Dave Kopel's Second Amendment Newsletter. May 29, 2002

About once a month, Dave Kopel produces a free e-mail Newsletter containing short summaries and links to important new research and writing involving the Second Amendment and firearms policy. The newsletter also reports on Kopel's latest writing.

The content of this newsletter is produced by the Second Amendment Project at the Independence Institute, a think tank in Golden, Colorado. The newsletter is electronically distributed by the Second Amendment Foundation in Bellevue, Washington. Thus, the Second Amendment Foundation will be given your e-mail address.

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Table of Contents for this issue

1. New book!!! Gun Control & Gun Rights: A Reader and Guide.

2. New Kopel articles: John Walker Lindh's specious 2d Am.

claims. The misleading gun show ads from AGS.

3. Kopel contributions to "The Corner" weblog.

4. This month's links.

1. New book: "Gun Control and Gun Rights." The first college and graduate textbook on gun law and policy. Published by New York University Press.

Also suitable for non-student readers. Co-authored with

Andrew McClurg and Brannon Denning.

Details and ordering links available at:


2. New Kopel articles.


Lindh's Rights. Second Amendment does not apply.

National Review Online. May 27, 2002.



Gun Games. Truth is a casualty of the anti-gun cause.

The Americans for Gun Safety radio ads against gun shows.

National Review Online. May 21, 2002.



For more on gun shows, see:

Should Gun Shows Be Outlawed?

McCain Bill Does Much More than Impose Background Checks.

Independence Institute, Issue Paper no. 1-2002. With Alan Korwin.


3. Kopel contributions to The Corner weblog on

National Review Online.

ZERO SENSE [Dave Kopel]
The Washington Times reports


on a new zero tolerance atrocity: fourth grade boys punished "for pointing their fingers like guns during a game of army-and-aliens on the playground." When the boys were brought into the principal's office, he interrogated them about whether their families own firearms at own. The Cherry Creek school district and the head of Colorado's major anti-gun group endorsed this interrogation. My own view, as quoted in the article, was that the interrogation was "like asking what political party your parents belong to, or how they voted, or whether they've ever had an abortion. It's none of the schools' business how parents exercise their constitutional rights."

Follow-up: After adverse publicity, the Cherry Creek Schools announced that in the future, gun ownership questions will be directed to parents, not children. I applaud this decision, while criticizing the continuing policy against "finger guns."


Gun Week reports


that the Montclair, New Jersey, school board appears to be clinging to the legally ridiculous position that its schools can distribute political rally flyers from anti-rights groups such as the "Million" Mom March while refusing to allow the distribution of flyers from pro-rights groups such as Moms for Gun Safety .


The New Jersey ACLU


says, "This is a typical situation where a school has created a forum for speech, and then discriminated based on the content of the speech." The very first word on the website of the Montclair Board of Education


is "diversity," but apparently the celebration of diversity does not go so far as to allow intellectual diversity.

Media coverage of the Department of Justice's position on the Second Amendment has been grossly misleading about Second Amendment precedent. First of all, the theory that the Second Amendment does not protect an individual right only became a formal DOJ position under the Nixon administration. Many


 other Attorneys General (including President Reagan's) have recognized the Second Amendment as an individual right. Second, despite what Lyle Deniston and other mis-reporters claim, the 1939 Miller case does not


hold that Second Amendment rights belong exclusively to militia members. Unmentioned in the Old Media articles is the fact that in the last 20 years, all six Supreme Court opinions


(including concurrences and dissents) which mention the Second Amendment treat the Amendment as guaranteeing an individual right. (Spencer v. Kemna; Muscarello v. U.S.; Printz v. U.S.; Albright v. Oliver; Planned Parenthood v. Casey; U. S. v. Verdugo-Urquidez.)

Indiana and Ohio congressional primary elections yielded a bipartisan pair of pro-rights victories. In the third district, incumbent Republican Mark Souder, who has been a pro-Second Amendment leader in Congress, easily turned back a challenge from former Fort Wayne mayor Paul Helmke. Souder won by approximately a margin of 5-3. In the 1998 Senate race, Helmke lost 64-35 to generally pro-gun Democrat Evan Bayh. As governor, Bayh had signed legisation restricting abusive antigun lawsuits. In Ohio, felony-challenged Democratic incumbent Jim Trafficant was put in district with incumbent Democrat Tom Sawyer. Trafficant elected to run as an independent. Antigun incumbent Sawyer won only 28% in the primary, losing to pro-rights state Senator Tim Ryan, who won 41%. In both races, the NRA contacted is members and other gun rights supporters, such as licensed hunters and concealed handgun permit holders in Indiana.

According to a report from NewsMax.com , Dick Morris predicts that "Hillary Will Be America's Next President," winning the 2008 election. Don't worry though. In 1998, Morris predicted that Hillary would never really run for Senate from New York, and was just feigning interest in order to run for Senate from Illinois later. During the 1998 campaign, Morris repeatedly predicted that Mrs. Clinton would lose the New York race. Morris also claimed that John Kerry, Joe Lieberman, John Edwards, and Al Gore would "run, and they'll lose." Morris added, "And it's very hard once you lose a presidential race to run again and be successful." Really? George Bush 41, Ronald Reagan (twice), Richard Nixon, Lyndon Johnson, Grover Cleveland, Andrew Jackson, and Thomas Jefferson all ran for President, lost, and later won.


