Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens is lending his opinion to the ongoing gun debate.
In an op-ed published in The New York Times, Stevens calls for gun control advocates to demand a repeal of the Second Amendment.
“Demonstrators should seek more effective and more lasting reform. They should demand a repeal of the Second Amendment,” he stated.
Stevens says the nationwide support seen in Saturday’s March for Our Lives should be a “clear sign” lawmakers need to act. The 97-year-old former justice listed three things they could do now:
– Ban civilian ownership of semi-automatic weapons
– Raise the legal age to purchase a gun to 21 years old
– Enact comprehensive background checks on all firearms
But for results, he says it has to go further.
Stevens’ call-to-action comes in the wake of the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida last month. That’s where gunman Nikolas Cruz killed 17 of his former classmates.
That tragedy, along with several other mass shootings, is putting the fight for gun control front and center.
Stevens says parts of the Second Amendment referring to “well-regulated militias” are out of touch with reality.
“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,” said Stevens.
Stevens says the 2008 Supreme Court ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller opened the door for groups like the NRA to become “a propaganda weapon of immense power” and limited the power of legislative control.
That historic ruling stated, “The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.”
Stevens, who dissented in that decision, said the courts got it wrong then, and it’s still wrong today.