July 2012

Down Range: July 2012


David Kopel, the noted 2nd Amendment writer and lawyer, recently wrote that a Reuters/Ipsos poll showed that the National Rifle Association was viewed favorably by 68% of Americans, and unfavorably by only 32%. That’s a high favorability rating for the gun group compared to other years.

Todd Woodard

Todd Woodard

Kopel said that a 2005 Gallup Poll had found a 60/34 favorable/unfavorable view of the NRA. Previous Gallup results were 52/39 (May 2000), 51/39 (April 2000), 51/40 (April 1999, right after the Columbine High School murders), 42/51 (June 1995), and 55/32 (March 1993).

It seems that as American public opinion has evolved from a majority to a super-majority which supports the right to own a handgun, public opinion has likewise moved towards a super-majority with a favorable view of the NRA.

In my opinion, some of those shifting favorables are also due to effective recruitment of new gun owners by the NRA and, more important, gun owners like you and me. I believe that nothing changes your mind about gun rights faster than wanting, or needing, or buying a gun.

Nordyke: A Win and a Lose. The en banc Ninth Circuit Court recently reached a final decision in the celebrated case of Nordyke v. King without settling on which constitutional test that gun-regulating laws must satisfy.

Approaching its 13th anniversary in the courts, the Nordyke case at one time was on the leading edge of establishing gun possession as a personal constitutional right — before the Supreme Court embraced that idea in 2008 in a District of Columbia case. And it also was out in front on extending such a right to the state and local level — before the Supreme Court so decided in 2010, in an Illinois case, writes Lyle Deniston at ScotusBlog.com.

On its second round of en banc review, the court ruled unanimously, dismissing Russell and Sallie Nordyke’s 2nd Amendment claim but giving them a qualified right to put on gun shows at the fairgrounds in Alameda County, California. The dismissal order was unanimous, but the failure to define a constitutional standard split the judges 7-4.

There was never any dispute in the case that the Nordykes were legitimate gun dealers who would sell only firearms that were legal under federal and state law. But the county, since 1999, had barred them from the fairgrounds under an ordinance forbidding gun or ammunition possession on county property. In the decision, the seven-judge majority refused to announce any constitutional standard for gauging the Nordyke’s claim that the county was infringing on their 2nd Amendment rights by not allowing the county facility to stage gun shows. Basically, the Ninth punted. GT