Arguing with Idiots: How to Stop Small Minds and Big Government
by Glenn Beck
GLENN: Well, the second chapter of Arguing With Idiots is the Second Amendment, and a guy who was instrumental, I mean, came to the table with more facts ask the best arguments you could possibly imagine is Alan Gura. Now, gee, why would he have great arguments? Oh, I don't know. He's the one who won the Heller case, the D.C. gun ban case in front of the Supreme Court, and we just got news -- I don't even know. Has this, has this even really been announced yet? Alan Gura is on the phone with us now. Hi, Alan.
GURA: Hi, Glenn, how are you? I'm very happy to tell everyone that just the morning the Supreme Court has decided to hear my case out of the City of Chicago. They are going to hear whether or not the Second Amendment protects people not just from the federal government but also from their state and local politicians as well. And we're very confident that when everything is said and done, one year from now Chicago will no longer have a handgun ban.
GLENN: Now, you went after this. Also the NRA. Did they accept the NRA's case?
GURA: No, did not appear so.
GLENN: What is the difference between the two cases?
GURA: Well, there are some differences in the way that we argue the case. Our case, first of all, taxed some additional laws that their case did not reach. Both of us went after the handgun ban. Of course, Chicago has a handgun ban which is identical to Washington D.C.'s; that is, they require all guns to be registered and then you can't register a handgun, therefore handguns are banned. We've also gone after the idea that Chicago imposes an annual tax on your right to keep guns, if you have a rifle or a shotgun, you don't just pay 20 bucks to register; you've got to pay every year. With he don't think that's appropriate. The other --
GLENN: And if you miss --
GLENN: If you miss that, it's against the law, too.
GLENN: If you miss it, there are some huge penalties to it.
GURA: If you miss it, the gun becomes unregisterable which means not only can you not have it, nobody in the city can have it.
GURA: It has to disappear and leave city limits if you miss by even one day, which is completely ridiculous. You can get supposedly an identical gun, just a different one, the one that you had registered you have to throw out.
GLENN: Okay. So I know that the NRA didn't want -- I mean, they were afraid of the D.C. handgun bill. They were like, you know, I don't -- we don't know how they're going to come out. Why, why were both of you, you and the NRA, as soon as you won the Heller case in Washington, why did you both run to file this case? What is it that gives you confidence in this?
GURA: Well, first of all, it's inevitable. I mean, you can't really avoid these questions. And this is why we filed the D.C. case, too. We realized that the way things were developing in the law that the Court would answer the Second Amendment question very soon, and we wanted the question answered in a good case on behalf of law-abiding, decent people instead of the usual way that Second Amendment cases had gone up through the court in cases like U.S. versus crackhead, U.S. versus bank robber. Those are not really the greatest cases to take when trying to vindicate individual rights. The reason we went immediately after Chicago is Chicago has an identical handgun ban. It's a crazy set of gun laws. And it's fairly obvious that now that we know the Second Amendment applies to the federal government, the next big question is, okay, does it apply to state and local governments. Because most gun laws live at the state and local level. And let's face it, Glenn: If congress can't take a gun away and President Obama can't take a gun away but the mayor takes your gun away, you still don't have a gun.
GLENN: That is the way it is in New York City. So if you win this in New York -- if you win this in Chicago, does New York City then, does this ban fall in New York City?
GURA: Yes, New York is definitely going to be sued. There's no question of that. They are going to have problems enforcing some of these laws. My understanding, I mean, obviously it's a wonderful book that you've put together, and I was very sad to see that the problems that people have in New York to try to register a handgun. It takes 400 to 500 --
GLENN: Did you see the chart?
GURA: Yes, it's crazy.
GLENN: I'm going to show it on TV tonight because you are going to be on tonight, aren't you?
GURA: Yes, I will.
GLENN: The chart, let me look this up. The chart is insane on what you -- on Page 48, thank you, Stu, on what you have to do to be able to get a gun in New York City. It's crazy.
GURA: It doesn't make any sense.
