Saturday, October 12, 2013

NRA Law and Second Amendment Symposium

Just got back from the NRA symposium on firearms law and the second amendment at D.U. in Denver. A star-studded gathering of everybody who is anybody relating to gun law from NRA-ILA executives to Emily Miller, possibly the only person in D.C. to actually legally buy a firearm. And me.

There may have been some media types there, but they weren't obvious about it. Maybe I was it. I was told that last year there were protesters. This year all I saw was a gaggle of students waiting for a bus across the street from the parking garage, so all in all, very quiet. I was also told that support for gun control is at an all time low among the under-30 demographic, so that's good.

Topics included National level litigation efforts with a description of what the NRA is doing and how it's doing it. We got an inside look at how the SCOTUS selects cases which explained why certain cases came up when they did. Seems the members work on the basis that it takes 4 votes to agree to review a case, and 5 to decide it. Unless both criteria are met up front, the court is unlikely to hear a case. If this sounds like an example of the fix being in, you're probably right. Most cases revolve around the vote of a single justice and the attorneys on both sides usually know who that is. The court being closely divided, cases are usually decided on the narrowest possible basis, so unless one philosophy or the other holds a substantial majority, don't expect any sweeping rulings.

Local litigation and involvement was also covered. The NRA is involves in the suits about the new gun laws here, which suggests they think they can win them. When asked about involvement in the recalls, they respond that notwithstanding the $350K they chipped in, they generally specialize in litigation, not electoral politics. They also noted that Mike Bloomberg has a lot more money than they do and can easily buy legislatures. Of course the obvious answer to the question about the NRA presence is that the recalls were heavily supported by the Colorado membership. Like the button says: I'm the NRA and I vote.

Clayton Cramer had an excellent talk on the state of mental health laws going back to the times before deinstitutionalization and the effects of the policy on the incidence of mass killings.

All in all a really interesting time listening to some really smart people. I have a copy of all the presentations. I may add more as it percolates to the top.

1 comment:

Robin said...

It was good to see you Bill.

Some people misunderstand the NRA strength. It isn't money. The NRA spends little in direct support of electoral politics. The NRA strength is membership who show up.