Now Playing at Reason.tv: The High Stakes of the DC Gun Case

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Alan Gura is the lead attorney in District of Columbia v. Heller, the first major U.S. Supreme Court Case about gun rights to be considered since the late 1930s. In the mid-1970s, the District of Columbia passed draconian gun-control legislation that effectively made it impossible for residents to legally own guns. Representing seven plaintiffs who want to own guns for self-protection and other reasons, Gura and his associates have challenged the constitutionality of D.C.'s gun laws.

The arguments were presented earlier this spring and the Court's decision can be announced any moment. At the center of the case is whether the judiciary will recognize that the Second Amendment grants an individual right to own guns, a point conceded by virtually all historians and legal experts.

Gura recently sat down with reason.tv's Nick Gillespie to explain the high stakes of one of the most important and highly anticipated court cases in recent memory.

This nine-minute interview was shot and edited by reason.tv's Dan Hayes.

Click below to watch.

Go here to add this interview to your website and for more supporting materials.

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  1. “Call it, friendo”

  2. AP News Alert
    WASHINGTON (AP) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday upheld the broad ban on gun ownership in the nation’s capital, delivering a blow to Second Amendment advocates in a decision that will have widespread ramifications on gun policy nationwide.

  3. Wow, so that black leather jacket isn’t actually Nick Gillespie’s exoskeleton?

  4. (continued)
    The justices’ 6-3 ruling lets stand Washington D.C.’s municipal ban on most guns, laws passed in the 1970s in the wake of spiraling violence.
    In the majority opinion, the court said even a strict reading of the Second Amendment to the Constitution does not guarantee an individual’s right to possess a firearm.

  5. Wow. I had this one called wrong. Sad day for the Bill of Rights.

    Bloomberg is probably doing backflips.

  6. Jamie,

    Where are you getting that? I’m looking at the Recent Decisions page on the court website and I’m not seeing the Heller decision. I see the other 4 released today.

  7. Jamie is pranking us.

  8. (continued)
    Speaking for the majority, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote: “This story was totally made up by Jamie Kelly, who hopes the regular readers of Reason’s Hit & Run shit themselves a little bit. Fuck it, let’s go get a beer.

  9. Jamie is pranking us.

    I like him better when he’s finding creative new ways to express his hostility towards his fellow man

  10. Wow. I’ll take a look at that bridge yer sellin’ too.

  11. “Fuck it, let’s go get a beer.”
    The most intelligent words ever written on this, or any other, blog.

  12. They can take my guns, but I’ll be damned if they’ll take my swords.

  13. Never fuck with a reporter who loves practical jokes.
    I’ll flip ya. Flip ya for real.

  14. Speaking for the majority, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote: “This story was totally made up by Jamie Kelly, who hopes the regular readers of Reason’s Hit & Run shit themselves a little bit. Fuck it, let’s go get a beer.

    I would expect I’d get about 17 alerts from various sources prior to reading it here, but good try nonetheless.

  15. He got me, too, for about 30 seconds. Shit like this reminds me to maintain a sense of humor. Jamie, you suck. 😉

  16. Jamie,

    You should have done it this morning. They announce decisions in the morning so it wasnt realistic to me.

    Next decisions arent until Thursday, in case he tries it again. 🙂

  17. Jamie,
    I’ll have to run one by you we played on a newsroom intern a couple of years back. We rigged up a police scanner and played fake reports concerning an escaped giraffe, a downed news chopper and a dam break.
    It was a true classic.

  18. Jamie’s not pranking us so much as predicting the future.

  19. Citizen Zero,
    Classic shit. I once wrote a “story” 10 minutes from the nightly deadline in which eight police officers were killed in a gunfight in Helena, Montana, then dumped the story in the editors’ directory.
    The city editor practically went fucking nuts, walking in circles around the room, saying: “Oh Jesus, oh Jesus, we have to get this in the paper!”
    She wanted to fucking scrape my nipples off with a cheese grater.

  20. She wanted to fucking scrape my nipples off with a cheese grater.

    Well, if that’s what you’re into, man…

  21. Ha, nicely done Jamie. You fuckwad.

  22. Way to go, Fenster.

  23. Way to go, Fenster.

    So who in the piss-hole stole the fucking truck?

  24. Jamie’s prank article is probably more prophecy than prank.

    The Court will do whatever it can to protect existing law. This court with this set of justices is not going to issue a dramatic ruling that will invalidate dozens of local, state and federal laws. They’ll come up with whatever tortured, twisted reasoning they need to in order to be sure to avoid that.

