There’s been an undercurrent of concern for years that the ultimate objective of the protesters who call for gun control following mass shootings is to disarm America. That is, to take guns away from people, possibly by force.
Now there’s evidence for that fear.
The wave of anti-gun activism since a teen who was not legally allowed to own a weapon shot and killed 17 at a Florida high school escalated Tuesday when former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens called for repeal of the Second Amendment.
The amendment was adopted with the premise that sustaining liberty may require the people to defend themselves from a tyrannical government. The logic was that an armed citizenry was much more difficult to oppress.
In current jurisprudence, there are a multitude of ways that guns can be restricted. But comprehensive bans are not permitted.
Unless Stevens gets his way.
Would a repeal lead to forced confiscation? Searches of homes? Prison for owning or possessing a weapon?
“The demonstrators should seek more effective and more lasting reform,” Stevens contends in a op-ed published by the New York Times. “They should demand a repeal of the Second Amendment.”
He praises the “civic engagement” of schoolchildren protesting violence.
The protests, largely coordinated by gun-control advocates, “demand our respect,” he claims.
“They reveal the broad public support for legislation to minimize the risk of mass killings of schoolchildren and others in our society.”
He doesn’t mention the fact that independent analysts have estimated the size of the Washington protest was about 200,000 people, far short of the 850,000 that coordinators claimed.
Stevens, 97, served on the high court until 2010.
He writes: “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.'”
But the concept of a militia, he charges, “is a relic of the 18th century.”
He cites a progression of gun restrictions, including the 1939 decision that Congress could prohibit the possession of a sawed-off shotgun.
He claims judges for decades understood that the amendment was “limited.”
He blames the National Rifle Association for codifying the individual right to bear arms in the 2008 case District of Columbia v. Heller.
The ruling, he says, “provided the NRA 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,” says Stevens.
“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,” he says.
Stevens’ comments prompted widespread questioning of his thinking.
“Honestly, it’s not all that shocking to see that kind of drivel on the New York Times opinion page,” wrote Twitchy, which monitors social media trends. “What is disturbing is that this time, it’s coming from someone whose job was to uphold the Constitution. Which, as it happens, contains the Second Amendment.”
Another commenter suggested, “Remember when they said that nobody is looking to take your guns … well here is another subtle reminder that yes they ARE looking to take your guns.”
Which brought Twitchy’s comment: “Yeah … it’s not subtle. Not even a little bit.”
Another described Stevens’ views as “not … very well thought out.”
National Public Radio noted his op-ed “lit up Twitter and social media.”
“At least one of the Parkland high school students, Cameron Kasky, reacted to Steven’s op-ed arguing it was ‘very interesting considering who wrote it,’ but I don’t feel the same way,'” NPR reported.
NPR said that while Stevens “claimed such an action would ‘be simple,’ it likely would be anything but. Amending the Constitution requires securing two-thirds majorities in both the House and the Senate – and then three-fourths of the states would have to ratify the amendment.”