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Ditch the Second Amendment, says retired Supreme Court Justice

John Paul Stevens' op-ed called on the March for Our Lives demonstrators to demand a repeal.

by Carter Sherman
Mar 27 2018, 1:45pm

Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens says it’s time we ditch the Second Amendment.

In a Tuesday op-ed for the New York Times, Stevens praised Saturday’s massive March for Our Lives demonstrations, calling them a “clear sign to lawmakers” to push for gun control measures like banning semi-automatic weapons and raising the minimum age to buy guns. But, for Stevens, the protesters’ demands don’t go far enough.

“Demonstrators should seek more effective and more lasting reform,” Stevens said. “They should demand a repeal of the Second Amendment.”

Stevens, 97, resigned from the court in 2010 but has remained vocal about his views on gun control. In his 2014 book “Six Amendments,” which he was inspired to write after the 2012 massacre in Newtown, Connecticut that left 26 people dead, Stevens proposed amending the Second Amendment to clarify that individuals do not have a constitutional right to bear arms.

In Stevens’ view, the Second Amendment — which states 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” — doesn’t preclude state or federal governments from limiting access to guns. Plus, he added Tuesday, the need for a militia is “a relic of the 18th century.”

The former justice also took the time in his op-ed to once again blast the landmark 2008 Supreme Court decision that definitively established individuals’ right to bear arms: District of Columbia v. Heller. Stevens dissented from that ruling, which he said Tuesday “provided the NRA with a propaganda weapon of immense power.” The NRA fiercely defends the Second Amendment in its gun-rights rhetoric.

“Overturning that decision via a constitutional amendment to get rid of the Second Amendment would be simple,” Stevens wrote, “and would do more to weaken the NRA’s ability to stymie legislative debate and block constructive gun control legislation than any other available option.”

Cover image: Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens testifies on the ever-increasing amount of money spent on elections as he appears before the Senate Rules Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, April 30, 2014. (AP Photo)