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July 16, 2010

Brady Center VP already making much of Seventh Circuit's ruling in Skoein

In a week full of eventful circuit opinion, the Seventh Circuit significant Second Amendment ruling in Skoien from earlier this week (basics here, commentary here) still seems to me to be the most noteworthy.  Conforming my view is this new piece at The Huffington Post from Dennis A. Henigan, the Brady Center's Vice President, which is headlined, "New Court Ruling Throws Cold Water on 'Gun Rights' Celebration." Here is how the piece starts and ends:

For those in the extremist gun lobby and the libertarian right who view the Supreme Court's recent Second Amendment rulings as assault weapons ready to blow holes in America's gun laws, the Seventh Circuit's ruling this week in U.S. v. Skoien must be a bitter pill.

Skoien is no doubt the most significant lower court ruling on the Second Amendment since the Supreme Court's decision in District of Columbia v. Heller two years ago recognizing the right of individuals to have guns in the home for self-defense.  The Seventh Circuit heard the case en banc (i.e. with all eleven judges sitting) and, by a vote of 10-1, upheld the conviction of Steven Skoien for violating the federal law barring possession of guns by individuals with misdemeanor convictions for domestic violence.  Skoien, like many other convicted gun criminals, saw Heller as a way to avoid punishment by seeking to strike down as unconstitutional the law he had violated.

The Skoien ruling is a bucket of cold water thrown on the "gun rights" celebration following the Supreme Court's decision last month in McDonald v. City of Chicago striking down Chicago's handgun ban....

It is easy to understand why libertarian bloggers like Josh Blackman are upset about the Skoien ruling, which he cites as evidence of the "epic failure" of both Heller and McDonald to truly establish a constitutional basis for the gutting of America's gun laws.  Blackman frets that Judge Easterbrook's opinion in Skoien sets forth "a framework that will likely be relied upon by most courts."  If he's right, and I think he is, strong gun control laws have little to fear from the Second Amendment.

A few related Second Amendment posts on Skoien and related issues:

July 16, 2010 at 06:27 PM | Permalink


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“...the Seventh Circuit's ruling this week in U.S. v. Skoien must be a bitter pill.”

Seriously? Who are the whack-jobs that are so eager to put guns into the hands of convicted criminals? Why would anyone take them seriously? Some of the possession laws are, I admit, more strict than I myself would have preferred: Martha Stewart poses no danger to society. But I am also not losing sleep over it.

Heller and McDonalds have vindicated the individual right of gun ownership for honest, law-abiding people, and that is something worth celebrating. Is the fact that a tiny sliver of society is denied that right after they’ve committed crimes really an “epic failure”? These folks need to re-examine their priorities.

To the extent the issue matters, perhaps they ought to seek legislative solutions. After all, the effort that culminated in Heller was largely a Republican cause. If a few influential Republicans were to make a principled stand that the criminal law is too severe, I am sure they could attract some Democratic votes. Any Democrat who championed the issue would surely be castigated as soft on crime.

Posted by: Marc Shepherd | Jul 17, 2010 10:27:23 AM

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