Dave Kopel discussed guns, Taiwan, and FreeColorado.com at the Independence Institute banquet November 13. Listen to the mp3 recording of the interview. A partial transcript follows.
Ari: We’re with Dave Kopel. First of all, congratulations on the Supreme Court gun case.
Dave: Thank you very much.
Ari: I know you did a lot of work on that and a lot of work over many years doing research. Where’s this headed? Do you think the federal Dems will take the lead of Colorado Dems and kind of play hands off on the gun issue, or are you worried about what the federal Dems are going to do on that? I know you’ve written about Obama’s anti-gun stances, but are they really going to do anything or are they going to play hands-off?
Dave: I think even while we fear the worst, we can hope for the best. It’s very unlikely that anti-Second Amendment stuff is going to be the top of the Obama and Democratic Congressional agenda early in 2009, because the economic issues are so much larger right now. But Obama is in his heart probably the most extreme anti-gun president we’ve ever had. So my guess would be, he’ll do like John Howard did in Australia, and various administrations did in the United Kingdom, which is have a very fierce anti-gun agenda ready to go as soon as there’s a terrorist attack or some other infamous crime, and they sense a brief window of public panic when they can try to push something through without the time for reflection.
Ari: Are there already or do you know of upcoming legal challenges based on the Supreme Court’s decision and ruling, which was fairly limited in its application?
Dave: There are a variety of cases going forward. The most important issue is going to be whether the Second Amendment is a limit only on the federal government, or like most of the rest of the Bill of Rights it also limits state and local governments. There have been challenges to the handgun ban in Chicago, challenges to the ban on gun possession in San Francisco’s public housing authority, and a challenge to a local ban on gun shows in Southern California. And any of those cases could be the one which I hope will go the Supreme Court. And while we have a good Supreme Court — before Obama ruins it — I’d like to see a case get up there and have the incorporation issue decided. That is, whether the Second Amendment is incorporated in the Fourteenth Amendment and thereby made applicable to the state and local governments.
Ari: Are you going to continue to play an advisory role in those cases, or is that uncertain at this point?
Dave: I will play every possible role I can to help out…
Ari: Well, again, congratulations on that, and thanks a lot for your tireless efforts.
Dave: It’s another sign of how ideas really do matter. And this has been a long struggle over thirty years to bring the Second Amendment back from its moribund state in law. It was always very strong in the hearts and minds of the American people, but there was a lot of scholarship written over the last thirty years, and I was happy to have played a part in helping with some of that, that has really made the Second Amendment regain its proper role in American life, and as an important part of the Bill of Rights, just like any other.
Ari: Do you have any other projects going right now? I know you’re always writing about something.
Dave: I’ve been doing more and more work on Taiwan issues is recent years, and trying to support the rights of democratic self-determination of the people of the independent nation of Taiwan, which is a target of Chinese imperialist neocolonialism… I want to do what I can to help Taiwan maintain its freedom and independence…
Ari: There’s this strange tension in China, where they still have many totalitarian aspects, but they also have some more market robustness. Do you see one side as gaining force over another, or is it just a hopelessly chaotic mix and the moment? How do you see that as developing over the next decade, say?
Dave: It’s very hard to predict, and it could go either way. But clearly the model that the Chinese dictatorship wants is the one they see in Singapore, which is where you maintain an authoritarian government, at the same time having enough economic freedom to keep the people happy…
Ari: Do you have anything else that I should be reporting on my web page?
Dave. Yeah. Thanks to you and to the Colorado Freedom Report for the great work you’ve been doing for ten years. You have accomplished a great deal single-handed. You’re an important voice in Colorado’s political dialog. And I agree with you about 97 percent of the time, and even on those other three percent, I think you provide an important perspective, and it’s a great blessing for Colorado to have you here. Even though you don’t realize it in your own atheistic way, God’s put you here for a purpose.
Ari: Well, I appreciate that, seriously, Dave. Well, thanks a lot for your time, and we’ll see you next year.
See the collected posts about the Independence Institute’s 2008 banquet.