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November 19, 2008

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How The Second Amendment Was Won

Even if you don't have a few free minutes, make time to read Brian Doherty's history of the Heller case. It gives a quick run-down of how the case came to be and the numerous near-misses it had along the way.

Particularly interesting is how the NRA played an obstructionist role in an effort to block Heller in the early stages out of fear that the time wasn't right for a Second Amendment challenge.

The Heller case quickly found a powerful opponent in the National Rifle Association. This surprises nearly every layman I discuss the case with, most of whom assume the NRA was behind the lawsuit in the first place. The Parker lawyers received backroom visits from allies of the NRA before their case was filed, discouraging them from going forward. The Supreme Court (which still had Sandra Day O’Conner back then) would not reliably deliver a victory, they argued, and an authoritative statement from the Supremes that the Second Amendment did not protect an individual right could prove devastating to the long-term cause.

Concluding, Doherty says:

The Heller case was a prime example of how calm, dedicated, and strategic thinking on the part of crusaders for smaller government can achieve real and (probably) lasting victories. Fighting against even those who should have been their staunchest allies, Levy and his team of libertarian lawyers watched the zeitgeist, crafted a smart (though risky) strategy, and won.

An excellent piece.

—John Snow



I am really glad it came out the way it did. With Obama in the White House and Dems in control of the House and Senate we have to be doubly vigilant for any attempts to undermine the 2nd Amendment. I just hope that the members of the Supreme Court that retire to be replaced by Obama are the liberal ones and not the conservative ones using the logic that replacing a liberal judge with another liberal judge wouldn't be so bad. Of course I would hope for a centrist/moderate that believed in the constitution over either far left or far right.

Scott in Ohio


was there supposed to be a link to the story? Where can we read about it?

Harding Dies

Yes please, the link!

Ralph Green

Sportsmen's badges "shows the flag"
at any gathering, political or otherwise. It gets the pols eye & attention.It also boosts membership I probably have made more badges than anyone in the U.S. see If we made your in the past.

George Gray

Apparently lost in the euphoria over the win in Heller was the fact that four justices of the Supreme Court agreed that the term "the people" in the Constitution is open to interpretation. A frightening idea, which could make the US Constitution a meaningless document!