Notes on NRA convention
It was a pretty good one, attendance said to be 40-60,000. I got to meet Bitter, of the Bitch Girls --sorta funny, since she is not bitter at all!
Spent Friday in the legal education seminar, which I'd highly recommend to legal types. It was useful, and I'd rather send my CLE money to NRA than to the state bar anyway. The most interesting part came when a defense attorney discussed the latest NYC "sting" lawsuits. My notes:
It's indeed been assigned to Judge Weinstein. They said he was extremely bright, indeed brilliant, and he has a definite agenda. And does things which sound pretty wacky to me. In one past trial he sat in the jury box. The defense tore the plaintiff's expert to pieces. Sitting in the box, the judge asked the expert questions to rehabilitate him (lawyerese for revive his credibility). Finally, they objected that the judge was leading the witness, and he sustained the objection, still there in the jury box.
In past cases, he'd refused to allow the defense to probe Brady Center's data on tracing -- they were arguing many guns had traced to the dealer in question, which must prove he was dealing with criminals. But in some other city suits they managed to get that discovery, and looked at it closely. They found that only 1 in ten or twelve traces had anything to do with criminal use of a gun. The rest were police tracing because a widow had dropped off her husband's guns because she didn;t know what to do with them, lost guns, guns seized when a DV order was served, etc.
The latest suits focus on nuisance because some states have criminal nuisance statutes and the gun mfr liability act has an exception for criminal conduct. It's a real stretch.
ATF has said they will be investigating every aspect of these "sting" sales (and there were ATF people present who repeated that). This may be bad news for the city, since IF the sales were illegal straw sales, their investigators committed felonies.
One gun was traced TWICE in NYC. The first time was for a crime, so it would have to have been confiscated. Only explanation for how it would later be on the street is that someone in NYC PD is selling seized guns on the street.
NYC suit wants very strange relief, dealers to post a bond for their good behavior, and judge to oversee their training and operations. This would be crazy relief (even if the FFLs in question were in NY, which they aren't), but this is Judge Weinstein. In normal case, there'd be problem with personal jurisdiction. Gun shops aren't in NY, have never sold to anyone in NY.
Other notes--I got a chance to share cigars with former Sheriff and present Director Jay Printz. He'd been over in Iraq as a law enforcement contractor for some months. He said that the present rules allow an Iraqi to keep one gun per home and one per place of business. He mentioned one prime 1911 that a trooper had ... they found a fellow with the 1911 and an ancient pinfire revolver in his house, and the trooper proclaimed the pinfire was the one allowed gun and confiscated the 1911. The sheriff thought that a rather lousy way to win hearts and minds.
Also ran into Susan Hupp Gratia, whose father was killed in the Luby's Massacre, and who speaks on how, if Texas had had liberal CCW back then, she would have had a clear shot at the killer... but it didn't, and so her gun was in the car. She's quite a talker, informally as well as formally, and in the Texas legislature.
Spent time, too, with Alan Corwin, who publishes his own gun law books via www.gunlaws.com. As always, he's full of new ideas.
The members' meeting passed a resolution memorializing David Caplan, and the directors are planning to do the same. Jeff Knox moved a resolution in favor of his late father's plan to change Board elections (instead of 76 directors at large, have 50 from the states and 26 at large). The vote was to pass the matter to the Bylaws and Resolutions Committee.