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Brady Slanders Emerson Because the Facts are Too Hard to Handle

Brady Slanders Emerson, Continues Promoting Lies
Because the Facts are Too Hard to Handle

by Angel Shamaya & Sean Oberle

October 19, 2001

The Brady Campaign to Revise the Historical Truth Surrounding the Second Amendment issued a statement (17 Oct 2001) that it "Criticizes Fifth Circuit Court's Interpretation of the Second Amendment in Emerson Case."

Our initial reaction to the Brady Center release was: 

"Well, at least they are being honest that the case went against them, unlike that Violence Policy Center spin we read yesterday."

But then it occurred to us that people's initial reactions to big emotional losses follow three possible tracks: some become sad, some angry and some go into denial. 

Simply put, Brady Center is angry while Violence Policy Center is in denial. But neither is being logical -- the only difference is the nature of their unreasoned responses. Deluded people see the world differently than do angry people -- but both views are skewed. While angry people typically are brutally honest about their feelings, that doesn't make those honest statements any more realistic. Let's review some gems from the Brady rant...


After criticizing the "individual right" finding in Emerson, Dennis Henigan, director of Brady Center's Legal Action Project explains: 

"We are pleased that the court rejected the National Rifle Association's extremist view that would have guaranteed Timothy Joe Emerson the right to own an arsenal, even though he was the subject of a domestic violence restraining order and had threatened his wife with a handgun."

Unlike VPC, Brady Center acknowledges the huge loss before attempting to salvage something, but like an angry person, Brady lashes out against anyone and anything nearby while it looks. The NRA takes an extremist view. Guns are "arsenals." And, the worst, Emerson "threatened his wife with a handgun." 

First of all, in October 2000, Emerson was found not guilty of all allegations of violence in state court -- the Brady Center crosses the line into slander by stating rejected legal allegations as if they were established fact. But what's with the smear-by-association of the NRA? True, the NRA supported Emerson's side, but the implication here that the group somehow was the source of Emerson's argument is absurd. What's going on is the simple fact that people who are angry often ascribe blame and bad motives to those they dislike the most. As for the "arsenal" jab, it is just that, a jab -- kind of like kicking a chair.

The Brady camps kicks the chair. The Brady camp lashes out because it is faced with overwhelming facts.  The Brady camp still believes it's going to revise history.


Brady Center's press release tells us:

"But the court's suggestion that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to be armed for reasons unrelated to organized militia service is based on a gross distortion of American constitutional history..."

But not only is their statement devoid of fact, the Emerson case just soundly disproved their erroneous and invented belief like never before in a circuit court.  American constitutional history sits squarely on the side of the individual right of the people to keep and bear arms, and Emerson's panel proved it -- repeatedly, and quite thoroughly. In fact, the Emerson judges were so thorough in their proving that the Second Amendment is an individual right, the bulk of the ruling is dedicated to that one issue.

The ruling even broke down the Second Amendment by sections, handling specific phrases contained within the text, as follows:

• The judges found it 

"clear that 'the people,' as used in the Constitution, including the Second Amendment, refers to individual Americans."

• The judges found that 

"the phrase 'bear arms' refers generally to the carrying or wearing of arms."

• And, much to the dismay of the Brady camp -- in direct conflict with their attempts to revise history -- the judges not only invalidated the gun prohibitionists' claims that the "militia" preamble refers to the National Guard, they did so by quoting U.S. v Miller, which Brady has been lying about since they were founded. Quoting Miller, the judges state:

"...the Militia comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense. . . . ordinarily when called for service these men were expected to appear bearing arms supplied by themselves and of the kind in common use at the time."  [emphasis theirs]

and then summed up their finding on the "National Guard" fantasy as follows:

"The plain meaning of the right of the people to keep arms is that it is an individual, rather than a collective, right and is not limited to keeping arms while engaged in active military service or as a member of a select militia such as the National Guard."

The judges also proved the following statement about Miller:

"Miller does not support the government's collective rights or sophisticated collective rights approach to the Second Amendment."


