Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens has called for the repeal of the Second Amendment as a way to give Saturday’s anti-gun marchers what they demanded.
In an op-ed published by The New York Times, Stevens excoriated the National Rifle Association. He said anti-gun marchers’ demands represent “broad public support” for gun control.
Stevens called for “legislation prohibiting civilian ownership of semiautomatic weapons, increasing the minimum age to buy a gun from 18 to 21 years old, and establishing more comprehensive background checks on all purchasers of firearms.”
But Stevens said the effort should go further and anti-gun activists “should demand a repeal of the Second Amendment.”
Left: You guys are NUTS if you think we want to take your guns.
Also the Left: pic.twitter.com/gE5nR0JluU
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) March 27, 2018
Stevens demeaned the framers who wrote the Second Amendment by saying times have changed since the amendment was adopted as part of the Bill of Rights.
“Concern that a national standing army might pose a threat to the security of the separate states led to the adoption of that amendment, which provides that ‘a well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.’ Today that concern is a relic of the 18th century,” he wrote.
In the landmark 2008 case of District of Columbia vs. Heller, Stevens expounded upon his views that the Second Amendment did not create a national right to self-defense. In that case, Stevens was on the losing end of a 5-4 court majority that quashed a D.C. law banning handguns.
“Neither the text of the Amendment nor the arguments advanced by its proponents evidenced the slightest interest in limiting any legislature’s authority to regulate private civilian uses of firearms. Specifically, there is no indication that the Framers of the Amendment intended to enshrine the common-law right of self-defense in the Constitution,” Stevens wrote at the time in his dissenting opinion.
“Until today, it has been understood that legislatures may regulate the civilian use and misuse of firearms so long as they do not interfere with the preservation of a well-regulated militia. The Court’s announcement of a new constitutional right to own and use firearms for private purposes upsets that settled understanding,” he added in his 2008 dissent.
In his op-ed, Stevens said that the Heller ruling “has provided the N.R.A. with a propaganda weapon of immense power.”
Repealing the Second Amendment would create a new legislative landscape, he wrote.
“Overturning that decision via a constitutional amendment to get rid of the Second Amendment would be simple and would do more to weaken the N.R.A.’s ability to stymie legislative debate and block constructive gun control legislation than any other available option,” Stevens wrote.
I admire Justice Stevens but his supposedly “simple but dramatic” step of repealing the 2d Am is AWFUL advice. The obstacle to strong gun laws is political, not legal. Urging a politically impossible effort just strengthens opponents of achievable reform.https://t.co/7VzMGXCYeV
— Laurence Tribe (@tribelaw) March 27, 2018
This is SCARY folks, retired SUPREME COURT JUSTICE John Paul Stevens is actively lobbying to repeal the Second Amendment.
Remember this the next time a liberal tries to tell you they only want "common sense gun reform". It's a lie. This is their true goal.
— Momma Bear 🇺🇸🏳️🌈 (@M0mBear) March 27, 2018
The NRA responded to the retired justice’s attack on gun rights, according to CNN.
“The 97-year-old retired justice has long held the opinion that American citizens do not have the individual right to own a firearm for self-protection,” said Chris Cox, the executive director of the NRA’s lobbying group.
Cox portrayed Stevens as out of touch with most Americans, who, he said, “believe in the Second Amendment right to self-protection and we will unapologetically continue to fight to protect this fundamental freedom.”
Cox said that the comments by Stevens were a significant indication of the end game of anti-gun activists.
“Emboldened by the mainstream media, the gun-control lobby is no longer distancing themselves from the radical idea of repealing the Second Amendment and banning all firearms.”
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