Big News on Second Amendment!
Sent: Wednesday, June 14, 2000 8:38 AM
To: List Member
Subject: Big News on Second Amendment!
Truth Squad - http://www.guntalk.com
June 14, 2000
To Members of the Gun Talk Truth Squad
To those who are new to the Truth Squad, and there are many, let me say
"welcome," and I offer my thanks for your commitment to volunteer to
send letters to your local newspapers.
What follows isn't a sample letter, but it can be used as the basis for
writing your own letters.
Yesterday I flew to New Orleans to listen to arguments on the Emerson
Case. This is an important case for Second Amendment supporters. For
a complete background on Emerson, see the Second Amendment Foundation
Neal Knox sent out an alert about this immediately after the arguments
were heard, and while I agree with much of that report, Neal wasn't
there. Also, because Neal has been in this fight for a long time (as has Linda
Thomas, who gave him the report), I think they both might have glossed
over something that many gun owners would find amazing. By the way,
Neal's email reports are good information, and I suggest that you
subscribe to them. www.nealknox.com.
He and I don't always agree, but if you take his
reports as a part of your research, I think you will find them useful. I sat next to
Linda, which is interesting, in that our notes differ in
a couple of places. Such is reporting, I guess. Nothing big, but a few details.
Here are the "Cliff Notes" on the case. Dr. Emerson was issued a
boilerplate restraining order in the middle of a divorce. There were
22 orders in the R.O., and three of them said, basically, that he had to
stay away from his wife. By federal law (since 1994), a person who is under
a restraining order, even if there is no evidence of a threat of
violence, may not own firearms. Yes, that's right. You lose a civil,
Constitutional right because a judge pushes a key on a computer and a
standard R.O. comes out.
The original decision by Judge Sam Cummings is a work of art, tracing
the history of government restriction of arms ownership (swords, armor,
firearms) back to England, before there was a United States of America.
You owe it to yourself to read this decision:
Now, to the appeal in the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans, yesterday.
First, let me say that the lawyer (Crooks) representing Emerson was . . . how
shall I say this . . . not the best I've seen. However, the attorney from
the Alabama Attorney General's office (Cooper) was very good. The
A.G.'s office argued on Emerson's side.
The three-judge panel (Garwood, DeMoss, and Parker) asked tough
questions, and showed that they weren't buying the government's (federal
government) assertion that because a firearm once traveled across state lines, that
this gun was "involved in interstate commerce." This is important,
because if the firearm is not involved in interstate commerce, the
federal government has no place in this, and it is a state matter.
Note this exchange:
DeMoss: "I have a 16 gauge shotgun in my closet at home. I have a
20-gauge shotgun. I also have a 30-caliber rifle at home. Are you
saying these are "in or affecting interstate commerce?
Meteja (government lawyer): "Yes"
You'll note the personal tone to Judge DeMoss's question. This
personal tone carried throughout the one-hour session.
Veterans of Second Amendment battles understand that the U.S.
government takes the position that you do not have a right to own a gun. Many
people, however, say "Oh come on, you don't really believe that, do
Well, here it is from the mouth of the lawyers representing the United
States government, from my notes at the Emerson case.
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?"
Meteja (for the government: "Yes"
Judge Garwood was having none of that.
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
Meteja then said that even membership in the National Guard isn't
enough to protect the private ownership of a firearm. It wouldn't protect the
guns owned at the home of someone in the National Guard.
Garwood: Membership in the National Guard isn't enough? What else is
Meteja: The weapon in question must be used in the National Guard.
In other words, no one, even if a member of the National Guard, has a
right to own guns privately. That is the position of the U.S.
The judges seemed to reject the federalism position of the government
which says that once an item has moved across a state line, it is
forever covered by federal laws because it is involved in interstate commerce.
This rejection seems to be in line with several narrow decisions from
the Supreme Court in recent years.
The judges also appeared incredulous that the government was saying
that no one has a right to own guns, and that the Second Amendment
guarantees only the right of the National Guard to own guns.
It will be weeks or months before a decision is issued on this case,
and nothing is assured, by any means. However, if you need some hope, I
leave you with this final statement to government lawyer, made by Judge
"You shouldn't let it bother your sleep that Judge Garwood (the senior
judge) and I, between us, own enough guns to start a revolution in most
South American countries."
Now, what can you do with this information?
1. Write letters detailing the government's position that NO ONE has a
right to own a gun. Most people in this country believe that they do,
in fact, have the right to own a gun, and they need to know what the
government is saying.
2. Explain to your fellow gun owners how important this case is (see
point number 1 above), and that it is vital that Al Gore not be elected
president, where he can appoint Supreme Court justices. If the Emerson
case goes as I hope, it will be appealed to the Supreme Court. We
don't want Gore appointees sitting there when this case arrives.
And a personal note: Thanks for your overwhelming support. You are
getting your letters published all over the country. Keep 'em coming.
Keep 'em SHORT! Stay on point. Pick a single point to make, and stick
to it. Save everything else for other letters.
Tom Gresham, host
Tom Gresham's Gun Talk radio show
UNARMED AND UNSAFE
"If only I had 'NOT' put those locks on my guns...!!!"
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