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An Anti-Gun Pledge for Law Students

An Anti-Gun Pledge for Law Students

It’s the new theater in the messaging war.

Gun control activists have been broadly unsuccessful on the legislative and judicial fronts, forcing them to devise alternative methods of curtailing the Second Amendment rights of Americans. One tactic involves attempting to influence the career trajectory of future lawyers.

A new campaign seeks to persuade law students to pledge never to represent the firearms industry or other pro-gun interests in their future legal practice. It is yet another example of how anti-gun activists are increasingly looking to achieve their ultimate policy ends by undermining the industry itself, as well as attempting to delegitimize the entire culture of responsible gun ownership common to much of American society.

“I Will Not Work For…”

According to an April 27 press release announcing the campaign, new lawyers are “often forced” by their firms to represent “irresponsible” members of the firearms industry. To combat this alleged (and allegedly problematic) state of affairs, gun control activists have begun promoting a pledge among current law students. Its operative language reads as follows:

I will not work for any firm that requires me to advocate on behalf of the gun industry or gun lobby. I will instead prioritize firms that actively fight gun violence and the industry that propagates it.

The campaign thus seeks not only to discourage soon-to-be lawyers from providing legal representation to the firearms industry and other pro-gun interests, but also actively encourages them to attack those interests—to “kneecap” and “put the squeeze on” gun manufacturers, in the words of the left-of-center American Independent. The ultimate objective is as much to make major law firms think twice about taking on pro-gun clients as it is to recruit individual signatories.

The ”Law Student Gun Safety Pledge” is a joint project of the Giffords Law Center and March for Our Lives, two of the most prominent and well-funded gun control activist groups in the country. The 501(c)(3) nonprofit Giffords Law Center and its affiliated 501(c)(4) Giffords raised a combined $20.1 million in 2021, while the 501(c)(4) March for Our Lives Action Fund and its affiliated 501(c)(3) March for Our Lives Foundation raised a combined $5.3 million that same year—though that number presumably includes $1.75 million that the March for Our Lives Foundation transferred to its sister 501(c)(4) arm.

These groups have reportedly held campus events to promote the pledge at some of the country’s most well-known law schools, including UC Berkeley School of Law, Cardozo School of Law (Yeshiva University), CUNY School of Law, Vanderbilt Law School, and Yale Law School. There are plans to expand the campaign to more schools this fall. Giffords Law Center deputy chief counsel David Pucino told the American Independent that the message being conveyed to future lawyers is that not “anyone is entitled to your representation,” most especially those “reprehensible” members of the firearms industry who supposedly “aid and abet the gun violence epidemic.”

The Activist’s Fallback

More broadly, the anti-gun pledge being promoted to America’s law students is illustrative of a couple of themes that are common to many issue advocates, but which have become especially pronounced within the world of gun control activism.

First, when activists are unsuccessful at achieving their goals through traditional legislative and judicial routes—as gun control advocates largely have been—many turn to alternative means that they hope will ultimately achieve their desired ends. This has manifested itself in a multi-pronged attack on the firearms industry itself, with the rationale apparently being that if actual legal constraints on gun ownership are frequently a political and/or constitutional non-starter, practical commercial constraints would be the next-best thing. It’s cynical and rather undemocratic, but to a dyed-in-the-wool activist it can seem rational.

The anti-gun pledge—and its hoped-for impact on law firm clientele—can also be viewed as part of a broader effort to delegitimize firearms within American cultural and business life by painting pro-gun interests as categorically unworthy of mainstream legal representation. It’s the new theater in the messaging war. Such societal “de-normalization” is the true long-term prerequisite to achieving the comprehensive gun control desired by many of today’s activists.

To learn more about gun control advocacy, please see the Capital Research Center’s recent reports on its landscapefunders, and policies.


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“I will happily defend cartels, child rapists and sadistic serial killers. But, not anyone involved in the gun business.”

    herm2416 in reply to MattMusson. | June 22, 2023 at 11:30 am

    The “icky” gun business.

    CommoChief in reply to MattMusson. | June 22, 2023 at 12:05 pm

    Every defendant is entitled to representation which remains an extremely important part of our judicial process; innocent until proven guilty. The prosecution is forced to overcome the presumption of innocence by clear and convincing evidence which eliminates reasonable doubt.

      alaskabob in reply to CommoChief. | June 22, 2023 at 12:54 pm

      (chuckle) That is so old fashioned. Who thought that up… some old white men?

