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.
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 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.