Secret Passages, currently showing on the History Channel, includes an important portion on Switzerland during World War II. The overall theme of the series is underground tunnels and hiding places, which in the case of Switzerland emphasizes the military bunkers in the Alps. This one-hour segment of the series includes fascinating portions on several European countries, with about ten minutes on Switzerland. Interspersed with commentary by Stephen Halbrook


and a Swiss military historian, the documentary shows numerous still photographs of Swiss troops in training and being reviewed by General Guisan as well as excellent original film footage of Swiss Alpine soldiers on maneuvers. Some of the pictures in the documentary come from Halbrook's book Target Switzerland ,


which details how the Swiss system of militia and defensive preparedness deterred a Nazi invasion during World War II. Nothing like this has ever before been televised in the United States. It also includes footage of Hitler meeting with his general staff and emphasizes the dissuasive effect of Swiss military strategy. This theme includes the rifle in every home and a sniper behind every rock. Check historychannel.com for scheduled showings. A copy of the videotape is available from historychannel.com. Specify "Secret Passages: Episode 5."

Mark Steyn, writing for The Spectator ,



argues that Europe is much more violent and mean-spirited than America. Among his many excellent observations:

"It's gradually beginning to dawn on US Europhiles that the Continent has done everything the American Left has wanted for years and it doesn't seem to be working out. Thanks to Erfurt and Nanterre, you're currently outpacing the Yanks at high-scoring gun massacres. At the last attempted US massacre, at the Appalachian School of Law in West Virginia, there was a gun-totin' student [two, in fact] on hand to pin down the would-be mass murderer until the cops arrived. But in Europe—'a gun-control utopia,' as the Los Angeles Times sees it--there's no one to stop the corpses piling up."

Americans for Gun Safety is running television ads in Oregon warning about "terrorists buying weapons at gun shows." As usual, AGS's claims are somewhat overwrought, as detailed in my recent Independence Institute monograph


on gun shows.

4. Links

4a. Law and Politics

Dems abandon gun issue in 2002 races

The Hill, May 22

"Mindful that Vice President Al Gore lost the states of West Virginia, Arkansas and Tennessee in 2000 partly because of his support for gun control, Democrats are backing away from the politically sensitive issue as they head into this year's midterm elections."


Documentary on bogus "child abuse" cases brought by

Janet Reno in the 1980s



Scott Gast, "Gun Control's "Third Way": State and Local Gun Purchase Preference Plans and the Dormant Commerce Clause"

Virginia Law Review, March 2002 (not available on the public Internet. Available in most law school law libraries.)

Article discusses local government plans to give procurement preference to gun manufacturers which surrender to abide by the terms demanded by the plaintiffs in  abusive anti-gun municipal lawsuits. The article concludes:

"This 'third way,' however, places significant burdens on interstate commerce.  By subjecting the firearms industry to potentially inconsistent and economically costly regulations, and by extending their regulatory efforts well beyond the borders of their respective jurisdictions, the Coalition members place a significant burden on interstate commerce that can not be justified by an invocation of the members' interest in public safety.. . .preference efforts are nonetheless impermissible under the dormant Commerce Clause."

4b. Self-Defense

Airline Pilots' Security Alliance.

Opposes federal policy making airplane

cockpits a safe zone for hijackers.


Women Can't Be Gun-Shy About Defense

Tuesday, April 30, 2002
By Wendy McElroy

4c. History and Bellesiles

Bellesiles claims he had no assistance from graduate students, and that he didn't use computers. In response, a historian produces testimony from a graduate student at Emory who spent most of year going through probate records for Bellesiles, and entering the results on a spreadsheet.

(See May 17 entry for this weblog.)


InstaPundit posts a follow-up by James Lindgren providing further analysis of Bellesiles's falsehoods about computers and research assistants.

"Pulped" Fiction:

Michael Bellesiles and His Yellow Note Pads
By Jerome Sternstein

Debunks Bellesiles' assertion that a flood ruined his probate records



Could Bellesiles's Problems Undermine Gun Control?
By Don Williams

History News Network


Bellesiles' work was used in a coordinated effort to undermine the Standard Model of the Second Amendment. The capstone of this campaign was a one-sided symposium of the Chicago-Kent Law Review, recently published as a book, The Second Amendment in Law and History (New Press). This symposium/book prominent featured Bellesiles, and almost every article/chapter cited him.


Author loses grant name, keeps funds

Atlanta Journal-Constitution

by Jen Sansbury

May 23, 2002



"The National Endowment for the Humanities has yanked its name from a fellowship given to Emory University professor Michael Bellesiles to write a second book about guns."

NEH and Newberry disagree on Bellesiles grant

By David Mehegan

Boston Globe Staff

May 24, 2002



The Newberry Library complains


that when the Library named Bellesiles a

Newberry Fellow in April 2001, to

write the book "American Gun Laws: The Regulation of Firearm Use and Ownership, 1607-2000" historians had not raised enough questions about Bellesiles for the Library to have doubts about his credibility.

To the contrary, Clayton Cramer's book-length expose


had been available on the Internet for many months.

Apparently, because Cramer doesn't teach at a university, the Library failed to examine Cramer's manuscript, which leaves no serious doubt that Bellesiles is a fraud.Newberry's snobbish refusal to read the critique of a historian who is the published author of four American history books suggests the Newberry Library is a victim of self-inflicted blindness.

Al Qaeda delenda est!

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