  25. Fluffy,

    They can do that without going quite so far as Jamie’s prank. There’s plenty of room for them to say that effective bans on handguns are unconstitutional, but handgun ownership can be subject to “reasonable” restrictions, which would leave enough wiggle room to keep most gun laws in effect.

    Maybe it’s just wishful thinking on my part, but I don’t see how they could possibly leave the DC ban untouched.

  26. Send money, guns and lawyers!

    These gun bans in DC and the People’s Republic of Chicago are blatantly uncontitutional and it’s about time the SCOTUS just came right out and said so.

    Of course, someone might also point out the Founders probably wouldn’t have like the idea the government could tell you what plants you’re allowed to ingest.

    It’s sad how the 2nd and 4th Amendment have been eviscerated in the name of “public good.” That’s what we get for letting them get away with that “living document” crap.

  27. Wow, so that black leather jacket isn’t actually Nick Gillespie’s exoskeleton?

    Dude, he’s molting. Show some courtesy.

  28. You know, this is why blogs with comments all eventually suck. They build a community, and that’s good, but then the comments degenerate into a community forum.

    Imagine being some new Reason reader. You’re excited about discovering this approach to law and economics and government. You watch this fascinating interview about the Heller case, which you have strong feelings about, so you decide to check the comments to see if anyone said anything interesting.

    What do you find? Comments about Nick’s appearance, a silly prank, a bunch of regulars trading inside jokes…plus one guy complaining about how the comments aren’t as good as they used to be.

    It’s funny as hell, but it’s got to be a disappointment to the new people.

  29. They can take my guns, but I’ll be damned if they’ll take my swords.

    At least we can take Charlton Heston’s gun. It would make me feel better.

    🙂

  30. What do you find? Comments about Nick’s appearance, a silly prank, a bunch of regulars trading inside jokes…plus one guy complaining about how the comments aren’t as good as they used to be.

    Lighten up, Francis.

  31. What do you find? Comments about Nick’s appearance, a silly prank, a bunch of regulars trading inside jokes…plus one guy complaining about how the comments aren’t as good as they used to be.

    The breath of a community is in its humor.

    What, should we all be happy dancing, smiling skeletons mouthing sweet argotic shibboleths to one another, as if we were attending the average professional or academic conference?

    I doubt many of us come here *purely* for the stimulation. Read that however you like.

  32. “The breath of a community is in its humor.”

    So, this was just a bad case of HALITOSIS?

  33. So, this was just a bad case of HALITOSIS?

    Oh come on. Jaime’s prank was slightly cruel (I cursed SCOTUS aloud, and then I cursed *him* aloud when the ruse was outed), but the exoskeleton joke was funny.

  34. Hey, there are people who think that being strangled is part of good sex. I’m sure there are people who are turned on by halitosis.

    😉

  35. C’mon, Windypundit had a point. If this was the first thread I ever found on HNR, it would probably be my last thread, as well. Cut the guy some slack for pointing out the truth.

  36. C’mon, Windypundit had a point. If this was the first thread I ever found on HNR, it would probably be my last thread, as well. Cut the guy some slack for pointing out the truth.

    Seriously, you judge a site by one thread? It’s a miracle that sites like /. have a million+ accounts.

    And while the jokes were somewhat off-color, at least the prank was *on-topic* and fairly well-conceived (duped many of us into at least looking at the AP). And for myself I’d rather wonder into a den of goofballs than to attend a site where humor is *not allowed*.

  37. wander, even…

  38. Hey, I’m not trying to spoil the fun, it’s just an observation. It happens to a lot of the big blogs. They start out with comments that are fairly well focused, but as more and more people participate, the comment community takes on a life of its own, and its content drifts away from the blog.

    In the worst case, the community’s purposes overwhelm the purpose of the blog itself, and the comments become a kind of floating forum, with conversational threads stretching across multiple posts without regard to the topics of the posts themselves.

    That hasn’t happened to Hit & Run yet, and maybe it won’t. That’s what grylliade.org is for.

  39. Send money, guns and lawyers!

    Nice inverted Zevon reference!

    wander, even…

    No, no. I liked it better the first way.

  40. You guys are nuts. The court will absolutely overturn the DC gun ban, thank god. And that my friends is why Bush is the man.

  41. Imagine being some new Reason reader. You’re excited about discovering this approach to law and economics and government. You watch this fascinating interview about the Heller case, which you have strong feelings about, so you decide to check the comments to see if anyone said anything interesting.

