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Thread: VA-ALERT: Alan Gura to address next VCDL meeting!

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    VA-ALERT: Alan Gura to address next VCDL meeting!



    -----Original Message-----
    From: Philip Van Cleave
    Sent: Friday, June 27, 2008 9:24 PM
    Subject: VA-ALERT: Alan Gura to address next VCDL meeting!

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    VCDL's Gun Dealer Legal Defense Fund -- help fight Mayor Bloomberg's
    scheme to cripple Virginia firearms dealers. See:
    http://www.vcdl.org/index.html#DefenseFund
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    VCDL's meeting schedule: http://www.vcdl.org/meetings.html
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------


    1. Alan Gura to address VCDL meeting in July
    2. More thoughts on Heller decision


    *****************************************
    1. Alan Gura to address VCDL meeting in July
    *****************************************

    Mark your calendars!

    Alan Gura, the Virginia based attorney who headed up the District of
    Columbia vs Heller case that the U.S. Supreme Court just ruled on, has
    graciously agreed to address the VCDL meeting on Thursday, July 17th!

    Let's pack the house! This should be a very informative meeting,
    giving you the rare chance to ask Alan some questions about DC vs
    Heller directly.

    The meeting room can hold 150 people, so be sure to come early.

    The meeting is being held at the Mason Government Center in Annandale
    and will be called to order at 8:00 PM.

    Fellowship begins at 7:30 PM.

    The meeting is open to the public, so bring your friends and family.

    After the meeting, fellowship will continue at a local restaurant. If
    you plan on carrying at the restaurant, Virginia law will require that
    you open carry.

    Location of the meeting can be found at:

    http://www.vcdl.org/meetings.html


    *****************************************
    2. More thoughts on Heller decision
    *****************************************

    A legal-beagle who wishes to remain anonymous sent me this analysis:

    --

    Philip,

    Ok -- here are my thoughts on Heller. I only had time to skim the
    dissents, but I did spend some time reading Justice Scalia's majority
    opinion.

    First, a bit about Justice Scalia. I know that VCDL folks are
    skeptical of Harvard Law School grads (like Gov. Kaine), but Justice
    Scalia is an HLS grad. He is also considered one of the most
    conservative Justices on the Supreme Court and the main proponent of a
    textualist or strict constructionist method for interpreting the
    Constitution. In his opinions, he aims to look at how the Founders
    understood the text of the Constitution when it was written, hence all
    of the history in the opinion.

    Second, because the decision is 5-4, with no concurring opinions,
    there is no confusion as to the Court's holding. Sometimes in these
    really controversial cases you end up with a plurality opinion, a
    concurring opinion, and dissents. This can create confusion as to
    which opinion controls. That will not be the case here. But, because
    the Justices were so closely divided, it is unclear how future
    challenges to gun laws will be decided.

    Third, the opinion is narrow. Many Supreme Court observers have noted
    that under the leadership of Chief Justice Roberts, the Supreme Court
    has taken to issuing more narrow opinions. That is certainly the case
    with Heller. They only decide the question that Heller presented.
    Therefore, the concise holding in the case (found on p. 64 of the slip
    opinion) is "the District's ban on handgun possession in the home
    violates the Second Amendment, as does its prohibition against
    rendering any lawful firearm in the home operable for the purpose of
    immediate self-defense."

    Fourth, the opinion does leave open some room for gun control, such as
    limiting concealed carry or the carrying of firearms in schools or
    government buildings. But, I believe that the Court's discussion of
    these limits is dicta. The scope of Constitutional limitations on
    Second Amendment rights will have to be determined by future cases.
    Justice Scalia says as much on p. 63 of the slip opinion, "Justice
    Breyer chides us for leaving so many applications of the right to keep
    and bear arms in doubt, and for not providing extensive historical
    justification for those regulations of the right that we describe as
    permissible. But since this case represents this Court's first in-
    depth examination of the Second Amendment, one should not expect it to
    clarify the entire field, any more than Reynold v. United States, 98
    U.S. 145 (1879), our first in-depth Free Exercise Clause case, left
    that area of law in a state of utter certainty. And there will be time
    enough to expound upon the historical justifications for the
    exceptions we have mentioned if and when those exceptions come before
    us." So, we don't know how the Court would rule on a conceal carry
    law or on other gun control laws.

