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Robert A. Levy

Monday, September 1st, 2003

Robert A. Levy of Washington, D.C. is the CCRKBA Gun Rights Defender of the Month Award recipient for September.
  “Bob really is a true-blue believer in the Second Amendment and a truly committed fighter for the individual, civil right of law-abiding Americans to keep and bear arms,” noted CCRKBA Public Affairs Director John Michael Snyder.
 “He has written and argued a great deal for the rights of individuals under the Second Amendment. He is one of the stalwarts among a growing number of lawyers who are bringing about a strong challenge to the unfortunate ‘politically correct’ interpretation of the amendment as applying only to militia membership.
 “Currently, he is leading a direct legal challenge to the outrageous District of Columbia gun law on the ground that it is a violation of the civil rights of law-abiding citizens under the Second Amendment.  He certainly is most deserving of this Award.”
 In a recent speech to a Federalist Society luncheon held at the National Press Club in the Nation’s Capital, Levy referred to the handgun as “the quintessential weapon of self-defense.”
 In the Parker v. District of Columbia lawsuit filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, Levy and co-counsel assert that “plaintiffs are entitled to declaratory relief holding that by maintaining and enforcing a set of laws banning the private ownership and possession of handguns and functional firearms within the home, forbidding otherwise lawful self-usage of arms, and forbidding the movement of a handgun on an individual’s property, defendants are violating the plaintiffs’ individual rights under the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution.”
 Levy joined the Cato Institute in 1997 after 25 years in business. He is an Adjunct Professor at the Georgetown University Law Center, a director of the Institute for Justice, a member of the Board of Visitors of the Federalist Society, and a trustee of the Objectivist Center. He received his Ph.D. in business from the American University in 1966. That year he founded CDA Investment Technologies, Inc., a major provider of financial information and software. 
 Levy was chief executive officer of CDA until 1991. He then earned his Juris Doctor in 1994 from the George Mason University, where he was chief articles editor of the law review. The next two years he clerked for Judge Royce C. Lamberth on the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., and for Judge Douglas H. Ginsburg on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
 “Although Congress and the majority of the state legislatures have resisted enacting draconian gun control laws,” Levy wrote in Cato Policy Analysis No. 400, “the courts are the final bulwark in safeguarding our constitutional right to keep and bear arms. Yet the courts of late have been the scene of unprecedented attacks on that right as gun control advocates have used the judiciary to make an end-run around the legislative process. Meritless litigation brought by elected officials in multiple jurisdictions are just part of a scheme to force gun makers to adopt policies that legislatures have wisely rejected. Moreover, the suits are used by politicians to reward their allies – private attorneys, many of whom are major campaign contributors – with lucrative contingency fee contracts.
 “Meanwhile, many of the same politicians have exploited a few recent tragedies to promote their anti-gun agenda. But gun controls haven’t worked and more controls won’t help. In fact, many of the recommended regulations will make matters worse by stripping law-abiding citizens of their most effective means of self-defense. Violence in America is due not to the availability of guns but to social pathologies – illegitimacy, dysfunctional schools, and drug and alcohol abuse. Historically, more gun laws have gone hand in hand with an explosion of violent crime. Only during the past decade – with vigorous law enforcement, a booming economy, and an older population – have we seen dramatic reductions in violence, coupled with a record number of guns in circulation.”
 Before compromising constitutional rights expressly recognized in the Second Amendment, Levy wrote, “we ought to be sure of three things: first, that we’ve identified the real problem; second, that we’ve pinpointed its cause; and, third, that our remedy is no more extensive than necessary to fix the problem. The spreading litigation against gun makers fails all three tests as do the latest gun control proposals. Guns do not increase violence; they reduce violence. Banning or regulating firearms will not eliminate the underlying pathologies.”