So how does he fit into the ‘gun lobby’?

Citizen disarmament advocates like to claim that the reason their agenda seems to experience rather a lot more defeats than victories is a well-funded “gun lobby,” that buys off legislators in order to protect gun industry profits. Never mind that membership in gun rights advocacy groups totals well into the millions–millions of people who make no profit from the manufacture and sale of firearms (and in fact spend quite a lot of money on guns). Never mind the legions of unpaid bloggers whose tireless advocacy of the right to keep and bear arms comes without a penny of compensation (how many unpaid anti-rights bloggers are out there?). Never mind the vast sums of money being dumped into the laps of the civilian disarmament advocates (although they don’t seem to be managing that money all that well). Never mind any of that–don’t confuse the issue with facts.

I can’t help but wonder, though, how Robert Levy fits into this view. The driving force behind the most significant Second Amendment case in decades (actually, it could easily end up being the most significant ever) has, according to the New York Times, never owned a gun, and is not particularly interested in them. If he has any financial ties to the gun industry, no one seems to have found them (and I don’t for a minute imagine that no one has looked for such a connection).

Levy bankrolled this Second Amendment advocacy endeavor with his own money, not as what is so contemptuously labeled a “gun nut,” but as a “rights nut” (I, by the way, consider myself to be both kinds of “nut”).

Mr. Levy, who said he is “not particularly interested in guns,” pursued the case to vindicate his libertarian principles.

“Free markets,” he said, ticking off his basic beliefs. “Private property. Individual rights. And most of all, strictly limited government in accordance with the constitutional structure the framers established.”

Furthermore, Levy makes it very clear that the “gun lobby” is not behind this endeavor.

Along with carefully selecting the plaintiffs, the lawyers working with Mr. Levy shaped their case in a second way, consciously keeping their distance from some groups that support gun rights.

“We didn’t want this case pictured as another case sponsored by the usual suspects, which is to say the gun community,” Mr. Levy said. “Basically we wanted this to be a grass-roots public interest case, so I decided to fund it.”

In fact, the NRA (almost universally, but incorrectly, considered to be synonymous with the “gun lobby”) was perhpas the biggest obstacle to the advancement of this case.

The road to the Supreme Court has been a bumpy one, Mr. Levy said, thanks mostly to the National Rifle Association.

“The N.R.A.’s interference in this process set us back and almost killed the case,” he said. “It was a very acrimonious relationship.”

“Their thinking was,” Mr. Levy said, “‘good case, might win in the appellate court but it could be a problem if it reaches the Supreme Court.’”

Wayne LaPierre, the N.R.A.’s chief executive officer, largely confirmed that characterization. “There was a real dispute on our side among the constitutional scholars about whether there was a majority of justices on the Supreme Court who would support the Constitution as written,” Mr. LaPierre said.

Face it, citizen disarmament advocates–your enemy isn’t the “gun lobby”–it’s the People (and I don’t mean the National Guard).

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