    Fifth, not only does the opinion recognized an individual right in the
    Second Amendment, but it finds that this right pre-existed the
    Constitution. I think that this is significant. In fact, Justice
    Scalia quotes Blackstone for the proposition that the "right of
    resistance and self preservation" is a natural right. Slip op. at 20.

    Sixth, as to the types of weapons that can be restricted under the
    Second Amendment, p. 53 of the slip opinion offers the best insight
    into the standard that the Court would use in evaluating specific
    weapons restrictions. Justice Scalia writes, "We therefore read
    Miller to say only that the Second Amendment does not protect those
    weapons not typically possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful
    purposes, such as short-barreled shotguns."

    In conclusion, I believe that the opinion is a solid victory. There
    will clearly be future cases that will flesh out the specifics of the
    Second Amendment. Those cases, however, will have to be very
    carefully structured to avoid cases that could result in bad court
    opinions.

    ------

    Someone else emailed me and pointed out that the Court wasn't
    upholding DC's requirement to register guns because it wasn't asked if
    such registration was unconstitutional, so it was left unaddressed.

    ------

    Here is coverage from the Virginian-Pilot:

    http://hamptonroads.com/2008/06/afte...look-next-move

    After gun-rights ruling, both sides look to next move


    By Joanne Kimberlin
    The Virginian-Pilot
    One key question in the nation’s gun debate now has an answer, but no
    one expects it to end the argument.

    The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that the Second Amendment’s
    “right to keep and bear arms” applies to private citizens – a practice
    already observed in most parts of the country but never fully
    protected until now.

    Supporters of gun control have long argued that the Second Amendment
    guarantees firearms to militia-type organizations only – yesterday’s
    version of the National Guard.

    Thursday was the first time that the high court has given its own
    interpretation. The case stemmed from Washington, D.C.’s 32-year ban
    on handguns within the city.

    The justices split 5-4 on their decision – a reflection of the
    nation’s near-even division when it comes to views on guns. While the
    United States is the most heavily armed country in the world, with an
    estimated 270 million firearms, surveys consistently indicate that
    roughly half of all Americans don’t own a gun.

    Writing on behalf of the majority, Justice Antonin Scalia said: “The
    Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm
    unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for

    traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.”

    Justice Stephen Breyer, in a dissenting opinion, wrote: “In my view,
    there simply is no untouchable Constitutional right guaranteed by the
    Second Amendment to keep loaded handguns in the house … ”

    The landmark ruling is the result of a lawsuit brought by security
    guard Dick Heller against Washington, D.C. The district has the
    strictest gun policy in the nation: Handguns are banned, and rifles
    and shotguns must be unloaded and outfitted with trigger locks or
    disassembled.

    Heller said he lives in a high-crime part of town and applied for
    permission to keep a handgun in his home to protect his family. When
    turned down, he sued the city. Heller lost the first round, then won
    on appeal. Lower courts have often disagreed on gun rights. Both
    Heller and the district asked the Supreme Court to settle the issue.

    Second Amendment cases have reached the Supreme Court before, but none
    have zeroed in on the fundamental right of gun ownership, a question
    that has fueled decades of fiery debate.

    “This puts us on a solid rock,” said Philip Van Cleave, head of the
    pro-gun Virginia Citizens Defense League. “It eliminates the other
    side’s contention that this is not an individual right. This took a
    whole lot of wind out of their sails.”

    Ron Hyson, a gun owner from Virginia Beach, said he’s relieved. “This
    was kind of a fence-sitter. The sad thing now is you’ll hear a whole
    lot of nitpicking about it. We’ll be celebrating, but we’ll be
    questioning what’s next.”

    At the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, based in Washington, executive
    director Josh Horwitz is pondering the same thing.