        CommoChief in reply to alaskabob. | June 22, 2023 at 5:00 pm

        Meh, If y’all want to play Queen of Heart Justice ‘first the verdict then the trial’ with your own legal engagements by all means have at it but I’ll stick to:
        1. Presumption of innocence
        2. Right to counsel
        3. Right to face and question accuser
        4. Right to a Jury

        Along with 4th, 5th and 14th amendment protections among others. The founders had their act together for the most part, so did the rest of the Nation until about the time of Woodrow Wilson. That pretty well marks the beginning of the decline in our individual liberties.

    guyjones in reply to MattMusson. | June 22, 2023 at 8:00 pm

    Don’t forget about Muslim supremacists/terrorists.

inspectorudy | June 22, 2023 at 11:12 am

I wonder if they will do the same for the automobile industry? Or abortion mills? How does manufacturing a product propagate it? I was taught that the market decided what was wanted by the public and if you made a product that was not wanted, you went out of business. Bud Lite?

    alaskabob in reply to inspectorudy. | June 22, 2023 at 11:44 am

    I see this expanded to every issue. Unless you absolutely know your lawyer, how do you know if you aren’t being railroaded with the help of “your” lawyer.? There is “settled science” and now “settled law”… Soviet/CCP style. From “defenders of the law” to “enforcers of the law”.

      henrybowman in reply to alaskabob. | June 22, 2023 at 6:45 pm

      You should shop for a lawyer the same way you shop for any other professional. It’s not always intuitive how you do it, but I find it helps to contact an affinity group that specializes in your particular problem, like divorced dads, or landlords, or gun owners, and ask them for recommendations. If they’re a reputable group, they’ll steer you to a reputable practitioner.

    Martin in reply to inspectorudy. | June 22, 2023 at 12:21 pm

    It is a short step from not defending to bringing frivolous suits against gun manufacturers and owners.

    JohnSmith100 in reply to inspectorudy. | June 22, 2023 at 3:53 pm

    Guns are selling like crazy, there must be a reason for that.

    MattMusson in reply to inspectorudy. | June 22, 2023 at 3:56 pm

    Look for the next target to be Christian Churches.

“We will not follow the Bill of Rights.”

Sounds like a conspiracy to deny someone their Constitutional rights.

    Paul in reply to Voyager. | June 22, 2023 at 11:46 am

    Sure, why not conspire to violate the 2nd Amendment? They’ve been conspiring to violate the 1st for years now with no real repercussions.

      Not just the 2nd. Also the right to Counsel, as enshrined in the 6th.

      But when someone attacks 10% of the Bill of Rights, it’s safe to assume they feel similarly about the other 90%.

      amatuerwrangler in reply to Paul. | June 22, 2023 at 1:48 pm

      Sounds like the 6th will take a beating here, too.

I want the same tools Law Enforcement uses to protect a politician’s family so that I can protect mine.

Let me know ANY politician tells THEIR protective detail to not use firearms.

I remember a yard sign.
Out of respect for my neighbors belief that no one should own a firearm, I pledge not to assist him with home invasions or robberies.

    DaveGinOly in reply to 1073. | June 22, 2023 at 12:00 pm

    I was once a member of, and ride leader for, a local bicycle club. One woman discovered that I always carried a handgun (a Walther PPS, in my hydration pack) and she made it clear she did not approve. Seeing she was so opposed to the private ownership and use of firearms, I promised her that if she were set upon during a ride (we sometimes had serious problems with aggressive dogs) that I wouldn’t come to her assistance with my gun, and that I would likely not care to expose myself to unnecessary danger, so would be unlikely to come to her assistance at all. She became even more upset! Probably because she realized I was stone-cold serious.

This is a great opportunity for Hunter to go on a speaking tour to these law schools to express how strongly the Biden Admin is anti-gun. He is a true example of the terrible penalty paid for gun offences.

Fat_Freddys_Cat | June 22, 2023 at 11:53 am

No doubt the pledge will be extended to include individuals who defend themselves with firearms. The Left has a deep hatred of self defense.

Halcyon Daze | June 22, 2023 at 11:55 am

The problem with violence is the act, not the hardware.

    DaveGinOly in reply to Halcyon Daze. | June 22, 2023 at 12:02 pm

    “Gun violence” will never be properly addressed until those concerned with it realize that “gun” is an adjective and “violence” is the noun.

    I saw a great meme the other day. The text read: A rock in bad hands killed Abel. A rock in good hands killed Goliath. It’s not about the rock.

    Or another on the same theme: Good thing God didn’t ban rocks after Cain killed Abel. Otherwise David would have been defenseless against Goliath.

As a now-retired lawyer, I feel I can safely say that almost no attorney would take this pledge, because the very profession encourages doing anything for money. For a humorous look at this, I refer you to the movie “Thank You For Smoking”.

