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Retired Justice Stevens: Repeal the 2nd Amendment

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John Beagle View Drop Down
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    Posted: Mar 27 2018 at 12:27pm
Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens is calling for the repeal of the 2nd Amendment to allow for significant gun control legislation.



The 97-year-old Stevens says in an essay on The New York Times website that repeal would weaken the National Rifle Assn.'s ability to "block constructive gun control legislation."

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by John Paul Stevens

Rarely in my lifetime have I seen the type of civic engagement schoolchildren and their supporters demonstrated in Washington and other major cities throughout the country this past Saturday. These demonstrations demand our respect. They reveal the broad public support for legislation to minimize the risk of mass killings of schoolchildren and others in our society.

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. But the demonstrators should seek more effective and more lasting reform. They should demand a repeal of the Second Amendment.

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.

For over 200 years after the adoption of the Second Amendment, it was uniformly understood as not placing any limit on either federal or state authority to enact gun control legislation. In 1939 the Supreme Court unanimously held that Congress could prohibit the possession of a sawed-off shotgun because that weapon had no reasonable relation to the preservation or efficiency of a “well regulated militia.”

During the years when Warren Burger was our chief justice, from 1969 to 1986, no judge, federal or state, as far as I am aware, expressed any doubt as to the limited coverage of that amendment. When organizations like the National Rifle Association disagreed with that position and began their campaign claiming that federal regulation of firearms curtailed Second Amendment rights, Chief Justice Burger publicly characterized the N.R.A. as perpetrating “one of the greatest pieces of fraud, I repeat the word fraud, on the American public by special interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime.”

In 2008, the Supreme Court overturned Chief Justice Burger’s and others’ long-settled understanding of the Second Amendment’s limited reach by ruling, in District of Columbia v. Heller, that there was an individual right to bear arms. I was among the four dissenters.

That decision — which I remain convinced was wrong and certainly was debatable — has provided the N.R.A. with a propaganda weapon of immense power. 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.

That simple but dramatic action would move Saturday’s marchers closer to their objective than any other possible reform. It would eliminate the only legal rule that protects sellers of firearms in the United States — unlike every other market in the world. It would make our schoolchildren safer than they have been since 2008 and honor the memories of the many, indeed far too many, victims of recent gun violence.

John Paul Stevens is a retired liberal associate justice of the United States Supreme Court.
The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.
-Joseph Campbell
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zapp2525 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote zapp2525 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 27 2018 at 1:37pm
Crazy we actually have people marching for less rights in this country 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Houndog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 28 2018 at 7:25pm
I never saw one single march. 
 And yet the Fourth Amendment was obliterated as if it never existed. 


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Too Many Hobbies Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 06 2018 at 6:09am
Glad he retired. Now he should keep his mouth shut.
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