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The battle lines are solidifying in advance of the historic Supreme Court argument March 18 on the meaning of the Second Amendment. The first wave of what may be a total of 40 amicus briefs in favor of gun rights went to the Supreme Court last week in the case District of Columbia v. Heller. About half that number were filed last month supporting the District’s strict handgun ban. “The Court didn’t want to hear this issue for so long, so it’s exciting,” says Fairfax, Va., solo practitioner Stephen Halbrook, who authored a pro-gun rights brief filed Friday for 55 senators and 250 House members. Halbrook, a longtime Second Amendment scholar and advocate who has represented the National Rifle Association in the past, got the assignment from Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas). She announced the brief at a Heritage Foundation speech, where she also offered the Texas definition of gun control: “using both hands.” But the brief does not rule out all regulation. The briefing also settled a lingering question over who will argue for the pro-gun-rights side. Cato Institute scholar Robert Levy, who bankrolled the litigation, dashed suggestions that novice Alan Gura of the D.C. and Virginia firm Gura & Possessky should step aside in favor of a veteran. “It won’t happen,” said Levy. Also chiming in with a brief was Pink Pistols, a group of gay and lesbian gun enthusiasts who say firearms ward off hate crimes. A group of retired military officers filed a brief authored by Greenberg Traurig’s Robert Charrow. It argues that bans like the District’s hamper the national defense by reducing the number of recruits who are already familiar with firearms. Interestingly, it echoes a 2003 pro-affirmative-action brief Charrow co-wrote, which asserted that the military needs racially diverse recruits.
Tony Mauro can be contacted at [email protected].

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