Emerson Case Being Appealed to the Supreme Court

December 6, 2001

Dear Second Amendment Supporters,

    On Friday, November 30th the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected both of Dr.  Emerson's motions for rehearings. This leaves an appeal to the United States Supreme Court as the only option for Dr.  Emerson.  Attorneys David Guinn and Aaron Clements are working on drafting the Appeal. This appeal is necessary because while the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals clearly and articulately held that the Second Amendment is an individual right, Dr.  Emerson is still facing federal felony charges because of an anti-gun rights prosecutor. The importance of a U.S.  Supreme Court victory cannot be overstated. Such a decision is crucial to destroy the "collective rights" myth perpetrated by every gun control group and many courts without any historical analysis of the Second Amendment or its placement in the Bill of Rights. If the Second Amendment is affirmed by the highest Court as an individual right, AND the federal gun law is overturned as in the District Court decision, many other draconian gun laws could likely be ruled unconstitutional.  This includes sweeping gun bans, excessive bureaucratic red tape, and arbitrary and capricious discrimination in denying licenses to name but a few of many current abuses.  A victory for the individual interpretation would be especially helpful for those people living in places like California, New York, New Jersey, Washington, D.C.  and Chicago.

    In truth, while a Fifth Circuit victory would have been helpful, it would only be binding in the states of Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi.  A U.S.  Supreme Court victory for Dr.  Emerson would force all the lower courts throughout the country to recognize the Second Amendment as an individual right in future cases. But with this appeal comes risk.  If the Supreme Court decides to take this case, the Supreme Court will write its own opinion regarding the Second Amendment.  And since Dr.  Emerson is appealing the decision to prevent further prosecution, it is our obligation to make sure that the gains we have made are retained in any further decisions, and hopefully they will be strengthened. To conduct a proper defense, Dr.  Emerson's attorneys need funds immediately.  The Second Amendment Foundation's Emerson Defense Fund and its supporters: the Fifty Caliber Shooters Policy Institute, the Washington Arms Collectors, and KeepAndBearArms.com have provided nearly $15,000 to Dr.  Emerson's Defense already. Thank you to all who have contributed to the Emerson Defense Fund.

    But more is needed because the appeal to the U.S.  Supreme Court is our best and only shot.  I honestly can't think of another Second Amendment case in the country that could reach the U.S.  Supreme Court in the near future that could be seen as favorably as the Emerson case. Emerson is literally the most important Second Amendment case in over a half century.  And if we lose this appeal, then the gun grabbers will unleash the mother-of-all gun control proposals.  Without the fear of the Second Amendment, their real agenda will be revealed once again -- gun bans!

    Please help us today, as the appeal must be filed within 90 days from the Fifth Circuits Denial and the clock is ticking.  Funding for the appeal must begin right now. The SAF Emerson Defense Fund is tax-deductible and your contributions will help defend your rights of firearms ownership for you, your children and your grandchildren.  Please give $1000, $500 or $100, $50, $25 or whatever you can afford to this crucial effort.  This case is too important to lose for lack of funding. I repeat, the entire Emerson decision upholding the Second Amendment as an individual right is at risk in this appeal.  Whether we win or lose could rest on how much people contribute to this worthy cause.

Please contribute on-line today via our secure server here:


Or, please call 425-454-7012 to make a donation over the phone during Pacific Time Business Hours with your credit card, or send your check of money order made out to SAF Emerson Defense to the following address:

SAF Emerson Defense 12500 NE 10th Place Bellevue, WA 98005

Or, you can fax a credit card donation to 425-451-3959.

Please give today, as the rights you save may be your own.


Dave LaCourse SAF Legal Affairs Director

P.S.  Please give today, as we must make sure that Dr.  Emerson's attorneys have the support they need.  Please review the press release below for more details.  Thanks for your time.

SECOND AMENDMENT FOUNDATION LAUNCHES THE EMERSON DEFENSE FUND For Immediate Release: Contact: Alan Gottlieb (425) 454-7012

    BELLEVUE, WA - The Second Amendment Foundation has launched a defense fund to assist Dr.  Timothy Joe Emerson in these continuing appeals. The move is to help preserve the stunning 5th Circuit Court of Appeals decision upholding the Second Amendment to the U.S.  Constitution as an individual right. "The Emerson decision was a huge victory for all law-abiding gun owners as we finally established in a very thorough and well-researched opinion that the Second Amendment is an individual right," stated Alan Gottlieb, Founder of the Second Amendment Foundation.  "Now we must fight to preserve this win in appeals and hopefully even build on the decision to make it even stronger." Because the court's decision in U.S.  v Emerson was to reverse and remand a lower court ruling that cleared Dr.  Timothy Joe Emerson of a federal violation of the 1994 Domestic Violence Act, Dr.  Emerson's attorneys David Guinn and Aaron Clements will be appealing the portion of the decision which would force Dr.  Emerson to endure a trial for a boilerplate civil divorce court restraining order that ended with the finalization of the divorce. "Continuing to prosecute Dr.  Emerson for a long-since expired order is unfair and just plain wrong since Dr.  Emerson has been cleared of all domestic violence related charges in state court by a jury of 9 women and 3 men in less than an hour of deliberations," reminded Gottlieb. "Until the government agrees to drop the simple possession of a firearm while subject to a civil divorce court order, both Dr.  Emerson and the Second Amendment remain at risk." "I call on all the other national, state and local gun owner civil rights groups to join with the Second Amendment Foundation in funding this all-important legal battle," added Gottlieb. In the Emerson appeal decision, the 5th Circuit clearly ruled that the Second Amendment guarantees the right of an individual citizen to keep and bear private arms, "regardless of whether the particular individual is then actually a member of the militia."

    Writing for the majority, Judge William Garwood noted that the government's long-standing interpretation of the 1939 Miller case, that the Second Amendment merely expresses a "collective right" is not supported by the actual Miller decision. "The wisdom of this decision must be preserved," said Gottlieb.  "As a leader in firearm owner civil rights defense, the Second Amendment Foundation is very proud to be working closely with Dr.  Emerson's attorneys to protect the Second Amendment and hopefully end this nightmare for Dr.  Emerson once and for all." The Second Amendment Foundation is the nation's oldest and largest tax-exempt education, research and legal action group focusing on the Constitutional right and heritage to privately own and possess firearms.  SAF previously has funded successful firearms-related suits against the cities of Los Angeles, New Haven, CT, and San Francisco on behalf of American gun owners.  Current projects include a damage action lawsuit against the cities suing gun makers, an amicus brief in support of the Emerson case holding that the Second Amendment is an individual right, a lawsuit against the Clinton gun and magazine ban and a lawsuit in Cincinnati supporting the right of self-defense carry of firearms. Please visit the best Emerson webpage at http://www.saf.org.