    Paul in reply to OldLawman. | June 22, 2023 at 1:02 pm

    Hmmm, five years ago I would probably have agreed with you. Back then, I would have also told you that most doctors would “…first, do no harm.” Today I am shocked with how fast the woke infestation of our professional class has happened.

      JohnSmith100 in reply to Paul. | June 22, 2023 at 4:03 pm

      Doctors who are willing to butcher young people for a quick buck are worse than pedophiles. The deserve the same punishment.

    henrybowman in reply to OldLawman. | June 22, 2023 at 2:19 pm

    Yeah, just like no profit-oriented corporation would indulge in ESG.
    Crazy trumps self-interest every time.

represent “irresponsible” members
That would be determining guilt/innocence beforehand, would it not? And then discriminating on that basis would derive a LOT of people of their right to an attorney.

Also, any lawyers involved with this should be disbarred. Isn’t there a standard ethics rule that you will represent your client, no matter what, to the best of your ability? And that you’re supposed to generally take cases based on the facts of the case, not your comfort level with the ickiness of the client? (I’m sure it’s written with more legalese.)

    GWB in reply to GWB. | June 22, 2023 at 12:04 pm

    Also, it seems to be another religious test. Which suggests discrimination, as well as deprivation of civil rights.

      CommoChief in reply to GWB. | June 22, 2023 at 12:16 pm

      It would seem to violate the spirit at minimum of the oath Attorneys take when admitted to practice and likely the various State Bar ethics rules as well. You can restrict your practice to certain areas of competency but if you are a criminal defense attorney and get involuntarily assigned a firearms related self defense case for an indigent defendant by the judge you don’t have a lot of options if he/she insists. Rural counties without a public defender office this is how it works.

      For civil litigation? Maybe if the Attorney is self employed or all the partners agree. As an associate though, try telling the Partners you ain’t gonna work on X kind of litigation and you may not have to b/c they show you the door.

        Ah, but then you’d be free to do pro bono work for all those poor people injured by gun violence! Like those folks shot by police because they wouldn’t let the police arrest them without slinging lead toward them. Social Justice!

          CommoChief in reply to GWB. | June 22, 2023 at 1:10 pm

          They gonna have to out hustle Benjamin Crump to snag the clients and get in line for the potential payout.

    GWB in reply to GWB. | June 22, 2023 at 12:12 pm

    Also, “derive” => “deprive”

    henrybowman in reply to GWB. | June 22, 2023 at 2:21 pm

    “Isn’t there a standard ethics rule that you will represent your client, no matter what, to the best of your ability?”
    Yes, but there’s no ethics rule that says you have to agree to take on a client.

      guyjones in reply to henrybowman. | June 22, 2023 at 7:58 pm

      The ethical obligations are more nuanced than you suggest. From the Model Rules of Professional Conduct. See the reference to representing unpopular clients.

      “Rule 6.2 Accepting Appointments –

      Public Service
      [1] A lawyer ordinarily is not obliged to accept a client whose character or cause the lawyer regards as repugnant. The lawyer’s freedom to select clients is, however, qualified. All lawyers have a responsibility to assist in providing pro bono publico service. See Rule 6.1. An individual lawyer fulfills this responsibility by accepting a fair share of unpopular matters or indigent or unpopular clients. A lawyer may also be subject to appointment by a court to serve unpopular clients or persons unable to afford legal services.

    Mister Logic in reply to GWB. | June 22, 2023 at 4:16 pm

    “Also, any lawyers involved with this should be disbarred. Isn’t there a standard ethics rule that you will represent your client, no matter what, to the best of your ability?”

    Nothing says as a lawyer that you have to accept representation of any particular client.

      henrybowman in reply to Mister Logic. | June 22, 2023 at 6:58 pm

      This is a hoot. You said exactly what I said, and yet you got an up vote and I got a down vote.

      “26! 83! 431! … Why isn’t anyone laughing?”
      “Some people just don’t know how to tell a joke.”

The moment our 2A right is taken, every single federal gun barrel will be aimed at us.
Make your choice.

    Thing is, most of us who believe in the Bill of Rights, believe our rights do not come from a ~230-year-old piece of parchment.

    They can take away the 2nd Amendment. That doesn’t take away the right to keep and bear arms suitable for self-, home-, community-, or national defense.

    The right predates and exists separately from the parchment.

Louis K. Bonham | June 22, 2023 at 1:04 pm

Any would be lawyer who signs this pledge ought to be reported to the appropriate state bar committees that screens applicants. Stating right up front that you will not represent certain people or industries because you believe they don’t deserve representation ought to disqualify you from sitting for the bar.

thad_the_man | June 22, 2023 at 2:21 pm

These are the people teaching lawqyers. I would sign, then when going for interviews explain the pledge and tell the interviewer that I would be happy to represnt gun cases, but could not do so if they required it.

