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April 03, 2007

ROBERT LEVY IS COMPLAINING about Congressional efforts to overturn D.C.'s gun ban, arguing that they will undercut the Parker case before it gets to the U.S. Supreme Court.

That would be bad -- at least as compared to an alternate future where the U.S. Supreme Court took the case and ruled correctly, in favor of an individual right to arms. On the other hand, how likely is that? It's not impossible, but it is, to put it charitably, far from assured. On the other hand, there's reason to believe that repealing the D.C. gun ban is the best move, and that it will create momentum toward gun control rollbacks elsewhere.

Who's right? Who knows? Which is why it's unfortunate to see gun-rights people imputing bad faith to those who disagree. This sort of uncertainty is typical in litigation of this sort -- one reason why I like to show my students in Constitutional Law the excellent film about Brown v. Board of Education, Separate But Equal, is that it does a good job of displaying how people of good will in the civil rights community disagreed on whether it was best to go full-bore to end segregation, as Thurgood Marshall ultimately did, or to proceed incrementally. And as the film makes clear at the end, the answer to that question still isn't certain.

UPDATE: Levy emails:

Glenn, in my DC Examiner article, to which you link in your posting today, I am indeed complaining about the NRA's confusing postion on the Parker litigation. But nowhere in the article did I impugn the NRA's motives. I raise a number of questions, advance a number of arguments, and contend that the NRA's endorsement of the DC Personal Protection Act undermines Parker and is a disservice to the gun rights movement. Those are the facts as I see them. But I have not suggested that the NRA is acting in "bad faith" or is motivated by anything other than a desire to promote the same ends that Parker seeks.

He's right, and I didn't mean to suggest that he was doing so, though the passage above could easily be read that way. That's my error, and I should have had a better transition from what Levy was saying to what other gun-rights advocates are saying -- and, believe me, a lot of them are (wrongly, I think) suggesting that the NRA has bad motives here.

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