More from Day 2 of the Gun Rights Policy Conference.
Sheldon Clare – President of National Firearms Association (of Canada) – Discussed the close vote on removing long arms (shotguns and rifles) from the Canadian Gun Registry. Noted that if it had been a truly “free” vote, it would have passed instead of losing 153-151. Rarely do party members stray from the party line on votes in the Canadian Parliament or they know they will pay the consequences from their party leadership.
Bill McGrath – legal counsel, Safari Club International – He said the biggest issue for gun owners and hunters is unelected bodies making rules, laws, and regulations. McGrath pointed to the European Commission as a prime example of this. The bureaucrats in Brussels make many rules that will eventually effect us. For example, the EU recently passed a regulation banning ammo in checked baggage. Most European countries have been allowed to opt out. However, if this regulation is adopted by the International Air Transport Association, it could impact us in the US. He pointed out the current 5 kilo limit on ammo in checked baggage is a result of the IATA.
Bob Barr – former Congressman from Georgia – Barr was the lunch speaker and spoke about the role of the United Nations on gun control. He specifically talked about the Arms Trade Treaty which the Obama Administration backs.
Tom Gresham – host of GunTalk radio and a director of SAF – Started by apologizing for dissing Californians. He noted the role of CalGuns and CRPA in changing policy in California. Some actions are to gain time and distance. For example, the sunset provision of the so-called Assault Weapons Ban bought us time to change Congress. When the Democrats agreed to that provision in 1994, they never thought they’d be out of power in 2004.
Alan Gura – attorney in the Heller and McDonald cases – noted that the SCOTUS have used substantive due process as a way to make up for screwing up on the Privileges or Immunities Clause under the Slaughterhouse cases. Had always planned to argue both substantive due process and the P or I clause in the McDonald case. You could tell he was still perturbed with the role the NRA played in taking some of his oral time in that case.
Gura later discussed the Ezell case in Chicago which is challenging the Chicago ban on gun ranges. He said when they looked at the new Chicago Gun Law, they looked for three things: low hanging fruit, annoying, and unconstitutional. The gun range ban was all three.
Donald Kilmer – attorney for Nordyke in the Nordyke v. King – Kilmer is one of the leading California gun rights attorneys. He said originally that the Nordyke case was a Pyrrhic victory as it declared the Second Amendment applied to the states but it didn’t allow the Nordykes to put on their gun show in Alameda County. Now, since the case is being re-argued in the 9th Circuit, there is a chance to get the gun shows restored on the Alameda County Fairgrounds. However, it goes beyond that since many other California counties adopted Alameda County’s ordinance, they would be overturned if Nordyke wins.
Gene Hoffman – CalGuns Foundation – Californians lost their gun rights incrementally and will win them back incrementally. Echoing what Alan Gura has said in the past, it is essential to pick the right fight with the right plaintiff. Discussed Sykes v. McGinnis which is challenging discretion in CCW permit cases. Noted that not being banned from owning a firearm and wanting to have a means of self-defense should be reason enough to get a CCW permit.
Massad Ayoob – Noted that Florida became a shall issue state in 1987. He pointed out that a lot of the grass roots groups have grown up post 1960s and post CCW legislation.
Bill Caffrey – Handgun Club of America – “Even idiots have rights” – Speaking of the AZ constitutional carry noted that no fees, no training, and no licenses may mean we have accidents or damn fools with guns. We need to encourage legislators to make it easier and cheaper to get training. By this he meant more range availability.
Alan Korwin – publisher and owner of Bloomfield Press – Noted that we should not be pro-gun but pro-rights and pro-freedom. This makes the opposition anti-rights and anti-freedom.
Gary Marbut – Montana Shooting Sports Association – The Federal government has expanded the Commerce Clause from colonial times. Discussed their case backing the Montana Firearms Freedom Act.
Nick Dranias – Goldwater Institute – Said we should look at the First and Second Amendment the same. You don’t license printing presses so you should do the same with arms.
Michael Boldin – Tenth Amendment Center – Noted that if enough states tell the Feds to lump it, the Feds back off.
Paxton Quigley – author, Armed and Female – said she had been anti-gun earlier in life. Then a good friend was raped and Quigley realized that if she had been armed, she would have been able to protect herself. Noted that the number of women who are firearms owners is growing. She discussed being interviewed for a feature in Marie Claire magazine.
Nikki Stollard – Pink Pistols – She was unexpectedly absolutely hilarious. She noted that Deana Sykes, the lead plaintiff in Sykes v. McGinnis, is the Sacramento head of Pink Pistols. The one thing the California press would hate to be seen as is homophobic. So, if the press attacks Sykes, then it is homophobic.
Dr. Timothy Wheeler – Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership – said the scientific endeavor against gun rights (such as using the CDC) was as bad as the prejudice against guns in academia.
David Theroux – President, The Independent Institute – discussed the problems that they had with the Stanford University Press in publishing Stephen Halbrook’s book, The Founder’s Second Amendment. Ended up publishing it themselves as Stanford put up all sorts of roadblocks to stop its publication.
Unfortunately, I missed the last session of the day as the time change caught up with me.