Another unlikely voice has jumped into the ongoing debate about guns. While many of those who want to see “assault-style weapons” banned outright often times aren’t able to defend their positions regarding the civilian disarmament, this voice can. He’s a former Supreme Court justice, and a Republican, and is calling for a repeal of the Second Amendment.
Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens wants the Second Amendment repealed. In a new op-ed published by The New York Times, he claims the right to bear arms is outdated and misunderstood.
Taking on the issue of certain types of guns, he claims, is more short sighted than overhauling the entire philosophy of The Second Amendment. Why now? Because of all the perceived popular support.
“That support is a clear sign to lawmakers to enact 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,” Stevens wrote.
“But the demonstrators should seek more effective and more lasting reform,” he continued. “They should demand a repeal of the Second Amendment.”
The support he’s referring to was seen this past weekend, when thousands rallied in cities across the country to demand an end to gun violence. The March for Our Lives rallies are part of the continuing protests that originated, most recently, with the shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida.
Stevens, like many others who have attempted to interpret the 18th century text of the Second Amendment, believes that the document is meant to cover the existence of militias, and not guns.
Stevens wants an all-out repeal. “That simple but dramatic action would move Saturday’s marchers closer to their objective than any other possible reform,” Stevens opined.
Others see the matter differently, of course. The existence of the First and Second amendments is one defining aspect of American identity. The concept stretches back to the very origins of the nation.
Consider Noah Webster, famed lexicographer and scholar. Here’s his take from “An Examination of the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution,” written in 1787: “Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed, as they are in almost every country in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops.”
This view might have resonated with Stevens in the past. Not long ago, he called for a revision of the Second Amendment. He wanted five words to be added. “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms when serving in the Militia shall not be infringed.”
Not anymore, though. Stevens thinks we’re past that.
As for the New York Times, they’re fully informed on this fight. Consider the image above, which they caption: “A rifle from the 18th century, when the Second Amendment was written, and an assault rifle of today.”