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:
—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
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.