Courtesy Jeff Hulbert
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By Jeff Hulbert

Dick Heller says when he strode down the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court in 2008 after his unprecedented Second Amendment victory against a Washington, DC gun ban, he thought there was only smooth sailing ahead for the firearms community.

Heller declares now that he knows better. With his visit to the High Court for the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. New York City arguments tomorrow, he says that he never expected to see such significant Second Amendment legal wrangling taking place more than 11 years after his Supreme Court win.

After that magnificent [Justice Antonin] Scalia decision I thought the Heller win ended the whole process of controversy. I thought everybody could just go out and buy a gun because my case ended resistance and infringements for good.

But Heller, who continues to work as a DC Special Police Officer, soon learned about the liberal backlash that he began calling “the resistance” more than a decade ago.

After we got outside the courtroom DC Mayor Adrian Fenty got up on his soap box and said you may have your guns, but we have control. They put up 16 regulations that you had to jump through before you could own a firearm in DC.

But Dick Heller was not having any of it. He went back to court and, after a multi-year battle, succeeded in stripping away the new roadblocks that the District of Columbia had put up. The Heller decision, in his view, was a just a first step, having cleared the way for residents in the nation’s capital to own firearms.

Dick Heller vs DC
Courtesy Jeff Hulbert

Heller’s lead attorney for his landmark Supreme Court win was Alan Gura, a man that Heller says savored his victory for less than an hour.

Alan Gura filed the Otis McDonald lawsuit only 15 minutes after we left the court.

The ensuing McDonald v. Chicago winning decision just two years later in 2010 enshrined the right for all Americans to individually own firearms. The arguments in the NYSRPA v City of New York case on Monday morning will mark the end of nearly decade-long absence of Second Amendment cases before the High Court.

Heller Gottlieb McDonald Supreme Court
Dick Heller (L), Alan Gottlieb (C), Otis McDonald (R) after the Court’s decision is announced in McDonald v. Chicago (courtesy Kevin Hulbert)

Heller admits to being surprised that it’s taken so long to get another Second Amendment case before the justices, but he’s convinced the case will not be mooted — as New York City has demanded after the repeal of its handgun transport restrictions — but will result in a major decision coming down on the side of gun owners.

His intuition, he says, in informed by the frustration he’s seen, in particular, with Justice Joseph Alito. Heller quotes from memory Alito’s words from an earlier opinion:

No weapon used in defense of your life can be classified as unconstitutional.

Heller thinks that Alito’s frustration as well as that of other conservative justices will serve as a foundation for a winning decision following arguments in the NYSRPA case, as opposed to the justices simply declaring the lawsuit moot.

They wouldn’t have gone to all this trouble to accept the case even after New York City rescinded their rules. Justice Alito is pissed that the resistance and the infringements have continued.

He adds that the justices are probably inclined to rebuke New York City officials, who have yet to publicly disavow their firearm transport infringements placed on residents decades ago. In Heller’s view, the Court has a duty to act because “no arrogant dictators ever admit to wrongdoing.”

Dick Heller has declared he will be at the Supreme Court Monday morning to participate in pro-Second Amendment demonstrations to counter the anti-gun and anti-court protests that have been widely publicized on social media by Bloomberg-funded front groups.

Heller say he’s also looking forward to saluting the hardy and determined spectators who will have waited over night in the cold and rain for one of the few seats available in the courtroom for the case.

The first person setting up his chair for a 20-hour wait to earn a seat to witness the courtroom dynamics was a Virginia man, who says he is a gun owner and interested in seeing a historic Second Amendment case in person  He did not wish to give his name, but says being first in line was his goal.

Of the handful of other folks who joined him by early afternoon Sunday, about half said they were gun owners who closely follow firearms court cases. None of the spectators wished to give their names.

In the pre-dawn hours, another line will form that will be comprised of attorneys who are members of the Supreme Court Bar.

What all sides are waiting for is 10:00 am Monday morning, when the Justices will finally hear arguments from frustrated New York City gun owners represented by the NYSRPA after more than a year of maneuvering by New York City politicians trying to derail the case.

Gun control groups nationwide are panicked about NYSRPA case. Their alarm stems from the possibility that the conservative majority’s ruling could be the basis for a review of nearly every gun control restriction scheme across the country.

For more background on how the Bloomberg-funded gun control orgs have issued calls to jam the perimeter of the Supreme Court Monday morning with anti-gun and anti-court protests, read this article posted last week.

For more on Dick Heller’s continuing work on behalf of our Second Amendment rights, please visit his foundation website.


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  1. Legal question, If the Court does not hear the cse as it is moot, what would stop NY from simply changing the rules back?

