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Progressive Dementia: Claiming Kopel Doesn’t Know Gun Laws

RGN Montpelier '07 I normally don’t get into the pit with mudwrestlers, but the gob of muck that flew past my desk today was too rich to ignore.

One of Colorado’s lefty pressure groups is claiming that II’s Research Director Dave Kopel fed the 2013 Colorado legislature false information on gun bills. II’s “credibility . . . has been permanently damaged,” the author opined. (You can almost hear the suppressed giggle.) The author also encompassed Kopel’s title in quotation marks, just like any other junior high schooler might do.

But more than the juvenality, the core of this assertion is its towering level of ignorance.

You see, asserting that Kopel doesn’t know his stuff on gun laws is a lot like claiming Einstein didn’t know anything about physics. Or, to put it another way, asserting that the scion of a long-time, highly-respected Colorado lawmaker—and one with his own reputation to protect—would mislead the legislature is like claiming that no one in baseball respects Derek Jeter.

In other words, the only credibility the pressure group damaged was its own.  No doubt it was annoyed by the fact that the relatively liberal editorial writers of the Denver Post showed their respect for Kopel by naming him one of the session’s “winners.”

Now—here’s Dave Kopel’s background. Read it, verify it if you like, and judge for yourself.

His accomplishments begin with graduating from one of the nation’s top law schools and serving as an adjunct law professor himself. Much more impressively, he is, by common consent, one of the leading gun-law scholars on the planet. I think you can make an good case that he is No. 1.

Westlaw is a legal database that lists almost all American scholarly legal articles published since about 1990. Articles of this kind tend to be fairly long, so a law professor who produces an article a year or so is considered as doing fairly well. In that 23 year period, Kopel produced 61.

Some scholars fatten their Westlaw count by failing to write books, since you can write several articles in the time it takes to write a book. But Kopel also has written EIGHTEEN books.

He also has written a fair number of book chapters, which do not get counted in Westlaw. And he’s a regular blogger on Volokh.com, one of the country’s leading constitutional law websites.

His range is astonishing. Although most of his works have been on gun laws and related topics like self-defense, he also has published on a host of other subjects—among them, antitrust, the Constitution’s Commerce Clause, and federalism.

He’s even written an article on hazardous waste. Which suggest this is not the first time he has encountered a nasty case of progressive dementia.

Rob Natelson