Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN Legal & Legislation

Sharply Divided Connecticut Bar Members Vote to Abandon Brady Campaign's Anti-gun Litigation Effort

Friday, November 7, 2014

Lawyers are generally required to be admitted to the bar association of a given jurisdiction (and to pay bar dues) before being allowed to practice in that locale. The overarching purpose of bar associations is to maintain the integrity, trust, and quality of the legal profession, and more broadly, to promote justice and the rule of law. Bar associations pursue these goals by, for example, establishing minimum standards of knowledge or competence for entering the profession, rules of professional ethics and conduct, continuing education requirements and opportunities, and free or affordable legal aid programs. Experienced, knowledgeable attorneys are rarely in complete agreement about the meaning or application of the law itself, much less politics or social policy, so when a bar deviates from its inward focus on the legal profession to an outward focus on social engineering, controversy is certain to result. The reputation of the legal profession itself is also bound to suffer.

Such was the case when the Connecticut Bar Association (CBA) entered the fray over gun control. The Hartford Courant reports that following the horrific murders at Sandy Hook in December 2012, the CBA’s elected House of Delegates voted to write a letter to state officials advocating for legal restrictions on so-called “assault weapons” and “high-capacity” magazines. Some members of the association (membership in which is not mandatory to practice law in Connecticut) were understandably upset that an organization that is supposed to stand for the rule of law was actively campaigning against the fundamental civil right of keeping and bearing arms. Even some who agreed with the underlying policy goals of the legislation nevertheless felt it was inappropriate for the bar to be inserting itself into a debate that did not concern the standards of the legal profession itself. Still others opined that the effort did not reflect the view of the CBA as a whole but was primarily motivated by certain well-placed individuals within the CBA who had a strong personal connection to the events of Sandy Hook and were pursuing what was essentially a personal agenda.

Concern increased when the CBA’s House of Delegates upped the anti-gun ante by voting in July to join with the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence in filing a friend of the court brief in support of Connecticut’s expansive 2013 gun control law. As reported elsewhere in this alert, the law had been challenged in court and upheld by the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, a decision that was then appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. After the delegate vote, according to the Hartford Courant, “A debate that simmered … became a revolt …. On Aug. 5, lawyers opposed to joining the Brady defense had collected sufficient petition signatures to force a referendum.” CBA President Mark Dubois admitted that he could not recall that happening at any other time during his 40 years as a member of the bar.

On August 20, Dubois announced the results of that vote, characterizing it as a tie (734 in favor versus 729 opposed). In light of this statistical dead heat, Dubois announced: “I do not feel that the best interests of the CBA would be served going forward without a clear and empirically defensible result. Accordingly, I have decided not to sign the brief prepared by the Brady Center in support of the Appellee in the matter of Shew v. Malloy.” He also acknowledged, “This process has shown that … there is some disagreement on whether or when the CBA should become involved in matters beyond those directly dealing with the operation of the courts or a narrowly defined practice of law ….”

A commentary on the controversy posted on a law-related blog aptly observed: 

The issue here isn't pro-gun or anti-gun -- it's when an association should get involved in matters that go beyond the practice of law. Bar associations should strive to represent the interests of all of their members, or at least the vast majority of them, and here, there clearly wasn't widespread support for contributing to the defense of the law.

We made a similar point a couple of years ago when the American Bar Association came out in favor of "reasonable" restrictions on guns, including an assault weapons ban. There was an immediate backlash on the ABA Journal's website, but interestingly enough, the support for gun control wasn't new -- the ABA has taken that stance for decades.

The point of these bar associations is to promote the advancement and ethics of the legal profession, not to take stances on divisive issues.

As we have often observed, support for Second Amendment rights is an authentic grassroots phenomenon, while support for gun control disproportionately resides within the elite (most of whom have no problem paying for body guards or security to assume physical risks on their behalf).  The CBA’s misadventure is just another recent example of an influential minority’s attempt to hijack a prominent platform to portray as “resolved” a gun control orthodoxy that most still recognize as fiercely contested. To the credit of the CBA’s membership at large, that attempt was unsuccessful.  

TRENDING NOW
Illinois: House Committee Passes Bill to Close Local Gun Dealers

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Illinois: House Committee Passes Bill to Close Local Gun Dealers

The House Judiciary Committee passed Senate Bill 1657 by a 7-6 vote.

From My Cold Wet Hands: Humorless Scold Targets Squirt Guns

News  

Friday, May 19, 2017

From My Cold Wet Hands: Humorless Scold Targets Squirt Guns

We have yet to reach Memorial Day, but the fun police have already set their sights on at least one cherished summer childhood activity. In an article for Pupsugar.com, titled, “Why Kids Should Never Play ...

Court's Commonsense Conclusion: "There Was a Gun" Isn't Enough to Justify Issuing a Restraining Order

Second Amendment  

Friday, May 19, 2017

Court's Commonsense Conclusion: "There Was a Gun" Isn't Enough to Justify Issuing a Restraining Order

The Supreme Court of North Dakota confirmed this week that simply possessing a handgun while on one’s own private property cannot support a finding of "disorderly conduct" under the state’s disorderly conduct restraining order law. ...

Bloomberg's Everytown Creates "Authors Council" to Push Anti-Gun Propaganda

News  

Friday, May 19, 2017

Bloomberg's Everytown Creates "Authors Council" to Push Anti-Gun Propaganda

As if the country’s media weren’t already sufficiently co-opted by anti-gun advocates, this week, Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety announced an effort to pervert an additional facet of American entertainment. The billionaire bank-rolled interest group has ...

California: Draft "Assault Weapon" Regulation Language Now Available

Thursday, May 18, 2017

California: Draft "Assault Weapon" Regulation Language Now Available

Today, May 18, a draft copy of the "Assault Weapon" regulations has been made available

Federal Lawsuit Challenging California’s Ban on Standard Capacity Magazines Filed

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Federal Lawsuit Challenging California’s Ban on Standard Capacity Magazines Filed

Today, May 18, the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) announced it is supporting, along with the California Rifle and Pistol Association (CRPA), an important Second Amendment lawsuit challenging California’s ban on the possession ...

Washington: NRA Files Amicus Brief in Challenge to Kitsap County Anti-Gun Ordinance

Monday, May 22, 2017

Washington: NRA Files Amicus Brief in Challenge to Kitsap County Anti-Gun Ordinance

Last week, attorneys on behalf of the NRA filed an amicus brief in Kitsap County v. Kitsap Rifle and Revolver Club (Kitsap II), the case which challenges Kitsap County’s firearm discharge ban and range licensing scheme.  Kitsap Rifle and ...

Nevada: Anti-Gun Bills Fail to Pass Second Chamber Policy Committee Deadline

Friday, May 19, 2017

Nevada: Anti-Gun Bills Fail to Pass Second Chamber Policy Committee Deadline

Today, May 19, was the second chamber policy committee deadline.  Two anti-gun bills, Senate Bill 115 and Senate Bill 387, both failed to pass out of the Assembly Judiciary Committee and are now dead for the 2017 legislative ...

Maryland: Governor Hogan Signs Apprentice Hunting Legislation into Law

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Maryland: Governor Hogan Signs Apprentice Hunting Legislation into Law

Today, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan signed House Bill 1427 into law.

Illinois: Last Chance to Save your Local Gun Dealer!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Illinois: Last Chance to Save your Local Gun Dealer!

The Illinois House of Representatives may consider Senate Bill 1657, legislation that could put your local gun dealer out of business, at any time! It is imperative that you contact your state Representative IMMEDIATELY and ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -
NRA ILA

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.