    • Nothing. The state would first have to repeal its law designed to make the case moot, but NYC effectively owns the NYS legislature (both the republicans and democrats conspire together to make NY what it is, guns-wise). Then NYC could simply change its law back. Then someone, maybe the same defendant, could sue again. One would imagine the court would take a dim view of such an obvious ploy the second time but it would TAKE time for it to all happen and who knows what justices will be on the bench then?

    • They passed the repeal (NYC) and the prohibition (NYS) about as fast as they could. There is absolutely nothing to prevent them from “undoing” what they did.

      This is one of the more astounding aspects of this case, the fact that both NYS and NYC apparently think the Supreme Court is just plain stupid, and that they have submitted actual legal briefs arguing that “they’ll be good now, so you should just walk away, nothing to see here…”

    • hence the doctrine of “voluntary mootness”, where the court can take up the case even if the objectionable law is changed

    • The fact that NYC went to such efforts to change the laws in an attempt to render the case moot make this whole debacle all the more infuriating. Their efforts make it clear that they know damn well that they passed an unconstitutional law in violation of their oaths of office. They very clearly demonstrated that they could care less about obeying the constitution until they think they’re going to get caught.

      I really hope that the justices are sick of politicians and lower courts thumbing their noses at SCOTUS rulings. A declaration that 2A cases require strict scrutiny would hopefully put an end to the gun control shenanigans AND signal to politicians that defying the SCOTUS is a bad idea that might bounce back against your fascist desires.

      I’m sure I have my expectations set way too high for this case.

    • He’s asking what we were all assuming. That’s why the court systems frown on it. New York is not the first state to come up with the idea of squashing a law to appease a negative outcome that could establish a precedent elsewhere.

  2. Pete, that is why people have pushed for them to hear it and decide it. NYC is trying to be cute and deserves a kick in the teeth.

  3. NY State passed a law “preventing” NYC from creating the same law. This supposedly makes it “impossible” per the Democrats. Hover the state could then pass a similar law when ever they felt.

    • There’s an easier way to get around the law. Make all restrictions “regulations” and the law just simply says “See regulations”. Regulations can be changed at any time.

  4. Dick Heller Predicts a Supreme Court Win for New York State Rifle & Pistol Association

    From Mr. Heller’s mouth to Gods ear.

    • A win for who.. or is it whom?

      Is it a win for the Supreme Court? For NYS? For the People?

      I know we are winning baby steps but at any point we could take another giant step backward… repeal the NFA!

    • The remaining problem of the court is one of Bush’d picks,as he has proven himself in past decisions,the Turd in the punch bowl aka C J Roberts.

      • You can bet on it. The Court issues all of its opinions of for the term in June. But the nature of the questioning by the Justices tomorrow will give pundits plenty of ammunition to argue what they think the Court is thinking. Often times, the questions themselves, and who asks them, says al lot about what the justices are thinking, and is a rather formalized way for them to argue their positions in public.

        • “But the nature of the questioning by the Justices tomorrow will give pundits plenty of ammunition to argue what they think the Court is thinking.”

          Yeah, about that –

          Remember how encouraged we all were about the ObamaCare oral arguments and how it was looking to be a slam-dunk for being declared unconstitutional?

          And what we eventually got, especially when Obama told the Court not to declare his legacy law unconstitutional? That tap-dance of twisted ‘reasoning’ Roberts used?

          What makes you think he won’t do the same damn thing, considering the overt threat made by the 3 Progressives to stack the court if the ruling wasn’t what they wanted?

  5. I don’t trust Roberts. It will depend on how the questioning goes. If, and that’s a big if, Roberts asks the right questions I might be relieved. I fully expect the 3 worthless broads to badger the NYSRPA lawyers. That’s a given. The rest of them? We’ll have to wait and hear what they ask and say..

    • Gotta say, that dude in the sopping wet sleeping bag on the sidewalk sure has more desire to be in that line than I do. Kudos to him. I hope he gets to see some of the indoor action so he can tell his grandkids one day.

      • Really, a popup ground blind and a reclining lawn chair, would have been a much better choice. Ofcourse, some homeless dude is probably going to steal their shit this morning unless they have someone to take care of it.

  6. I hope Mr. Heller’s intuition is correct. There is basis for his perspective…

    If one has been a SCOTUS watcher, one can remember the way in which the SCOTUS dealt with some of the silliness that came down out of the Ninth Circuit Court from the 80’s through the 90’s. There was a period of time where it seemed the SCOTUS took cases from the Ninth just to slap the Ninth down a peg or two.

    One has to remember, judges/justices are humans too, and subject to the same irritations and agendas as other humans, only with more flowery language.

  7. Our side might claim a small victory but in terms of oil drillers tain’t gonna be no gusher. Be darn lucky if it’s a dribbler.

  8. We will see if Roberts does the right thing, or the turn coat scum bag thing. I already know the commie justices have made up their mind, except for RBG. Someone else made up her mind for her while she is in her “Weekend at Bernie’s” coma. They never read the constitution and it’s supporting documents in the first place. It can’t be an limitation of government if you ignore the document even exists.

