-key self-reliance and the individual freedoms of the Internet. ... the computer culture -- especially the Internet -- has accustomed twenty-somethings to a libertarian world where individualism is paramount and government just gets in the way.And here's some more libertarian mention in the national press.
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Copyright (c) 1997-2007 Jeff Chan