    Judging a blog by it’s comments is like judging a movie upon what the crazy guy outside of the subway station thinks.

    Have you seen some of the assholes who post here? *looks smarmily at joe* They don’t ban anyone for the most part. Would rather have a moderated echo chamber like every other blog out there?

  42. Have you seen some of the assholes who post here?

    Insulting NutraSweet and LMNOP like that is uncalled for, dude.

  43. loghi splstatter groapfsi stog noi . Blig negga frickaraick …

  44. Yeah, leave me and Penelope alone! She’s a nice girl most of the time.

    :::Oh, noes! In-joke!:::

    Seriously, though. I lurked for years. I had a bad experience with comment threads way back in the newsgroup era and this was the first place on-line that didn’t seem to be full of humorless assholes who thought they were running a high school debate team or dumb-asses screaming “first” and then verbally taking a dump on the living room floor. Hell, even our trolls are more erudite than most blogs regular commenters.

    And, as a bonus, almost no one here ever uses my least favorite blog comments phrase/word. To live in a world without it is almost pure bliss.

  45. And, as a bonus, almost no one here ever uses my least favorite blog comments phrase/word. To live in a world without it is almost pure bliss.

    What phrase/word is that?

  46. Ha. No way, buddy.

  47. “Lol”?, SugarFree?

  48. via IO9

    Neuromancer
    Scripts for this film have been floating in space since 1999 but could never really find a director, Mel Gibson was once rumored to be attached to the project. In 2007 Peter Hoffman announced that he would be producing the adaptation of William Gibson’s novel with a $70 million budget under director Joseph Kahn. Gibson was not pleased. In January of this year a rumor made the rounds that Hayden Christensen would be playing main character Case, but as of today no official announcement has been made. Don’t you dare ruin our dark hacker Case, Hayden.

    I will fucking destroy the entire world if this happens. Goddamn, no-good dirty motherfuckers.

  49. It’s in that bastard tongue, Farkish.

  50. Attractive and successful African-American?

  51. Ha. No way, buddy.

    Damn. Didn’t think you’d be stupid enough, but I don’t want to overestimate you.

    How about “I’D HIT IT”?

  52. NutraSweet, every book you love will be ruined by Hollywood, so just prepare. Be positive and think “hey, maybe they’ll do 1 or 2 pretty well”.

  53. Hollywood shits on our dreams.

  54. NutraSweet, every book you love will be ruined by Hollywood, so just prepare. Be positive and think “hey, maybe they’ll do 1 or 2 pretty well”.

    P. K. Dick stories on balance seem to work out OK on film. Total Recall, Blade Runner, Minority Report, and A Scanner Darkly were all good-bordering-on-excellent. Impostor fucking sucked, but you can’t win them all.

  55. No, no. I liked it better the first way.

    Hence, RC’z Law (a corollary of joe’z law): Typos in comment threads are usually superior to the intended meaning.

  56. In January of this year a rumor made the rounds that Hayden Christensen would be playing main character Case,

    Ok, who could play Case? I’m drawing a blank.

    I frankly find the current crop of younger Hollywood actors to be the most limp-wristed, feminized bunch imaginable.

  57. SugarFree | June 10, 2008, 9:45am | #
    It’s in that bastard tongue, Farkish.

    Is it “asshat?”

  58. It was obviously a gag since it wasn’t worded correctly (such a decision would have to discuss [aw, nevermind no point in telling him how to make it believabl]).

    The real key is however that finding the DC gun ban unconstitutional would likely change NOTHING.

    Already, the Right to Keep and Bear Arms has largely been dependent on State Constitutions (44 explicitly protect it AND mean it) and on electing governments which uphold the Constitution and our rights.

    40 States, up from 12 just a few decades ago, have essentially “Shall Issue” concealed carry BECAUSE the people (yes, us) have been dumping politicians that won’t do that.

    Similar increases in “Castle Doctrine” legislation but those started later.

    Also, no state goes in and makes their CHL/CCW law HARSHER, but rather they keep them a few years, no problems, no “blood in the streets”, and they liberalize carry further, remove more stupid restrictions, reduces prices, reduce training etc.

    These laws allowing Law-Abiding citizens to own and even CARRY firearms save lives and reduce violent crime and once passed everyone who opposed them has to admit it or just lie some more.

    If Heller prevails, the law changes RADICALLY, on the order of Miranda once the ACLU, Defense Attorneys, and Personally Injury lawyers figure out they can use this to make more money for themselves.

    Miranda might look like a minor ruling in fact.

    But that is a good thing.

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