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Military Brief in DC v. Heller:

A group of retired military officers, mostly Generals or Admirals, has filed an amicus brief in District of Columbia v. Heller.

Part I of the brief looks at framing of the Second Amendment, and importance of federal control of the militia for national defense. The brief argues that DC's theory allows the states (including DC acting in a state-type role) to destroy the effectiveness of the militia by preventing citizens from having arms. The brief suggests that DC's argument is contrary to the constitutional plan for federal militia supremacy.

Part II argues that the widespread citizen gun ownership is essential to the national defense, because soldiers who have prior experience with gun use as civilians make much better marksmen. Because handguns are common in military use, handgun experience is highly relevant. This is similar to the police training argument that I made, on behalf of law enforcement firearms training associations, in my own brief, although the military argument is much more extensive.

Finally, the brief explains how citizens, even those not serving in the standing army, contribute to the national defense. Examples are the American Revolution, the Battle of New Orleans, and the defense of Alaska and Hawaii after Pearl Harbor. There is also a good discussion of Switzerland during WWII.

The Appendix includes letters to the National Rifle Association by Presidents Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, and Kennedy, and by several FDR officials, thanking the NRA for its role in promoting civilian marksmanship as a means of aiding national security.

No brief filed by Petitioner or its amici addresses these issues.

Below the fold: Maryland Governor Herbert O'Connor's March 10, 1942 radio address, asking for volunteers from, inter alia, the "membership rolls of Rifle Clubs, Trap Shooting Associations, Skeet Clubs and sportsmen's groups of every type" to help defend Maryland against potential German incursions, such as saboteurs. "[T]he volunteers, for the most part, will be expected to furnish their own weapons....The Maryland Minute Men, armed with weapons with which they are thoroughly familiar from long use, operating in a community in which they are accustomed to every road and trail and stream, and aroused to fighting pitch by the knowledge that they are serving to protect their own homes, their family and all that they hold dear in life, will prove a staunch defense against any enemy activity."

RKV (mail):
"The brief suggests that DC's argument is contrary to the constitutional plan for federal militia supremacy."

Quite. The founding era Militia Act of 1792, required all able-bodied citizens (at the time "whites") to own a rifle/musket, ammunition, backpack, etc. Contrast that with the disarmament laws passed in California, Hawaii, Illinois, New York and several other states. Weapons suitable for militia service are illegal for the general public, and the States have deprived the Federal government of their resource. Consider also 10 USC 311. Membership in the Federal (unorganized) militia is already a matter of law for able bodied males ages 17-45 (plus or minus a few others). This legal definition is substantially unchanged since the Act of 1792.
2.13.2008 2:58pm
Happyshooter:
The fact that a former Sergeant Major of the Army signed on is very interesting. It brings an enlisted point of view to the brief.
2.13.2008 3:02pm
Brian G (mail) (www):
By the way, thanks for posting all of the amicus briefs and discussing them. It has been real nice having them marshalled together for us.

Funny thing, I have enjoyed the anti-gun briefs much more than the ones that advocate the same position as me, pro-gun.

An old rancher I went to law school with said something I'll never forget:

"An armed society is a polite society."
2.13.2008 3:10pm
federal farmer (www):
The AHSA brief, which had their own military amici, did address some of these issues and given that they are a false flag operation and had the intent of sabotaging the decision, shouldn't we count them as in support of petitioners instead of respondents?
2.13.2008 3:16pm
Brett Bellmore:

and the defense of Alaska and Hawaii after World War II


Wouldn't that be "during" WWII? Surely we weren't worried about the Japanese invading our west coast after we'd already beaten them...
2.13.2008 4:57pm
JohnO (mail):
I'm with Heller on the merits, but I disagree that civilian experience with guns makes for better marksmen in the military. Most marksmanship instructors I encountered in the Marine Corps were firmly of the belief that it was easier to teach someone who had little to no gun experience because they had no bad habits to break.
2.13.2008 7:38pm
RKV (mail):
I think the generals both outrank you and outnumber you. And they disagree with you too.
2.13.2008 8:12pm
JohnO (mail):
You don't think I could scrape up ten generals to sign a brief saying the 2nd Amendment is a collective right? At some point, these extra votes become a joke.
2.13.2008 8:35pm
RKV (mail):
At some point you have to say that the guys with the credentials have at least some authority. Guys who heard something from their DI once, well, they aren't quite the same. Like it or not.

