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In a highly controversial move, the leadership of the Connecticut Bar Association lobbied to pass Governor Dannel Malloy’s restrictive “toughest-in-the-nation” gun control laws. The move has sparked unprecedented opposition within the body. From the courant.com: “‘Why is our bar association taking a position on a matter that has nothing to do with the practice of law?’ Hartford lawyer and former Democratic state Chairman John Droney asked in an email typical of hundreds of others inspired by a debate that has continued now for two months.” . . .

Connecticut Bar president Mark Dubois replied:

Dubois contends the bar serves the public by permitting experts in its specialty sections to debate and take positions on sharp legal questions. If the association races toward an unpopular, minority position, he said membership can use its referendum right as a restraint.

“As one member said to me, what’s next?” Dubois said. “Immigration. Obamacare? And I said, ‘Yes. All of those and probably more that we haven’t even thought about.’ All of which have legal implications and all of which may involve a request by one or more of our constituent sections.”

Anyone who has studied the dynamics of such groups realizes that such a position amounts to a blank check to the leadership for whatever it can get away with. As the leadership controls a significant amount of the information that the membership receives, this gives it considerable power and leverage to influence events outside of the core issues of the group.

It was pretty clear that in this case, though, a significant percentage of the the membership didn’t support the lobbying effort.

Dubois isn’t finished, though. He pushed for an amicus brief to defended the law against an appeal pending in the the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

 After listening to entreaties by past association presidents and a lawyer who also is a Newtown selectman, the house of delegates voted 34 to 15 to join with the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence in defense of the law — in spite of signs that a substantial portion of the membership might be opposed. Among the signs: A straw poll showing opposition was running 4-to-1 in one of the association’s biggest sub districts, Hartford.

But the gun culture has developed its own media outlets that act as a check on the ability of others to shape the narrative. This has been well-documented in Professor Brian Anse Patrick’s book “Rise of the Anti-Media“.

The Connecticut Bar membership has taken up Dubois’ challenge. Enough signatures have been gathered to force a referendum, something that hasn’t happened in, well, decades.

On Aug. 5, lawyers opposed to joining the Brady defense had collected sufficient petition signatures to force a referendum. Dubois said he cannot recall that happening during his 40 years as a bar member.

The referendum vote result was released on Wednesday. Dubois said that it was very close. From NSSF, an email report:

The final vote announced Wednesday afternoon was so close that CBA President Mark Dubois wrote members, “I am ruling that the referendum vote will be called as tied. I do not feel that the best interests of the CBA would be served going forward without a clear and empirically defensible result. Accordingly, I have decided not to sign the brief prepared by the Brady Center in support of the Appellee in the matter of Shew v. Malloy.”

It would be nice to know the actual vote count. Mr. Dubois must have released it to the membership. Some might wonder if Mr. Dubois would have given this response if the result was in his favor.

Update:  The vote was reported in the courant.com as 734 in favor of an amicus brief to 729 opposed.   This lends credence to Mr. Dubois’ decision, and his character as a leader.  From the courant.com:

Dubois said Wednesday afternoon that the vote may have been even closer, as issues with a new website format may have hampered some members’ efforts to vote late Tuesday night.

©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
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27 Responses to Connecticut Bar Members Revolt Over Org’s Gun Law Support

        • Haven’t you heard?

          Don’t give cops an attitude.

          Don’t give ’em any lip.

          Do exactly what they say.

          And MAYBE, just MAYBE…

          You won’t be swallowing any of your own teeth.

          Sheesh!

      • That wasn’t the Bard. That was just a fictional character which Shakespeare created. That character’s purpose in proposing to kill all of the lawyers, was to remove the stalwart section of society representing the rule of law, and thus allow that character and his co-conspirators to proceed with their coup.

        It’d be like a would-be bank robber telling his partners in crime, “The first thing we do, is kill all the security guards.”

        Shakespeare: the most quoted, least understood, source since the Bible.

        • Lawyers since WW2 are one of the root causes of the decline of the U.S.
          One of the few upsides of a SHTF will be when they get judged.

        • @doesky2

          Good luck with that. Some of us are just as well armed, and better trained, than any mob you’d care to assemble.

    • No, But I am not against killing most of them! Hmmm–it just occurred to me–most legislators/politicians are lawyers 😉

      SamAdams1776 III Oath keeper
      Molon Labe
      No Fort Sumters
      Qui tacet consentit
      Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
      Corruptissima re publica plurimae leges.
      Idque apud imperitos humanitas vocabatur, cum pars servitutis esset.

