Dave Kopel

David B. Kopel[1] (born January 7, 1960) is an American author, attorney, gun rights advocate, and contributing editor to several publications.

Dave Kopel 1.jpg

He is currently[when?] research director of the Independence Institute in Denver, Colorado, associate policy analyst at the Cato Institute, adjunct professor of advanced constitutional law at Denver University, Sturm College of Law and contributes to the Volokh Conspiracy legal blog. Previously he was adjunct professor of law, New York University, and former assistant attorney general for Colorado.

Kopel is also a life member of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences,[2] and, as of 2010, served on the board of directors of the Colorado Union of Taxpayers.[3]

Early life and educationEdit

Kopel earned a B.A. in history with highest honors from Brown University, and won the National Geographic Society Prize for best history thesis with a biography of Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.[4] He graduated magna cum laude from the University of Michigan Law School. He was also a contributing editor of the Michigan Law Review.

Political views and activismEdit

Politically he is a lifelong registered Democrat but a confessed small government libertarian at heart who voted for Ralph Nader.[5] He voted for Ron Paul in 1988.[6]

Kopel opposes gun control and is a benefactor member of the National Rifle Association. His articles on gun control and gun violence have been cited in the Opposing Viewpoints Series.[7] In 2003, Kopel wrote in National Review "Simply put, if not for gun control, Hitler would not have been able to murder 21 million people."[8] He recently contributed an article to the 59th Volume of the Syracuse Law Review entitled "The Natural Right of Self-Defense: Heller's Lesson for the World."[9] He appeared in FahrenHYPE 9/11, a film that disputes the allegations in Fahrenheit 9/11. Kopel's Independence Institute received 1.42 million dollars of funding for its activities by the National Rifle Association.[10][11]

In 2008, Kopel appeared before the United States Supreme Court as part of the team presenting the defense's oral argument in District of Columbia v. Heller. His Heller amicus brief for a law coalition of law enforcement organizations and district attorneys was cited four times in the Court’s Heller opinions. His brief in McDonald v. Chicago (2010) was cited by Justice Alito’s plurality opinion, and twice by Justice Stevens’ dissent. He has also testified numerous times before Congress and state legislatures, including before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on the Supreme Court nominations of Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor.[12]

Kopel testified on January 30, 2013, or six weeks after the Newtown, Connecticut Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, before the Senate Judiciary Committee on gun violence.[13] One month later MSNBC.com revealed that Kopel and the Independence Institute had received $108,000 in grants from the National Rifle Association's Civil Rights Defense Fund, and that another witness at the Senate Judiciary hearing, David T. Hardy, testifying as a private attorney in Tucson, Arizona, had received $67,500 in grants from the same NRA Civil Rights Defense Fund in 2011.[14]

Kopel was the lead attorney in a May 2013 Federal civil rights lawsuit against the State of Colorado aimed at blocking several "Democratic gun control measures passed by the state legislature and signed into law by Gov. John Hickenlooper" in March 2013.[15]

The Fox News affiliate station in Denver, Fox31, and correspondent Eli Stokols in May 2013 revealed that Kopel had received $1.39 million in grant money from the NRA Civil Rights Defense Fund between 2004 and 2011. Fox31 reported Kopel's NRA funding after the Colorado-based Independence Institute filed suit in Colorado challenging the state's gun laws with Kopel as the lead attorney.[16]

Kopel has authored columns in outlets including The Denver Post, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, and in law review articles including Harvard Law Review, Yale Law Journal, Michigan Law Review, University of Pennsylvania Law Review, SAIS Review, and the Brown Journal of World Affairs.[12]

The New York Times changed Kopel's author ID for the online opinion piece, "Bloomberg’s Gun Control That Goes Too Far for the Average Citizen," on April 18, 2014, to reveal that that Independence Institute, where Kopel is research director, has "received grant money from the National Rifle Association's Civil Rights Defense Fund."[11] On April 24, 2014, The Progressive reported that Kopel and his Independence Institute "have received over $1.42 million including about $175,000 a year over eight years from the NRA."[17]

