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The NRA elbows its way into
the McDonald Case


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By Kirby Ferris

Copyright 2010, Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership


(Read also this relevant Washington Post article,(or archived here on JPFO)
and this as well - Lawyer Fight!) (also archived here on JPFO)

One wonders if NRA members should be proud of their organization’s apparent newfound fiduciary conservatism. The so-called “premier” gun rights organization has now managed to finagle its way into the spotlight after someone else’s sweat and money rented the hall, built the stage, and set up the sound system.

NRA lawyers are now second guessing pro-gun lawyer Alan Gura’s expertise. And this, after Gura masterminded and navigated the vitally crucial landmark Heller case to a victorious decision in favor of the Second Amendment.

The NRA’s leadership must have looked at each other and realized that (coming so close on the coat tails of Heller) McDonald actually had a good chance at victory. I can just hear them clinking their drinks in toast and chuckling: “Gura will likely win this one too. Let’s get on board now!”

All that might not be so bad, but look who the NRA has hired as their head counsel in this wedge into McDonald: Paul Clement, the very attorney who advocated against our gun rights in Heller!

That’s right, Clement led the federal government’s charge to protect the Washington D.C. ban on handgun ownership!

Here are some of Paul Clements espousals during Heller. These are from Clement’s oral arguments to SCOTUS and from the written brief filed in the case. He penned or uttered these little nuggets of liberty loving patriotism.

“In our view it makes a world of difference, Justice Ginsburg, because we certainly take the position, as we have since consistently since 2001, that the Federal firearm statutes can be defended as constitutional, and that would be consistent with this kind of intermediate scrutiny standard that we propose.”

Oh yeah?

Now take a look at this one:

“The Second Amendment talks about "the right to bear arms", not just "a right to bear arms". And that preexisting always coexisted with reasonable regulations of firearms.”

Don’t you love the word “reasonable”? It sound so…so reasonable! Unfortunately what Clement is talking about here is a ban on the possession of a handgun in your own home for your own self defense!

And here’s an intriguingly slippery one for you:

“Absolutely, Justice Ginsburg, and just... I mean, to give you a clear example, we would take the position that the kind of plastic guns or guns that are specifically designed to evade metal detectors that are prohibited by Federal law are not "arms" within the meaning of the Second Amendment and are not protected at all.”

Hmmm…. Very lawyerly. I’m not going to comment on that one. Just read it a couple of times for your own smell test.

And now a couple of tidbits from Paul Clement’s written brief in Heller:

"Given the unquestionable threat to public safety that unrestricted private firearm possession would entail, various categories of firearm-related regulations are permitted by the Second Amendment."

How does “shall not be infringed” somehow sneak past this guy’s obviously impressive intellect?

Some icing on the cake:

“Nothing in the Second Amendment, properly understood -- and certainly no principle necessary to decide this case — calls for invalidation of numerous federal laws regulating firearms.”

Oh boy…

Yes, friends, this is the man the NRA has hired to defend your gun rights in the unbelievably crucial McDonald vs. The City of Chicago case.

This is the same NRA that still believes the BATFE has a warm and fuzzy place in our lives. See: "NRA Letter"

This is also the same NRA that has not called for the completed destruction of “gun control” laws. And it’s the same NRA that does not appear to have a problem with Nazi “gun control” laws used as a basis for “The Gun Control Act of 1968”. See: this handbill and see also: the film "No Guns for Negroes".

In a recent JPFO alert article I speculated on what might knock McDonald off the rails. See: "Will Your Gun Rights Live or Die?" This present turn of events should certainly not deter our fears. JPFO is not alone in our concern with this NRA/Clement issue. See: this Cato @ Liberty article, (also archive copy here on JPFO).

Paul Clement is like a shark who just tried to bite our legs off. And now the NRA has crashed the pool party and tossed him in with us! Is it “hire a crook to catch a crook” logic? How can Clement’s oral arguments in the upcoming McDonald case possibly be all that effective? Those nine Justices (four of whom are obviously anti-gun Liberals) might truly wonder to themselves: “Hey! This guy was here about a year ago and argued the exact opposite of what we’re hearing now!”

Hey NRA, do you call that good legal strategy? And more importantly: Do you really want a McDonald victory?


Frequent JPFO contributor and strategist, Kirby Ferris collaborated intensively with Aaron Zelman over the last two years. Ferris is now the Operations Manager of JPFO.

See all of Kirby Ferris’ articles.

© Copyright Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership.


Original material on JPFO is copyright, and so it cannot be used or plagiarized as the work of another. JPFO does however encourage article reproduction and sharing, providing full attribution is given and a link back to the original page on JPFO is included.

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