  1. That idiot… He has no business forcing political decisions on the rest of the lawyers.
    When the 51% majority can tell the 49% minority what to do…

  2. the bigger question is whether the bar is a “mandatory” bar or a “volunteer” one. If mandatory, those opposed to this effort need to run people for positions on the board and punish the notion of participation in silliness like this. If voluntary, cancel memberships and starve them for revenue.

    I had a problem with one section of the American Bar Association and wrote a scathing letter to the then president. I was surprised he wrote back. The lawyers I work with all resigned en mass b/c of a stupid decision that one section made for which the leadership was not aware. phuck ’em. they have become liberal hacks anyway.

    • While some states it is “mandatory” I believe in CT it is “volunteer” and simply a professional association.

      This was all agitated by some lawyers over at Cohen and Wolf law firm where one of the partners has a vested interest because he was legal counsel in the distribution of funds for the Newtown families, is part of the Newtown alliance and is very anti-gun and their practice does business for the town of Newtown. In a way it was a business move. Glad the majority of the membership saw through the ploy.

  3. I am ruling that the referendum vote will be called as tied. I do not feel that the best interests of the CBA would be served going forward without a clear and empirically defensible result.

    That’s politico speak for “we lost”. I do not doubt for a second that if the majority, even if it was 51% to 49%, had not been opposed to the Bars actions they would have gone ahead and done so. The only reason they are taking such an action is that they lost and moving ahead would result in heads rolling.

  4. I could be wrong … I thought a fair number of Founders were attorneys.

    It would be refreshing to find out that a fair number of attorneys are on the side of liberty.

    • Comparing lawyers today to lawyers then is very analogous to……

      ….comparing President Obama to President George Washington.

    • While I may be biased…but there are lots of lawyers who love and fight for liberty from both ends of the political spectrum.

      Without liberal lawyers and judges you would have no Miranda Rights, no one to stop the cops from wiretapping your phones or putting gps on your car, no access to exculpatory evidence, and you would be unable to get settlements for wrongful imprisonment or bodily injury by the cops.

      Pretty sure there were lawyers somewhere in the Heller and MacDonald cases as well. These cases are the results of hardworking conservative lawyers who value another set of individual freedoms.

      • There are obviously exceptions to the every rule but one must conduct their life on recognizing what the general condition is. For instance, yes a tree may fall down on your car as you drive to work but regardless of that you still drive to work. So yeah, there were lawyers in Heller, but for that one you must still recognize that there are 5,000 other soul-crushing scum-bucket nation-destroying other lawyers.

  5. “But the gun culture has developed its own media outlets that act as a check on the ability of others to shape the narrative. . .”

    Yep. And this has created rocky shoals upon which the gun-controller movement is constantly running aground. Bloomberg and the Mom’s are working hard and spending huge amounts of money (far more, in fact, than other similar reform movements) attempting to convince middle Americans that gun-ownership is deviant behavior and morally repugnant. But it ain’t workin’. The NRA’s “good guy with a gun” argument was a stunning rejoinder to the gun-controllers (something they’ve yet to counter), as is Hickok45 showing people how much fun target shooting really is. And then there’s, well, us. TTAG’s a tough nut to crack because trolls pushing the usual disinformation and trying to provoke the “gun-crazies” are quickly dispatched. Hockok45 is especially dangerous to gun-controllers. How can you criticize a grandfatherly guy who’s persistent good-humor tells anyone who watches his Youtube channel that shooting at targets in your backyard is just plain fun? Betcha’ Bloomberg isn’t doing anything nearly as enjoyable.

    • In spite of all the money spent by the Bloomberg/Watts/Moms propaganda machine,
      they can’t overcome the effects of photos out of Ferguson, MO,
      both of the “Gentle Giant” out shopping and
      of the Ferguson ‘mourners’ attending the evening’s various ‘funeral events’.

      These images do a very effective job of countering all the anti-gun propaganda Moms
      can fabricate. Just as Mom’s own commercial of the ex-husband kicking in the door did.

      The average law abiding citizen’s gun consciousness is certainly raised when they realize that they may be living only a few miles, or even blocks away from the next Ferguson style funeral service.

  6. “‘Why is our bar association taking a position on a matter that has nothing to do with the practice of law?’
    .
    As Jimmy Durante once said: “EVERYBODY wants to get into de act!”
    .

  7. The answer to the originally posed question is MONEY!

    Bot side’s lawyers get paid big bucks.

    I’m surprised that every lawyer’s organization doesn’t help fuel these fires!

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