Former Supreme Court Justice: 'Repeal the Second Amendment'

30 March, 2018, 00:39 | Author: Kim Reid
  • Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens Pens Passionate Plea to Repeal Second Amendment

The 97-year-old Stevens, who retired from the court in 2010 after more than 35 years, said in an essay on The New York Times website that repeal would weaken the National Rifle Association's ability to "block constructive gun control legislation".

But Stevens wasn't done.

The former justice went on to argue that the Court's 2008 ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller, of which he was among the four dissenters, was wrong and ought to be overturned through a constitutional amendment.

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In an op-ed written for The New York Times, Justice Stevens said the amendment no longer applies in modern society, and getting rid of it would let Congress and legislatures do more to combat gun violence. But national conversations on gun rights since then have probably shrunk that number, and the Economist/YouGov poll discusses the Second Amendment in the context of guns. It's understandably a controversial idea, but arguably could be a way to repeal the Second Amendment. A lot of them have wished for years that the Second Amendment could be done away with, but it wasn't considered politically safe to say so. If it had meant "the right of well-regulated militias", it would have said that. "How much more challenging would it be to tackle individual gun ownership in a country where so many citizens own guns - and care passionately about their right to do so?"

That's a compelling critique of Second Amendment law. And from a strategic standpoint, they fear that the push for an amendment would only rile up gun supporters, making it more hard to get legislation passed.

"We think that the focus has to remain on removing weapons from risky individuals, not on blocking all Americans from their constitutional rights", Sanders said when asked if Trump had a reaction to Stevens' call for repeal.

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Feinstein is probably correct, as in order for a constitutional amendment to be repealed, it would require a vote by two-thirds of Congress and ratification by three-fourths of the states.

The NRA was the target of attacks during last week's March for Our Lives protest in D.C., where gun control advocates called out lawmakers for accepting donations from the group. Indeed, according to then-Justice Stevens' dissent, the preamble to the Second Amendment "identifies the preservation of the militia as the Amendment's objective".

The Second Amendment has now seemingly come under siege, and some are calling for changes to the Bill of Rights - the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution, ratified in 1791, which guarantee rights such as freedom of speech, assembly and worship - and, notably, the right to bear arms. According to The Washington Post's Christopher Ingraham, advocates have moved away from the term "gun control" in favour of more specific language like "gun violence" and "gun safety".

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In a statement, Graham said he will continue to protect the right to bare arms, not repeal it from the U.S. Constitution.

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