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Statement By NRA Chief Lobbyist, James J. Baker, On The Decision By The 5th Circuit Court Of Appeals

Wednesday, October 17, 2001

The National Rifle Association (NRA) is gratified by the decision of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals that clearly reaffirms the accurate interpretation of the Second Amendment; that it protects the right of individuals to privately possess and bear their own firearms.

This is clear corroboration of what reputable historians and constitutional scholars have said consistently; that the Second Amendment, like other rights, is an individual right designed to protect rights of the people, not to expand the powers of government. The Court’s clear rejection of “collective rights” theories should put an end to further politically charged efforts by special interest groups to undermine the clear intent of our founders as expressed in the Bill of Rights.

The Emerson case represented the culmination of years of efforts by the Clinton-Gore Administration to undermine Americans’ Second Amendment rights. When the Clinton Justice Department argued in the 5th Circuit that there is no individual right, we took that argument to America’s millions of gun owners to underscore the stakes of Election 2000. And they denied Al Gore the White House because of it.

Now, our client -- the Second Amendment -- has had its day in court. And the Second Amendment has emerged victorious as well. NRA members and all of America’s law-abiding gun owners can be equally proud of this victory as they were in helping elect a pro-Second Amendment President and Vice-President last November.

Read the court`s decision


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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.