BierceAmbrose | June 22, 2023 at 2:29 pm

Pledge to whom?

Seems a bit of a breech off ethics to pledge that to the law school, the bar, or the professional association; more so to pledge that to political authorities.

    henrybowman in reply to BierceAmbrose. | June 22, 2023 at 2:35 pm

    “The ”Law Student Gun Safety Pledge” is a joint project of the Giffords Law Center and March for Our Lives, two of the most prominent and well-funded gun control activist groups in the country.”

    Now imagine the joy of being represented in the Senate by the butthole who runs Giffords.

henrybowman | June 22, 2023 at 2:32 pm

Meh. I look at this just like I’d look at a purple and green hairdo.

Any lawyer who would take such a pledge is a dick. You don’t want him representing you in the first place. Would you rather he pretended he was “normal” and sandbagged you in the courtroom, or would you rather see his purple and green hair and recognize him for the poisonous arachnid he is before you get in bed with him?

In point of fact, if you’re fighting a gun rap, you don’t want to go to some storefront Lionel Hutz anyway, even if he’s doing honest work for you. Especially since you probably know more about gu law than he does Every county and state has experienced “gun lawyers” and your state gun association will happily tell you who they are.

    This isn’t (right now) about self-defense cases. It’s about trying to starve gun companies and gun accessory companies of legal representation, so they can sue them without opposition and use lawfare to bankrupt them.

    I think this is a separate avenue of attack from the self-defense stuff. They already have their soldiers who will handle that – all those Soros DAs.

“An Anti-Gun Pledge for Law Students”

Given the title, I was expecting this would be an opportunity for law students to pledge never to own or use a gun.

When I was in law school, I took a seminar on the 2nd Amendment. Prof was pro-constitutional carry. The grade was based on a paper, and I wrote mine on the question of whether the right to keep and bear arms should be considered a civil right. My answer was yes, obviously. But it was interesting to find out that the ACLU wouldn’t touch that particular civil right with a 10-foot-pole.

    But it was interesting to find out that the ACLU wouldn’t touch that particular civil right with a 10-foot-pole.

    Which tells me all I need to know about the ACLU.

    I’ve found that regardless of what they claim, a person’s or group’s stance on the 2nd Amendment is a pretty reliable litmus test for where they really stand on individual freedoms in general. To whit: Do they see peaceable gun owners as productive and responsible members of society, or as violent future criminals who haven’t been caught yet?

    ACLU claims to defend civil liberties (it’s right in the name!). But they have a long history of not touching 2A cases. And then, more recently, they won’t touch 1A, 4A, or 5A cases for the “wrong kind” of client (e.g. white people, conservatives, Christians, cops, etc.), and will sometimes even support the persecution against them.

    None of which was any surprise if you trust the 2A litmus test.

    henrybowman in reply to Othniel. | June 22, 2023 at 7:05 pm

    “I wrote mine on the question of whether the right to keep and bear arms should be considered a civil right. My answer was yes, obviously.”

    Oddly, my answer would be no. The Right to Keep and Bear Arms is a natural right, given by God or inherent by the very fact of your humanity, whichever way floats your boat; and is a classic negative right, meaning that the government is not allowed to suppress it. A civil right, on the other hand, is a non-natural right granted by government, and is often positive, as it requires someone else to do something for you, often without compensation. Voting, for example, is a civil right, because it’s entirely dependent on your form of government, which is artificial to begin with.

Law of supply and demand will take over.

Shinking pool of available, means higher lawyer billings.
We’ll seem how long before lawyers race to fill the gap.

Antifundamentalist | June 22, 2023 at 7:29 pm

This is leftist ideology replacing religion. Might as well demand that they pledge virginity and to never dance.

I submit that this “pledge” is a brazen and blatant violation of one of the basic tenets of attorney ethical practice, as stated in the Model Rules of Professional Conduct. The Rules state quite clearly that unpopular parties and causes are as deserving of competent and zealous legal representation as anyone else.

I’m a little confused here.

The single most high profile breaker of those “common sense” gun laws that anti-gunners scream for just walked on ‘diversion”. Not a damned thing happened to him.

From the Anti-gunners – crickets.

Any student pledging thusly openly declares to be fighting the Constitution and should not be admitted to any bar in the USA.

Real American | June 23, 2023 at 1:43 pm

These anti-gun zealots would probably object to a pledge that they refuse to represent someone accused of an actual gun crime.

Do they have to pledge not to defend those accused of gun crimes, too? Like Mumia Abu Jamal, cop-killer darling of the Left?