Perhaps the reason Brady Center is lashing out as a result of the Emerson ruling involves the thoroughness the judges exhibited; their arguments are extremely hard -- we'll say it: impossible -- to refute. Not only did the judges study historical documents from before, during and after the ratification of the Second Amendment, the sources of information Judges Garwood and DeMoss cite are valid, easily verified and beyond question.  The historical references the judges used to prove that the Second Amendment is an individual right and that the "militia preamble" refers to individuals include but are not limited to:

• U.S. v Miller, which has been incorrectly used in other Circuit courts and repeatedly misrepresented by Brady and most other gun prohibitionist organizations;

• The Federal Convention in Philadelphia (May-Sept., 1787);

• The Anti-Federalists' Debates;

• The Federalist Response;

• Debates from state ratifications of the federal constitution, including the historical data available from each of the following states: Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia, New York, North Carolina, and Rhode Island;

• Historical documentation concerning the Proposal of the Second Amendment;

• Legislative History surrounding the Second Amendment, including documentation from both the Senate and the House of Representatives;

• Historically-documented political discourse from all of the following prominent 18th century historical figures: Anti-Federalist William Grayson, Anti-Federalist Patrick Henry, Federalist Fisher Ames, Federalist Tench Coxe, James Madison, Joseph Jones, Anti-Federalist Samuel Nasson, Samuel Nasson, George Thatcher, Federalist Congressman Fisher Ames, and Congressman William L. Smith, among others;

• Information published in the following 18th century publications: Boston Independent Chronicle, Philadelphia Independent Gazetteer; and

• 19th century historically-significant figures, including: St. George Tucker, William Rawle, Justice Joseph Story, and Thomas Cooley.

After providing the single most comprehensive historical analysis of the Second Amendment ever seen in any federal circuit court in our nation's history, Judge Garwood concluded, in Emerson:

"We reject the collective rights and sophisticated collective rights models for interpreting the Second Amendment. We hold, consistent with Miller, that it protects the right of individuals, including those not then actually a member of any militia or engaged in active military service or training, to privately possess and bear their own firearms, such as the pistol involved here, that are suitable as personal, individual weapons..."

It's no wonder Brady isn't rebutting Emerson, but is instead merely complaining -- they can't.

If the ladies and gentlemen at Brady's headquarters are able to provide any historical or constitutional data proving that "the right of the people to keep and bear arms" really means "the right of the state to keep and bear arms," we would applaud, impressed by their being the first to successfully do so.

But they cannot. And they know they cannot, or else they'd be challenging the many historical citations offered by Judge Garwood in the Emerson ruling. Instead, we get parroted responses not unlike those Pavlov elicited from his dogs when he rang the bell.


To understand just how "on the ropes" the gun prohibitionists in the Brady camp are, look closely at another quote from their post-Emerson press release:

"As the Emerson opinion itself acknowledged, federal courts have long held that the Second Amendment does not guarantee an individual's right to bear arms absent a state-sponsored militia."

Yes, the judges did acknowledge that the other circuit courts have ruled incorrectly. That is the job of a good judge -- one who obeys his oath and who therefore refuses to rubber-stamp unconstitutional laws -- and these judges, unlike other Circuit court judges lauded by Brady, did their jobs.  Judge Garwood's actual quote regarding the incorrect rulings from other Circuit courts tells a story the Brady camp would rather you never hear:

"We turn, therefore, to an analysis of history and wording of the Second Amendment for guidance. In undertaking this analysis, we are mindful that almost all of our sister circuits have rejected any individual rights view of the Second Amendment. However, it respectfully appears to us that all or almost all of these opinions seem to have done so either on the erroneous assumption that Miller resolved that issue or without sufficient articulated examination of the history and text of the Second Amendment."

Following the citation above -- in the scariest case the Bradys have ever seen: Emerson -- are dozens of pages of proof that every last circuit court judge who has called the Second Amendment a collective right has not only been wrong, but egregiously so.


