Let's assume just for the sake of argument that Gura is substandard in orals. Honestly, who cares? To me it seems orals are mostly for show - and/or to telegraph where a court is going on an issue (less likely).
It's the stuff that is written down and argued in the briefings that seem to matter most at the appellate level - which may be why Clarence Thomas doesn't even participate in the orals (made national news when he apparently told/made a joke to another justice during orals a few weeks back).
And on damaging statements by Gura? I'm not sure they were damaging, but we have to understand that we are a very small and somewhat specialized segment of society. I doubt 5% of the US population know who Alan Gura is or could pick him out in a line-up. Probably about the same percentage know what SAF is and what it does.
Gura could make all sorts of irresponsible statements and it wouldn't make a ripple in the media - unless he were saying that the Heller and McDonald opinions were wrong and the SCOTUS should have decided for DC and Chicago.
And what Gura says in the press (or in court) is not evidence to be presented in future cases he litigates.
It is kind of weird that he could be such a pivotal force in an issue which is under such intense discussion and still be a media nobody. I think he should treasure that relative anonymity.
CGN's token life-long teetotaling vegetarian. Not qualified to give any legal opinion so pay attention at your own risk.