Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens argued in a New York Times op-ed Tuesday that the Second Amendment should be repealed.
Stevens wrote in the Times that repealing the Second Amendment would help Congress enact gun control measures.
The op-ed sparked outrage from many gun supporters including President Donald Trump.
“THE SECOND AMENDMENT WILL NEVER BE REPEALED!” Trump tweeted early Wednesday. “As much as Democrats would like to see this happen, and despite the words yesterday of former Supreme Court Justice Stevens, NO WAY. We need more Republicans in 2018 and must ALWAYS hold the Supreme Court!”
It’s time for former Justice Stevens and President Trump to have a reality check.
The Second Amendment is not in jeopardy, nor should it be.
The Supreme Court ruled in 2008 that the amendment lets people own guns for self-defense.
Stevens’ op-ed is counterproductive.
His argument inadvertently aids the cause of the National Rifle Association, the powerful gun lobby, avid gun supporters and many Republican lawmakers who oppose gun control laws. They argue that any attempt to enact gun control legislation is really aimed at repealing the Second Amendment and removing guns from law-abiding Americans.
Stevens’s argument is being made when there is a shift in attitudes toward gun control.
In the wake of the mass school shooting last month in Parkland, Florida teenagers across the country held a massive march in Washington, D.C. and in more than 800 towns and cities across the world last Saturday.
The “March for Our Lives” rally was held in the wake of the Feb. 14 shooting that killed 17 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
Thousands of young people listened to a series of speakers, some of whom had lost friends and family members to gun violence, engage in a collective call for tougher gun laws.
To their credit, march organizers addressed not only mass shootings which get the headlines, but the broader issue of gun violence which is too common in many poor African-American and Latino communities.
In addition to the march, new polls show increasing support and national support for gun control since the Parkland shooting.
A Quinnipiac University poll taken shortly after the Parkland shooting found that 97 percent of Republicans said that they supported background checks for all gun buyers, 77 percent said that they supported mandatory waiting periods for all gun purchases and 43 percent said that they supported a ban on assault weapons.
A newer Quinnipiac survey, taken last week, found that 41 percent of Republicans “think Congress needs to do more to reduce gun violence.”
Most Americans are not seeking to repeal the Second Amendment. They do not seek to ban the sale of guns used for self-defense and hunting.
What is needed is sensible gun control laws including increasing the age of gun buyers to age 21, universal background checks to prevent violent people from having guns and banning the sale of military style assault weapons.
We can reach common ground on sensible gun laws if we avoid extreme arguments on the issue.
Most Americans already agree on stricter gun control laws. But change will only come from Congress when lawmakers who do not represent the interest of the people are removed from office.