I covered a small portion of the University of Minnesota Law Review’s Second Amendment symposium over the weekend, but we’re doing a deeper dive into the symposium and its anti-civil rights slant on today’s Bearing Arms Cam & Co with the Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus’s Bryan Strawswer, who was on hand for most of the symposium’s panel discussions on Friday.
The anti-2A bias wasn’t exactly hidden or a surprise to Strawser. After all, the event was co-sponsored by the Giffords Law Center. While organizers pledged a “balanced scholarly discussion on these issues with a focus on workable solutions that save lives,” Strawser says there wasn’t much balance to be found in the panels he witnessed.
The panel entitled “Bruen: A Year in Review”, for instance, was moderated by one anti-gun activist, with another joining an anti-gun academic on the panel along with two law professors; one opposed to Bruen and one who’s been generally supportive of the Supreme Court’s Second Amendment jurisprudence.
Panel 2 starting now where- we will tweet this one in thread and keep things organized pic.twitter.com/GfQyXHluW0
— MN Gun Owners Caucus (@mnguncaucus) October 27, 2023
Southern Methodist University law professor Eric Ruben has cast considerable shade at the Supreme Court’s decision in Bruen since it was handed down last year, while Fordham University’s Saul Cornell has been the gun control lobby’s favorite historian for decades now (ever since the implosion of Michael Bellesiles’s academic career for his discredited book “Arming America”).
As the MN Gun Owners Caucus shared on social media, Cornell’s scholarship has its own share of critics, including U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez, who recently found numerous faults with Cornell’s testimony in defense of California’s ban on so-called assault weapons.
Saul Cornell, who is speaking next week at the University of Minnesota’s anti-gun symposium (co-sponsored w/ @GIFFORDS_org) – was shredded in today’s decision in California by a federal judge in Miller v. Bonta in several examples.
— MN Gun Owners Caucus (@mnguncaucus) October 19, 2023
Samford University’s Brandon Denning was the lone panelist who pays more than lip service to the fact that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms. Not exactly the “balance” that the symposium’s organizers were touting, in other words.
Strawser wasn’t up on the stage for any of the panel discussions, but he was able to ask a question during an afternoon panel entitled “Gun Violence, Domestic Violence, & Rahimi” that was focused on the upcoming Supreme Court case dealing with the federal statute prohibiting gun possession for those subject to a civil domestic violence restraining order. Strawser says it was a good discussion, but was almost entirely focused on public policy as opposed to the law; an odd divergence given that the Minnesota Law Review was the host of the event.
“I asked a question of this panel, and the way I framed it was ‘I completely agree there’s an issue when you have violent individuals in an intimate relationship who have firearms and they use their firearms. I get it. I want to separate those folks. But your entire discussion here at a legal symposium was about the public policy aspects of this and the data behind it and we all understand that. My question is does Congress actually have the authority to remove an individual’s right to keep and bear arms for a state family court order? Why is that a federal crime?’,” Strawser relayed.
“They all looked at me like I had five heads and said ‘Well, the Commerce Clause allows Congress to do that,” Strawser continued. “They didn’t go into any more detail. They didn’t address any of the previous case law around the Commerce Clause and its intersection with the Second Amendment; the Gun-Free Schools cases or any of the other cases that have come up. It was entirely a public policy discussion. They never really got into the legal aspects of Rahimi.”
Maybe that’s because it’s easier to make a public policy argument against someone like Zachey Rahimi owning a gun than it is to find a legal justification for using a civil court order to prohibit someone from exercising their Second Amendment rights under the history, text, and tradition test outlined by the Court in Bruen.
Strawser had plenty to say about some of the other panels and panelists, including Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison and his use of the University of Minnesota Law School’s Gun Violence Prevention Clinic to bolster his anti-2A efforts. Check out the entire conversation in the video window below, and be sure to follow the great work that the MN Gun Owners Caucus is doing by signing up for their email alerts at GunOwners.mn.