The other day, I noticed that the State of Washington was trying to serve a subpoena on a William English, PhD.

I have not noticed professor English’s name before, according to the state, his study was cited in Hartford v. Ferguson. Digging deeper, I find:

The AR-15 is America’s “most popular semi-automatic rifle,” id. at 1287 (Kavanaugh, J., dissenting), and in recent years it has been “the best-selling rifle type in the United States,” Nicholas J. Johnson, Supply Restrictions at the Margins of Heller and the Abortion Analogue, 60 HASTINGS L.J. 1285, 1296 (2009). Today, the number of AR-type rifles and other similar rifles in circulation in the United States exceeds twenty-four million. Commonly Owned: NSSF Announces Over 24 Million MSRS in Circulation, NSSF (July 20, 2022), See also William English, 2021 National Firearms Survey: Updated Analysis Including Types of Firearms Owned (“2021 Survey”), at 1 (May 13, 2022), (finding that an estimated 24.6 million American gun owners have owned AR-15s or similar rifles). In recent years they have been the second-most common type of firearm sold, at approximately 20% of all firearm sales, behind only semiautomatic handguns. See 2021 Firearms Retailer Survey Report at 9, NAT’L SHOOTING SPORTS FOUND., INC. (2021),
Hartford v. Ferguson, No. 3:23-cv-05364 (W.D. Wash.)

So he was cited. That shouldn’t be a big deal. It is a published paper. It says what we all know, that there are a boat load of “evil” semi-automatic firearms out there. Well over 24 Million gun owners that posses AR-15s or similar rifles.

What is it that they want to find out from Professor English, then? Do they doubt his numbers?

  • Documents sufficient to identify all grants or other funding related to the Study.
  • Copies of all documents related to the funding, research, drafting, and/or publication of the Study.
  • Copies of all contracts related to the Study.
  • Copies of all survey materials related to the Study.
  • Copies of all materials used to identify participants for the Study.
  • Copies of all materials related to any efforts to publish the Paper in any publication(s).
  • Copies of all documents related to any communications between you and the Georgetown University Institutional Review Board, related to the Study.
  • Copies of all communications between you and any of the following, related to the Study:
    • Charles R. Flores
    • Daniel N. Nightingale
    • Beck Redden LLP
    • Cooper & Kirk, PLLC
    • Erin Murphy
    • Paul Clement
    • Clement & Murphy, PLLC
    • Brandon Combs
    • Firearms Policy Coalition
    • Center for Human Liberty
#81 Hartford v. Ferguson, No. 3:23-cv-05364 (W.D. Wash.)

The state wants to know who funded the study, what questions were asked, who participated in the study, what was done to get the study published, and what was said to a number of Second Amendment lawyers and groups. I recognize Cooper & Kirk, Erin Murphy, Paul Clement, and Clement & Murphy. They are all big name pro-Second Amendment lawyers.

What they are not, is parties to the case. They are not representing any parties in the case.

It looks like the state intends to impugn Professor English’s study based on his sources of funding or the fact that he actually has communicated with some of these great 2A lawyers.

Why? The state claims that they have to ban “assault weapons” because there are just too many of them, and they are so dangerous. At the same time, they want to claim that they are not in common use.

The more likely reason is that the state is attempting to change the methodology laid out in Bruen.

The first question: Does the proposed conduct touch fingers with the Second Amendment? Yes, the plaintiffs wish to purchase semi-automatic rifles and the state says they can’t. The act of purchasing and possessing a rifle is clearly covered under the scope of the Second Amendment.

If the proposed conduce is within the scope of the Second Amendment, the state has the burden to show a history and tradition of regulations that are analogous to the modern infringement, in both how and why.

If the infringement is an arms ban, then the inferior court does not need to do anything more than determine that there are more than 200,000 of the arms in common use to find the infringement is unconstitutional. That is because in Heller the Supreme Court said that it is unconstitutional to ban arms in common use.

To escape the “in common use” test, the state has to prove that there are less than 200,000 “assault weapons” in use in the United States. Where “use” means possessed.

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By awa

6 thoughts on “Slimy Lawyering?”
  1. That could backfire on them as the majority of ‘studies’ supporting gun control are funded by anti-gun groups and written by long time anti-gun advocates.

  2. Apart from concerns regarding confidentiality of survey respondents, this could take months to assemble. I hope the university has a policy and a team to help handle demands like this. (For one thing, who pays for it getting done? The grants are likely expired. And what are the university’s policies on retaining and safeguarding personal information obtained during studies like this?)
    I realize the Washholes want to discredit and damage him as much as possible to discourage others publishing similar conclusions. But, seriously, anyone want to bet that just PSA’s sales of AR-15 style rifles and lowers, alone, don’t exceed 200k units? The 24M figure would need to be off on the high side by more than two orders of magnitude to make a difference in outcome re “common use.” Even astronomers would consider that wrong.

  3. Bob Ferguson (AKA Side Show Bob, or Bob The Weasel™,) wants to be the next Governor of The Peoples Repubelick of Pugetopia. (I define Pugetopia as a zone containing the area bounded by an imaginary line drawn on a map that is about 25 miles inland from the high tide mark around Puget Sound. The rest of the State is relatively sane, with the exception of places like Spokane.)

    He’s also running scared because he has a ‘magazine’ case against a gun shop in Cowlitz County, and unlike all the previous Washington State 2nd Amendment lawsuits that were filed in Eastern Washington, he was NOT able to get it moved to the much more socialist court system in Thurston County.

    William Kirk of Washington Gun Law explains:


    Just for a glimpse of what type of character Side Show Bob has, take a look at a report by Jason Rantz in Seattle regarding Bobbie trying to basically BUY votes using money from a class action suit payout:

    In short, he’s a real piece of work.

    And it raises a question, is this subpoena even LEGAL?

  4. I just spent 20 minutes doing a bit of research and posting a reply here, and it went ‘poof’!

    Did it get caught by the filters, or just went into the Firefox Bit Bucket Void?

  5. The state seems to impugn and negate the study in an effort to keep it from being considered by the court.
    This isn’t complicated. The state, meaning the communists who infest the state, want us disarmed. And
    ANY tactic, legal or otherwise that serves that agenda is acceptable and will be used.

Only one rule: Don't be a dick.

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