GLENN: So is -- if you win in Chicago, then do we have to go through yet another case in New York and in California, or will one of these things collapse it in all of the states and cities?
GURA: Well, it might take a case, but I don't think the New York case would necessarily go to the Supreme Court because the New York law, if the Second Amendment applies to New York City, then they cannot have the kind of law they have to do. I mean, there's no way that you can charge someone $1,000 and make them wait a year in order to exercise a basic constitutional right. There's no way. This regulation is not going to be upheld under any level of review. New York can regulate guns. They can require background checks, things like that. But the kind of things that they require, the bureaucratic process, it won't survive.
GLENN: Pat is just looking at the bureaucratic process.
PAT: So it's just, two, three, four... it's only about a 33-step process?
PAT: It's not that bad. It's --
GLENN: We have an attorney on with us tonight.
PAT: It's that easy.
GLENN: We have a guy who does this, helps people with the process. And they will say, have you ever applied for a license before, a state license before. Well, you're registering for a handgun. If you say no, well, then you have to start the entire process all over because they will say, "You don't have a driver's license?"
GLENN: I mean, it is gotcha every step of the way.
PAT: And it is 23 steps total waste of time, six to twelve months. Money spent, $500 to $1,000.
GLENN: It's crazy.
PAT: I mean, you basically can't get one.
GLENN: So Alan, what happens if you lose this case?
GURA: Well, if we lose this case, you know, then people don't have Second Amendment rights really outside of Washington, D.C.
GLENN: So wait, wait. That means only in Washington could you have a gun because the local governments could regulate.
GURA: That's right. If we lose this case, that is, if the court says that the Second Amendment did not apply to the states, then, you know, New York and Chicago can go ahead and take your guns away. I don't think that's going to happen, though. I mean, I do believe, I'm quite confident that given what the Supreme Court has said about the Second Amendment and Heller, it's all but -- it's highly likely that they're going to find that this is the kind of right that states and local governments have to obey.
PAT: The amazing thing, though, the amazing thing, though, Alan, is that since Chicago has had this gun ban, the unbelievably, unbelievably low homicide rate in Chicago. It's almost -- I mean, nobody ever gets killed there.
GLENN: It's nonexistent.
PAT: It almost doesn't exist.
GLENN: Well, unless they are using guns that have been thrown away.
GLENN: What -- Alan, help me out with this argument: All of the amendments to the Constitution, all the -- the Bill of Rights, that was a promise to the states: Look, as a federal government we will never do these things. For instance, freedom of religion. They had freedom of religion. The federal government said we wouldn't do it. But I believe it was Massachusetts or Connecticut had a state religion. So why can't the states go their own way? Why do they have to be slaves to the federal rules?
GURA: Well, because we fought the Civil War and afterwards we discovered that just because people are American citizens and the federal government respects their life doesn't mean that they won't be tortured, killed, subject to all kinds of terroristic violence. I mean, the experience and the reconstruction South was enough to convince Americans at the time to ratify the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, and the Fourteenth Amendment is every bit as good as every other part of the Constitution and the says that states cannot make or enforce any law that abridges upon the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States. And what that was understood to mean at the time and plainly means was that states had to respect at a minimum the Bill of Rights as well as other sort of natural rights that people have always understood since the beginning of time that we all possess. The Supreme Court has not always been great about that, but over the years using at least the due process clause, the Supreme Court has found in case after case that just about every single right that you have in the Bill of Rights has to be respected by the state and local government as well. I mean, it wouldn't do you any good to exercise your First Amendment right to sell your book if Massachusetts, New York and Chicago banned your book.
GLENN: Well, that's --
GURA: You know, that's where it's most needed.
GLENN: That could be coming. Alan, I appreciate it. We'll talk to you tonight.
GURA: Fantastic. Looking forward to it.
GLENN: You bet. That's Alan Gura. The breaking news now is the Supreme Court has decided to hear the Chicago gun ban case, and Alan will be arguing that.