Gun Owners of America filed its brief yesterday before the U.S. Supreme Court in defense of Dick Anthony Heller, who was denied the right to own a gun in the nation's capital as a result of the draconian gun ban which exists there.
In this hard-hitting brief, GOA takes aim at the weak arguments put forth by both the DC government and the Bush Administration. But more than that, GOA examines the favorable text and context of the Second Amendment in great detail, while also documenting the pro-gun history that formed the backdrop of its inclusion into the Bill of Rights.
The GOA brief even presents the greatest reason for the right to keep and bear arms, stating that "the Second Amendment right is to be exercised as a last resort to guard against tyranny."
GOA's Executive Director, Larry Pratt, has hit the airwaves recently, appearing on many talk shows and in newspapers to differentiate the GOA approach from the sullied road the President has taken. Pratt, along with other GOA spokesmen, has argued that the "bomb" which Bush's Solicitor General dropped last month (when he submitted his brief) would destroy the Second Amendment.
After all, the Bush administration's approach is that any and all guns can be controlled or banned if a federal court finds that to be "reasonable."
The GOA approach differs from many of the briefs that are being submitted to the high Court. For example, one brief which is being submitted by several legislators highlights Congress' position on the Second Amendment over the years. This can be a useful approach, to be sure.
But while the congressional brief concedes that the DC Council may have gone too far, it also says it's appropriate for the legislative branch to pass restrictions upon our Second Amendment rights -- a stance which is, in principle, not too different from the one the U.S. Solicitor General has filed.
That's where the GOA brief draws a "bright line" in the sand by repeating the amendment's wording "shall not be infringed" over and over again. For example, our brief states:
[T]he argument that "the right of the people" is subject to reasonable regulation and restriction tramples on the very words of the Second Amendment, reading the phrase -- "shall not be infringed" -- as if it read "shall be subject only to reasonable regulation to achieve public safety."
The GOA brief can be read online here. Several pro-gun groups joined GOA, including Gun Owners Foundation, Gun Owners of California, Maryland Shall Issue, Inc., Virginia Citizens Defense League, among others.
You will remember that last month, GOA alerted you to Rep. Virgil Goode's efforts to get President Bush to pull his brief before the Court. Thanks to your efforts, Rep. Goode has almost 50 congressional signatories on his letter. While the letter has already been sent to the President, Goode continues to solicit even more signatories and is sending those names to Bush as well. (GOA will provide you further updates and a list of the congressman who have cosigned the letter in an upcoming alert.)
Gun Owners of America is committing a significant portion of our available resources as we are fighting this battle in the courts, in the Congress and in the media.
If you would like to help do your part in covering the tremendous costs associated with this effort, please make a tax-deductible contribution. Thank you so much.