Michael Bane had a post regarding the discussion of machine guns in the D.C. v. Heller oral arguments, including quoting a post from Alan Gura. I have to admit that I cringed listening to the exchanges regarding machine guns, as I believe that military style weapons should be available to U.S. citizens, and machine guns seemed to be bargained away. Alan Gura, however, nailed it. If he had gone in arguing that the court had to rule for an all encompassing right, we would likely lose the case. Listening to the tone of questioning from the justices, it is clear that they were not in sympathy with opening the door wide to all weapons. We must remember that a victory in part is much better than a loss in full; we must be willing to take a small win, and use that as a building block to a larger goal.
Remember that the NFA was passed over 70 years ago, and as much as we would like to see it disappear in one sweeping ruling or a single bill in congress, IT WON’T. I am sure there are many people that want the court to rule that everything up to and maybe beyond howitzers were allowed, and some of them feel that some arms were “thrown under the bus” by Gura, but Alan Gura went for the win IN THIS CASE, and he did so quite well. If the court decides that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right and strikes down D.C.’s ban, WE HAVE WON. It may not be the sweeping reversal of (almost) all gun control laws that we would love to see, but it is a win, we need to take it.
Michael Bane also makes a very good argument for the legalization of suppressors, and that would be an excellent start in legislative incrementalism. After that, maybe short barrels, and then… Just as our liberties have been taken away a little at a time, we need to win it back in ANY increment that we can get.
The other area where Alan Gura nails it is the final quote:
“You want to change 922(o)? Take a new person shooting. Work for ‘climate change.’”
I haven’t gotten a chance to start ranting about this, but if we want to win this argument, we must take new people shooting. We must take more opportunities to exercise our rights, and encourage others to do the same. We must win in the court of public opinion, and the wins with the law makers and judges will follow. Take a friend hunting or shooting. Bring someone to a First Shots class. Talk to a coworker, friend, or family member, and work to educate them. Work for climate change.
As much it may feel like we are losing ground at times, look around: 48 states have some form of concealed carry; and castle doctrine and Katrina legislation are sweeping the nation. Some studies say that approximately 66% of Americans feel that the Second Amendment protect an individual right. We are making great strides, and I think it is safe to say we are winning. We have a long way to go, but momentum is on our side.
So go shooting!