March 27 (UPI) — Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens weighed in on gun violence in the United States Tuesday, by calling for the end of the Second Amendment — the guaranteed right to bear arms.
In an op-ed published in The New York Times, Stevens said the students and demonstrators who demonstrated over the weekend should seek a repeal of the controversial constitutional amendment.
“That simple but dramatic action would move Saturday’s marchers closer to their objective than any other possible reform,” Stevens wrote. “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.”
The former justice said the Second Amendment has been misinterpreted for decades and extended beyond its original intent, which was to enable citizens to form militias in the face of potential government tyranny. He said repealing the provision would reduce gun violence.
Stevens — a Republican appointed to the bench by President Gerald Fordwho served from 1975 until his retirement in 2010 — referred to his dissent with the high court’s opinion in District of Columbia v. Heller, a 2008 case that ultimately upheld an individual’s right to possess a firearm for home self-defense.
“That decision — which I remain convinced was wrong and certainly was debatable — has provided the [National Rifle Association] with a propaganda weapon of immense power,” Stevens wrote.
The former justice has received some pushback over his controversial viewpoint.
“You may have been a Supreme Court Justice and I may just be a small voice for freedom but you sir should be ashamed of yourself,” NRA television host Grant Stinchfield said. “Your words and ultimate wish list is a disgrace to America.”
Adam Winkler, a UCLA law professor, argued that such a repeal would do little to change U.S. gun laws, especially in states that are resistant to gun control.
“The Second Amendment is not a barrier to enacting good gun laws,” he wrote. “The NRA is. It’s the politics of guns that control our gun laws, not the law of the Second Amendment.”
The package of directives focuses on enforcing laws already in place and asks states and other federal agencies to help strengthen the firearm purchase background check system.