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January 6, 2010

Will any Second Amendment fans come to the defense of Gilbert Arenas?

Though I doubt the NRA is likely eager to make Gilbert Arenas its celebrity spokesman, the latest news concerning the treatment of the NBA star has me wondering if and when fans of guns rights and the Second Amendment might start speaking out on Arenas' behalf.  Here is what's new via NBA.com:

The NBA on Wednesday suspended Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas indefinitely, without pay, in the wake of both a Dec. 21 incident at Verizon Center --when Arenas brought four guns into the team's locker room, in a supposed joke gone badly with teammate Javaris Crittenton following an argument between the two on the team's plane two days earlier -- and Arenas' subsequent conduct, including a pregame routine Tuesday night before Washington's game in Philadelphia in which Arenas pretended to "shoot" his teammates with his fingers.

NBA commissioner David Stern said in a statement that Arenas' ongoing conduct "has led me to conclude that he is not currently fit to take the court in an NBA game.  Accordingly, I am suspending Mr. Arenas indefinitely, without pay, effective immediately pending the completion of the investigation by the NBA."...

Stern added that when the legal investigation is over, Arenas faces "a substantial suspension, and perhaps worse" from the league.  That would seem to indicate that the league is at least leaving open the possibility of terminating Arenas from the league.  That would free the Wizards from the remainder of Arenas' $111 million contract, signed in 2008, which has four years remaining.

As I have suggested in a prior post, these actions by the NBA call for experts in labor and sports law, not criminal law.  Still, if Stern is taking this so seriously, I have to wonder what law enforcement has in mind.  And, as suggested by the title of this post, I think any serious fan of gun rights and the Second Amendment has to question why Arenas seems to be getting treated so harshly just for possessing unloaded guns.

Some related posts on Gilber Arenas' situation and other celebrity gun possession cases:

January 6, 2010 at 06:07 PM | Permalink


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I know very little about this case, but from what I do know, this is overkill by the league, probably driven more by political correctness than anything else. Arenas has a good reputation -- something of a flake, but not a dangerous or malevolent character.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 6, 2010 6:51:18 PM

It violated their collective bargaining agreement to have guns in the locker room. This is totally separate from any Second Amendment issue.

Posted by: Scott Forster | Jan 6, 2010 7:28:15 PM

The league can do what they want with no beef from me. What I don't like is all the tuff talk about federal felony charges, etc.. I don't think that's a function of "political correctness," eitther, just BS overkill federal gun laws and myopic, tuff-on-crime prosecutors who think "discretion" is only justified for boosting sentences instead of mitigating them.

Posted by: Gritsforbreakfast | Jan 6, 2010 8:40:19 PM

DC's stringent gun regulation is the result of a liberal stranglehold on the DC government that has gone on for years (and now). They think anyone owning a gun is a cowboy, a neanderthal, etc., et al. Their reaction to Heller is to try to circumvent it. A real rule of law bunch, that.

As to tuff sentencing, there has been no sentence, since there has been no conviction, since there has been no charge, since there has been no charging decision, if there ever is a charging decision. Other than that.............

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 6, 2010 9:03:51 PM

No one needs to be an "expert" to fully understand what happened here.

Using real guns as props for a 'practical joke', in bringing them to his place of work, as a continuation of arguments with teammates to intentionally instill fear is at best stupidity on stilts.

It demonstrates he has no moral compass, no respect for firearms and his sense of humor is a full bubble off plumb. Then again, how many of our current athletes does this description match to a 'T'??

Posted by: Winghunter | Jan 6, 2010 11:06:49 PM

All of you are missing one very important aspect of this case. Arenas lives in Maryland, he admitted to bringing the weapons from his home across the state line to the District. THAT is why the Feds are interested in this case. The league expressly forbids guns in the practice facility and arenas (no pun intended), so that is Commissioner Stern's immediate interest in this case

Posted by: Kelly | Jan 7, 2010 9:44:03 AM

The "feds" are investigating it because the US Atty in DC enforces both local and federal criminal violations.

Posted by: Ferris Bueller | Jan 7, 2010 2:29:35 PM

Bill: There is no "tough sentencing" for gun crime in DC, unless you consider sending a offender through the revolving door at court to be shot dead by another gun offender as an officially sanctioned punishment.

Posted by: Ferris Bueller | Jan 7, 2010 2:33:46 PM

Ferris --

I was poking fun at the post before mine, which blasted "...BS overkill federal gun laws and myopic, tuff-on-crime prosecutors who think 'discretion' is only justified for boosting sentences instead of mitigating them."

As you suggest, the criminal justice system of DC is dysfunctional. It's like the public education system. The number of tax-eating employees is inversely proportional to the effectiveness of the work.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 7, 2010 3:42:54 PM

I'm with Doug. Where are the defenders of the 2nd amendment?

Posted by: beth | Jan 7, 2010 10:52:42 PM

beth --

Be patient. There is no criminal charge yet. If and when there is, the Second Amendment will be heard from, I'm pretty sure.

To say it will be heard from, though, is a far cry from saying that a successful Second Amendment defense will be possible. I'll bet dollars to doughnut holes that the courts will follow the Supreme Court's Heller dictum and allow reasonable restrictions on toting guns around town. Whether Arenas violated a "reasonable restriction," I don't know. I don't know the present state of DC gun law, and I also don't know the exact facts of the Arenas case (including, quite importantly, whether he used the gun to collect a gambling debt or whether, as Arenas plausibly maintains, it was horseplay).

I don't want to dismiss the potentially quite serious downsides to having a bunch of guns floating around the locker room in a place like DC. On the other hand, I sense a lot of political correctness and fake outrage going on about Arenas. We just don't know enough yet.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 8, 2010 10:17:05 AM

In DC there are both misdemeanor and felony options the US Atty can pursue locally (in DC Superior Court), and, I suppose some federal violation, but I'm not sure he's on the hook for a federal rap since he was transporting across the state line for personal use (unless they want to make a case that the transport was to facilitate another crime - perhaps the intimidation of his teammate?).

The likely outcome is a big show, he pleas to a misd. and time served, and goes to the same schools Mike Vick went to in SE Washington to say "guns are bad, kiddos" to a group of assembled future gunmen and dog-fighting racketeers.

Posted by: Ferris Bueller | Jan 8, 2010 11:15:41 AM

Another example of too big government and big corporations trampling all over someone's second amendment rights!

Posted by: Glen Sharpe | Jan 31, 2010 8:59:12 AM

I made it where ppl cannot be my fan yet it erased all my previous fans . All I wanted to do was make it where ppl couldn't add me as a contact . Did i do it right ?

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