    “We’ve got a bunch of unanswered questions,” he said. “But the reality
    is that the idea that the federal government is going to come in and
    ban guns is off the table. It probably always was.”

    Horwitz said he takes heart in the fact that the justices left room
    for “reasonable regulation” of firearms. They specifically cited laws
    that bar felons and mentally ill people from owning guns, prohibit
    weapons inside schools and other sensitive places, outlaw particularly
    dangerous weapons, and regulate commercial sales.

    “Now, it’s all about what’s reasonable and what isn’t,” Horwitz said.
    “And it’s clear we have a wide swath of options. So I’ll go back to my
    desk and pursue the policies I’ve always pursued. This doesn’t put an
    end to the gun-control debate.”

    Horwitz pointed out that because the district is not a state,
    Thursday’s ruling does not automatically apply outside the city limits.

    It’s only a matter of time before it does, said William Van Alstyne, a
    professor and constitutional law expert at the College of William and
    Mary.

    Van Alstyne said similar bans in other cities and counties will now be
    challenged and struck down. The National Rifle Association has already
    said that it intends to file lawsuits in Chicago, several of its
    suburbs and San Francisco.

    “This case is to the Second Amendment what Roe vs. Wade was to
    abortion,” he said. “That one didn’t settle all the questions, and
    some people still don’t like it, but it was a watershed, like this one.”

    Van Alstyne said the ruling’s “heat and volume” give the opinion added
    weight – 150 pages of research and dissections of the amendment’s 27
    words, broken down phrase by phrase. The justices explored historical
    context and took into account how Americans spoke and wrote two
    centuries ago, when the amendment was ratified.

    “Some people might try to dismiss it by saying it doesn’t amount to
    much, but that’s just wrong. This is serious business – a meaningful
    opinion that will stand for the indefinite future.”

    No one expects Virginia’s state laws to be affected. Attorney General
    Bob McDonnell filed a brief with the court opposing the D.C. handgun
    ban, joining 30 other states on Heller’s side.

    “This is a tremendous victory for individual liberty and freedom,”
    McDonnell said. “It ratifies what Virginia has always believed about
    the Second Amendment.”


    -------------------------------------------
    ************************************************** *************************
    VA-ALERT is a project of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, Inc.
    (VCDL). VCDL is an all-volunteer, non-partisan grassroots organization
    dedicated to defending the human rights of all Virginians. The Right to
    Keep and Bear Arms is a fundamental human right.

    VCDL web page: http://www.vcdl.org
    ************************************************** *************************

  2. #2
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    Dammit!

    I'll be out of town.

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    Regular Member Bulldog1967's Avatar
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    I will be there to record it on video for the VCDL website.

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    Regular Member Virginiaplanter's Avatar
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    Is this going to be a love fest or is somebody going to call him out on the gun licensing and registration he abdicated at oral arguments ? Will we hear the tired old refrain it was a strategy to get the fifth vote he already had?

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    Virginiaplanter wrote:
    Is this going to be a love fest or is somebody going to call him out on the gun licensing and registration he abdicated at oral arguments ? Will we hear the tired old refrain it was a strategy to get the fifth vote he already had?
    I don't know, but I'll be there to find out!

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    Virginiaplanter wrote:
    Is this going to be a love fest or is somebody going to call him out on the gun licensing and registration he abdicated at oral arguments ? Will we hear the tired old refrain it was a strategy to get the fifth vote he already had?
    I halfway agree with you, but to keep it in perspective, here's another way to put it:

    Is this going to be a rude bitchfest where we bellyache or are we going to be cordial and at least thank him for winning the case? Will we hear the tired old argument about "I would never compromise and accept a small victory, I'd rather just lose everything in one shot"?

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    Founder's Club Member - Moderator longwatch's Avatar
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    I would be real dissapointed if we were less than celebratory when he speaks. Alan Gura has explained his rationale for arguing the way he did to my satisfaction, the only complaining I've heard since 6-26-08 is that it wasn't a 9-0 decision. Lets not pick open an old scab for no good reason.