  9. “Heller’s lead attorney for his landmark Supreme Court win was Alan Gura, a man that Heller says savored his victory for less than an hour.

    Alan Gura filed the Otis McDonald lawsuit only 15 minutes after we left the court.”

    It usually takes *years* before cases wind up in the SCOTUS’s “in basket” to be heard and ruled on.

    How did they manage to ‘fast track’ the McDonald decision in only 2 years?

    And why aren’t we doing that on all 2A infringments?

    • Well, for one thing the 7th Circuit usually takes a bit over three months to issue a ruling but in the case of National Rifle Ass’n of Amer., Inc. v. City of Chicago (2009) (aka McDonald), they issued a ruling in six days.

      It also probably didn’t help that the defendants made an argument that was almost custom tailored to get the Court’s attention across more fronts than the 2A:

      “Chicago and Oak Park (municipal respondents) maintain that a right set out in the Bill of Rights applies to the States only when it is an indispensable attribute of any “ ‘civilized’ ” legal system. If it is possible to imagine a civilized country that does not recognize the right, municipal respondents assert, that right is not protected by due process. And since there are civilized countries that ban or strictly regulate the private possession of handguns, they maintain that due process does not preclude such measures.”

        • No kidding. An equivalent response would assert that the word “civilized” connotes respect for common human rights, and so any country which does *not* recognize a right to keep and bear arms is, ipso facto, uncivilized. QED.

  10. Supreme Despots..
    The Odious Fiction Destroying America – The Doctrine of the Lesser Magistrates..
    We now have social transformation without representation. And that is what the Supreme Court is in our day – despots.
    And they are not the final arbiters – as Jefferson states, “The Constitution has erected no such single tribunal.”
    They proffer Article 6, paragraph 2 of the U.S. Constitution – the ‘supremacy clause’ – for their notion of judicial supremacy. But when you read Article 6, paragraph 2, you realize that the Supreme Court isn’t even mentioned, nor are federal courts of any kind mentioned. Article 6, paragraph 2 – known as the supremacy clause actually gives supremacy to the Constitution!
    Wholly opposite of this view of ‘judicial supremacy’ was the view held by America’s founders. They viewed the judiciary as being the weakest branch of the government.
    At the establishment of our constitutions, the judiciary bodies were supposed to be the most helpless and harmless members of the government. Experience, however, soon showed in what way they were to become the most dangerous.”

  11. If you are one that believes the Supreme Court is the final arbiter of what is lawful and constitutional, then you have believed a lie and a myth that Jefferson warned about. The States still retain their rights to this day to defy the federal judiciary, which has become an oligarcy. We just need strong statesmen as governors and legislatures to make that stand!
    In writing to William Jarvis, Jefferson said, “You seem . . . to consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions; a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy.”
    The germ of dissolution of our federal government is in the constitution of the federal Judiciary; an irresponsible body (for impeachment is scarcely a scare-crow) working like gravity by night and by day, gaining a little today and a little tomorrow, and advancing its noiseless step like a thief, over the field of jurisdiction, until all shall be usurped.”

  12. Regardless of the outcome, the anti American leftist will seize on one line of the opinion take it out of context to show their peers they won.

  13. Until there is a mechanism to hold government individuals personally accountable (with fines and if necessary jail time) for disobeying and ignoring the letter and spirit of the court ruling; nothing will change. I hope for the best. I was born at night but it wasn’t last night.

    • Re your close, Touche. Let’s hope for jail time, a lot of it, and none severed at some reasonably comfortable “federal farm”, up in the tank, with the “bad guys”.

  14. I will continue to have no faith in government when it comes to gun rights. It is in their best interest to ban them.

    If something good comes outta this case, I’ll be very happy.

    But I aint counting the chickens till about 3 years AFTER this case is resolved, assuming it resolves in our favor in the first place.

  15. I hope that Mr. Heller is correct in his conclusion. Additionally, if that be the case, is it to much to expect The Court to rule in Plain English, without a plethora of wherefores howevers, commas, semi-colons, aka “lawyers talk”? One so hopes..

  16. Well, this did not age well. When are they going to decide whether they’re gonna take the case or not? I thought this was why they were hearing it from the beginning, because they weren’t going to take any of N.Y.’s trickery. Truly upsetting.

  17. The liberals:
    “ Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg pointedly asked: “So what’s left of this case?”
    Justice Sonia Sotomayor piled on: You’re asking [the court] to decide a case “in which the other side has thrown in the towel and completely given you every single thing you demanded in your complaint.”

    What this thinking doesn’t address is New York, or any state passing the exact same law again. Heller was decided in 2008. However, the city kept making up regulations, being taken to court, and appealing, this happened in 2015 and in 2015.


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