Books by Kopel[18]Edit

  • The Morality of Self-Defense and Military Action: The Judeo-Christian Tradition. (Praeger, 2017).
  • Rules for State Legislators: Jerry Kopel's Guide (2015). With Jerry Kopel.
  • A Conspiracy Against Obamacare: The Volokh Conspiracy and the Affordable Care Act (Palgrave MacMillan, 2013). Co-authored.
  • The Truth About Gun Control. (Encounter Books, 2013). Reprinted in Saving the Republic: The Fate of Freedom in the Age of the Administrative State. Roger Kimbal, ed. (Encounter Books, Jan. 23, 2018).
  • Truth About Gun Control animation. Animated video from publisher Encounter Books featuring a section of Kopel's book. YouTube.com. 4 minutes. July 11, 2013.
  • Firearms Law and the Second Amendment: Regulation, Rights, and Policy (Aspen Publishers 2012). The first law school textbook on the Second Amendment. With Nicholas J. Johnson, Michael P. O'Shea, and George Mocsary. Supplement online chapters, free to the public: Chapter 12 – Social Science. Chapter 13 – International Law. Chapter 14 – Comparative Law. Podcasts on the book: Chapter 7, A New and Dangerous Century. Chapter 6, Reconstruction and the late 19th Century. Chapter 5, The Early Republic, and the Antebellum Era. Chapter 4, The new Constitution and the Second Amendment. Chapter 3, The Colonies and the Revolution. Chapter 2, Antecedents of the Second Amendment: From Confucius to the British Whigs. Chapter 1, An introduction to firearms laws and firearms function.
  • Aiming for Liberty: The Past, Present, And Future of Freedom and Self-Defense (Merril Press, 2009). Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.
  • The Heller Case: Gun Rights Affirmed! (Bloomfield Press, 2008). With Alan Korwin
  • Supreme Court Gun Cases (Bloomfield Press, 2003). With Alan Korwin and Stephen Halbrook.
  • Gun Control and Gun Rights: A Reader and Guide (New York University Press, 2002). With Andrew McClurg and Brannon Denning. Chapters 1 and 2 (benefits and costs of firearms) are available on SSRN.
  • Antitrust After Microsoft. (Chicago: Heartland Institute, 2001). Summary of the book. Review. Polski/Polish.
  • E se avessimo preso la Columbine seriamente? in Io sparo che me la cavo: Quando essere armati è un diritto. di David Kopel & Carlo Stagnaro. (Leonardo Facco Editore, 2000). Argomenti a favore della libertà di portare armi. (ebook edition 2007).
  • RCRA Demystified: The Professional's Guide to Hazardous Waste Law (Washington: Environmental Law Institute, 1996). An annotated guide to Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. With Linda Rockwood and Kimberly Temple.
  • No More Wacos: What's Wrong with Federal Law Enforcement, and How to Fix It (Buffalo: Prometheus Books, 1997). With Paul Blackman. Winner of the 1997 Thomas S. Szasz Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Cause of Civil Liberties, presented by the Center for Independent Thought.
  • Guns: Who Should Have Them? (Buffalo: Prometheus Books, 1995).
  • The Samurai, the Mountie, and the Cowboy: Should America Adopt the Gun Controls of Other Democracies? (Buffalo: Prometheus Books, 1992). Named 1992 Book of the Year by the American Society of Criminology Division of International Criminology. Review by Nicholas Johnson, Public Interest Law Review. Review by the Foreign Military Studies Office, Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas.
  • Gun Control in Great Britain: Saving Lives or Constricting Liberty? (Chicago: University of Illinois at Chicago, Office of International Criminal Justice, 1992).
  • More Things You Can Do to Protect Your Gun Rights (Merril Press, 1995). With Alan Gottlieb.
  • Things You Can Do to Protect Your Gun Rights (Merril Press, 1993). With Alan Gottlieb.
  • The Highbrow in American Politics: Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. and the Role of the Intellectual in Politics. Honors Thesis in History, Brown University, May 1982. Awarded Highest Honors, and National Geographic Society Prize.
  • And Justice for Some: The Reagan Administration and the Rule of Law in America. Co-author of report issued by the National Organization of Law Students and Professors for Responsible Government, Oct. 1984.


  1. ^ Appearances on C-SPAN
  2. ^ "About". Davekopel.org. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
  3. ^ Hoover, Tim (27 September 2010). "Colorado Union of Taxpayers: We can't count on Republicans". The Denver Post. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
  4. ^ The Highbrow in American Politics: Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. and the Role of the Intellectual in Politics, David B. Kopel, Honors Thesis, May 1982. (available online as a set of PDFs).
  5. ^ Why I’m Voting for Nader Dave Kopel
  6. ^ Kopel, Dave (October 9, 2007). "Ron's Revolution. Could Dr. Paul really surprise us all?". National Review. Retrieved April 1, 2019.
  7. ^ James D Torr, Gun violence : opposing viewpoints Greenhaven Press, 2002 ISBN 0-7377-0712-7
  8. ^ "Hitler's Control". 22 May 2003. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  9. ^ The Natural Right of Self-Defense: Heller's Lesson for the World, SSRN
  10. ^ Smyth, Frank (24 April 2014). "The Times Has Finally (Quietly) Outed an NRA-Funded "Independent" Scholar". Progressive.org. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  11. ^ a b "Bloomberg's Gun Control That Goes Too Far for the Average Citizen". The New York Times. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  12. ^ a b "David Kopel". Sturm College of Law. University of Denver. Retrieved April 1, 2019.
  13. ^ "Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on gun violence on Jan. 30, 2013 (Transcript)". The Washington Post. January 30, 2013. Retrieved April 1, 2019.
  14. ^ Smyth, Frank (February 27, 2013). "Senate witness on weapons ban funded by gun lobby". MSNBC. Retrieved April 1, 2019. (updated September 13, 2013)
  15. ^ Majority of Colorado sheriffs join lawsuit against gun control laws, KDVR News, May 17, 2013.
  16. ^ "NRA money behind lawsuit challenging new Colo. gun control laws," Fox31, by Eli Stokols, May 29, 2013, http://kdvr.com/2013/05/29/nra-money-behind-lawsuit-challenging-new-colo-gun-control-laws/
  17. ^ "The Times Has Finally (Quietly) Outed an NRA-Funded 'Independent” Scholar,'" The Progressive, by Frank Smyth, April 24, 2014, http://progressive.org/dispatches/times-finally-quietly-outed-nra-funded-independent-scholar/
  18. ^ "Kopel Books and Journal Articles". davekopel.org. Retrieved 2019-06-05.

External linksEdit