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    Regular Member Virginiaplanter's Avatar
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    This is way different then saying your ok with machine gun bans and Assault weapon bans. Those issues were not before the court and were hypothetical. The licensing was an issue before the court and one which the Court granted Cert. on. When asked to defend his position before the court which is what the court expected him to do, he basically told the court, "Thanks for letting me waste this courts time and effort and every one else's time and effort with an argument we were never prepared to defend. We were just kidding" The court answered in kind. We're not kidding, you waste our time and embarrass us, you will pay the price.

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    Virginiaplanter wrote:
    This is way different then saying your ok with machine gun bans and Assault weapon bans. Those issues were not before the court and were hypothetical. The licensing was an issue before the court and one which the Court granted Cert. on.
    More precisely, the issue before the Court wasn't whether licensing is constitutional, it was whether DC's refusal to grant Heller a license was constitutional.

    DC has a licensing system in place; they just refuse to use it. The Court rightly noted that the only relief Heller sought was that DC issue him a license.

    If I sue you because you park your car on my side of the property line, the court can't rule that you should also mow your yard.

    The Court only ruled on the issue at cert.


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    KBCraig wrote:
    Virginiaplanter wrote:
    This is way different then saying your ok with machine gun bans and Assault weapon bans. Those issues were not before the court and were hypothetical. The licensing was an issue before the court and one which the Court granted Cert. on.
    More precisely, the issue before the Court wasn't whether licensing is constitutional, it was whether DC's refusal to grant Heller a license was constitutional.

    DC has a licensing system in place; they just refuse to use it. The Court rightly noted that the only relief Heller sought was that DC issue him a license.

    If I sue you because you park your car on my side of the property line, the court can't rule that you should also mow your yard.

    The Court only ruled on the issue at cert.
    +1

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    Regular Member Virginiaplanter's Avatar
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    I don't want to drag this out, only to suffice to say the the question presented included the constitutionality of the licensing provisions.

    QUESTION PRESENTED

    Whether the following provisions -- D.C. Code
    §§ 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.


    The question presented asks whether the licensing provision 22-4504(a) violates the Second Amendment. If he didn't think that it was unconstitutional he should have said so in his brief and not wasted the courts time.

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    6-day reminder...VCDL Meeting is next Thursday, July 17.

    OCDO going to meet at the 'secret handshake' location as usual?

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    I probably won't be able to make the secret handshake club rondevous.

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    I am going to be there for sure.

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    Regular Member fairfax1's Avatar
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    I just added this to my Outlook calendar, I'll be there also.

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    Now I want a Fuddruckers ostrich burger...

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    Tomahawk wrote:
    Now I want a Fuddruckers ostrich burger...
    I've had their beef burger, and turkey burger, so I'm probably going to try the ostrich next

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    Founder's Club Member Tess's Avatar
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    I presume the OC rendezvous at the super-secret location is still on? I plan to be there. May leave a little earlier from there to ensure I get a seat at the meeting itself.
    Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every man present his views without penalty there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population. -Albert Einstein

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    I plan on doing the same so I can pick a good seat. But I'll be at the pre-meetup location as well at the normal time.

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    I had their ostrich burger about a week ago. IMO it'sa little morerubbery than beef andhas a slight game flavor likedeer or buffalo but overall it was pretty good!

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    Hope to see you all at the Pre-Fuddrucker's Gathering...er...I mean monthly VCDL meeting. I may make it to the secret squirrel hideout too.

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    Regular Member VAopencarry's Avatar
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    Who is Alan Gura?
    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." - Thomas Jefferson

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    VAopencarry wrote:
    Who is Alan Gura?
    He played Hawkeye in MASH, don't ya know?

  24. #24
    Regular Member VAopencarry's Avatar
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    THANKS!! I thought the name sounded familiar. That should be a good meeting, that guy is pretty funny. Do you think Radar will show up too?
    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." - Thomas Jefferson

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    Jamie Farr won' make it, so I volunteer Longwatch to dress up as Klinger.

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