I could spend quite some time explaining why you don't know what you're talking about based on my personal experience as a firearms trainer, which is considerable. You wouldn't listen and would likely get offended. It's not worth the grief. BTW I won't be drawn into a flame war here.
2.13.2008 9:39pm
JohnO (mail):
I don't think I was flaming anyone. I also don't think that because someone is a general he or she knows anything about marksmanship. Whether the other militia-related arguments in their brief are right or not, I have no idea. Then again, it might be true that they don't know either, but that's another subject altogether.
2.13.2008 9:48pm
RKV (mail):
Maybe you ought to say aloud what you just wrote. "Because someone is a general he or she knows anything about marksmanship." Try saying that to yourself and see if you don't sound silly. These gentlemen's profession is war. Yours (and mine) is not.
2.13.2008 9:56pm
wuzzagrunt (mail):
JohnO is correct as far as he he takes it. I've heard the same thing many times. But what we're really talking about is it being easier to train someone who's never touched a rifle than someone who has had years to develop bad habits. A fresh-faced recruit who has had marksmanship training through ROTC, NRA Service Rifle, or High Power Rifle competition is a different kind of "prive".
2.13.2008 10:17pm
JohnO (mail):
I just read it out loud, and I still think it makes perfect sense. Service as a military officer, and in particular successful service as a high-ranking military officer, has approximately zero to do with knowledge of marksmanship and knowledge of the details of teaching marksmanship.

But the bigger point is that "it's for the military" is threatening to replace "it's for the children" as an overused and hackneyed cliche. And the problem gets worse with the cavalcade of amicus briefs filed in various cases on behalf of some group of retired officers when the reality is that the class of retired general officers is anything but monolithic, such that a brief filed on behalf of ten or twenty retired generals is hardly a reliable statement (on this subject or any other) of what the entire class of retired general officers thinks. It's like amicus briefs filed by collections of law professors. Nobody would think that one position or another is necessarily right because (gasp) twenty law professors signed a brief saying it was so.
2.13.2008 10:20pm
wuzzagrunt (mail):
JohnO wrote:

...the reality is that the class of retired general officers is anything but monolithic, such that a brief filed on behalf of ten or twenty retired generals is hardly a reliable statement (on this subject or any other) of what the entire class of retired general officers thinks. It's like amicus briefs filed by collections of law professors. Nobody would think that one position or another is necessarily right because (gasp) twenty law professors signed a brief saying it was so.

So, then we are forced to rely on the strength of their arguments?
2.13.2008 10:27pm
RKV (mail):
Well John isn't going to be one of the guys leading men into combat - trained or not is he? He isn't responsible for the result. As to the factual question, I say the opposite. Long term familiarity with firearms teaches you plenty. Especially in the case where you are hunting live animals. It doesn't work like the known distance range in real life folks. This particularly the case where you have access to weapons that are equivalent to what the military is carrying. You have to clean them, and sight them in, and work with them over a range of distances and with varied ammo. Sorry John. No. Just the opposite of your contention.
2.13.2008 10:53pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
Sgt. York developed his shooting skills over years before he entered the service. It's hard for something to become second nature in just a few weeks of training.

Similarly, experience as a taxicab manager, and in particular, experience as the CEO of Checker Cab, has approximately zero to do with knowledge of driving instruction and knowledge of the details of teaching people how to drive. And yet they can review and analyze performance data for each training method, and decide what the best methods are.
2.13.2008 11:53pm
DG:
John, I think you will find few groups in the country more in favor of private gun ownership that active duty military and veterans. As far as recruits with gun experience - with all due respect to your Marine DI friends - I've known some of those guys and they would say the same about walking or eating. A kid with an NRA safety class under his belt is much safer before, during, and after basic training. And in many parts of the military, you just don't get much time at the range - Marines and Army infantry notwithstanding. Having good marksmanship fundamentals is very useful.
2.13.2008 11:58pm