The overwhelming facts presented in the Emerson ruling intrude on the gun prohibitionist notion that you are supposed to do whatever "authority" tells you to do -- to walk the line set for you, follow the "leader", to be a robot.  The Brady Center release notes: 

"Clearly, the Fifth Circuit's finding is an aberration." 

Well, it is different, that is for sure. But in the end, this is a moot point. The merit of a Constitutional ruling is not dependent on its lock-step adherence to previous rulings, but on the facts and logic. Perhaps the Brady camp is forgetting that even the Supreme Court has failed miserably, in the past, to uphold constitutionally enumerated rights.  In the Dred Scott case, for example, the high court ruled that a human being could be property, based solely on skin color -- even going so far as to declare the provision in the Missouri Compromise that permitted Congress to prohibit slavery in the territories to be "unconstitutional".

Deviation from an accepted norm to follow the truth should be the aspiration of any judge on any court in this nation. These judges heroically went against the grain of bad rulings, because the truth was more important than the "authority" of misguided peers.


The Brady Center cannot attack the facts and logic. All that they can do is complain…

…And wish: 

"And we believe that the collective rights interpretation of the Second Amendment will continue to be the prevailing view of courts in every region outside the Fifth Circuit." 

Maybe they will. Maybe they won't. But justifying that view has become much, much harder. Never has a court gone to such lengths and depths to understand the Second Amendment -- or, rather, to unravel the twisted knot that the gun grabbers have made of it with their myths of collective rights. 

This case cannot be ignored.

What a thinking person who has read the full Emerson ruling should be asking him- or herself is this: why does Brady believe the courts are going to continue supporting the lie when the truth is now on the table? And why would Brady promote a lie in the first place?

The Brady Center knows this case is binding in the Fifth circuit -- Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi -- and they know that it contains the most articulate and thorough findings on the Second Amendment a circuit court has seen. Surely they don't believe the entire rest of the nation is going to ignore it.


The Brady camp wants you to believe that if a law enforcement organization opposes your individual rights, you have none:

"The Brady Center's Legal Action project filed an amicus brief in Emerson v. United States, joined by 11 national law enforcement organizations, opposing the individual rights theory." 

Leaving aside the legitimate questions of whether these groups actually represent the rank and file -- whether their first loyalties are to the constitution, or something else -- this point is an appeal to authority. Most police are great, but the Authority in law is not a cop; it's the Constitution. We respect and support peace officers. But their opinions on Constitutional matters hold no more merit than those of any other profession -- they certainly do not deserve automatic deference merely because of their chosen vocations.


Brady's close of their post-Emerson press release speaks volumes about their inability to handle the shattering of their long-held illusions:

"[Emerson] was indicted for violating that provision after an incident in which he threatened his wife with a Beretta pistol and pointed it at her child." 

We've already noted that this crosses the line into slander -- Dr. Emerson was found not guilty of such allegations. Like an angry child, all the gun prohibitionists can do is repeat the allegation, "And he was a bad guy ... he was a bad guy ... he was a bad guy." 

Do note what the Brady camp has failed to do. They have failed to successfully attack the findings of the court. The title of Brady's post-Emerson press release says a mouthful:

"Brady Center Criticizes Fifth Circuit Court's Interpretation of the Second Amendment in Emerson Case"


If they ever move from criticizing the interpretation into attempting to criticize the source of the judge's findings -- like the judges rightly did -- the Brady camp will have two choices: 

1)  Accept the fact that the Second Amendment guarantees the right of the people to keep and bear arms, like it says it does.

2)  Or simply keep lying, and living in Gun Control Na-Na-Land, hoping their fairy tale will come true.

What a shock it must be to the anti-Second Amendment people who place feelings over facts... when judges hear a case on the Second Amendment and exhaustively display the facts in broad daylight.

Related Reading on U.S. v Emerson:

Exposing Lies & Distortions from the Gun Prohibitionists


Printer Version

When you sit down to negotiate on what you already have, you lose. —REP. MARIE PARENTE

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