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Justice Stevens’ Call to Repeal Second Amendment Makes Me Glad He Retired


Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens wrote an op-ed about gun control for Tuesday’s New York Times that sure makes me glad the word “former” is part of his title. Addressing recent marches and protests against gun violence, Stevens mentions a few of the oft-proposed methods of combating the problem, then dismisses them in favor of a scorched-earth tactic of repealing the Second Amendment entirely.

At first glance, it might seem like Stevens’ piece was a brilliant form of satire on the level of Jonathan Swift‘s A Modest Proposal. Once you realize he’s serious, however, it’s no laughing matter.

Yes, repealing the Second Amendment would decrease gun deaths, just like Swift’s tongue-in-cheek idea of selling the children of poor people for the rich to eat them would decrease poverty. That doesn’t make it a good idea.

Hell, plenty of students on college campuses protest against speakers they don’t like. Far-left groups go so far as to equate offensive speech to violence. Would Stevens suggest repealing the First Amendment? I first wrote that question sarcastically, but these days you can never be too sure.

Not only would repealing the Second Amendment be an overly broad counter to gun violence, it wouldn’t even effectively solve problems. For starters, a significant amount of reported cases of gun violence are suicides. Taking guns away from suicidal people would decrease the gun violence statistics, but it wouldn’t stop them from finding other ways to kill themselves. Repealing the Second Amendment also wouldn’t do anything to stop the distribution of weapons that are already illegal, and would only result in bolstering the black market and decreasing tax revenue (funny how people on the left use this very argument for why drugs should be legal, but they have a very different standard for guns).

You know what else repealing the Second Amendment wouldn’t do? Ban guns. Just because you don’t guarantee a right, that doesn’t automatically make guns illegal everywhere. States would still be able make their own rules.

The high school kids who are marching and calling for change are reacting out of fear and anger due to recent school shootings, which certainly seem to be happening more frequently, and I’m all for putting measures in place to protect students. So what’s the one thing that all of these school shootings have in common?

They’re committed by students.

Kids in high school under normal circumstances are under extreme amounts or stress. Between raging hormones, social pressures, demanding classes, and trying to get into college, it’s tough on everyone. On top of that, many students suffer from emotional disorders, and a lot of them are the targets of bullying by their fellow students (I wonder how many of those marching are guilty of this).

It sure seems like keeping guns away from students would do a lot to prevent them from shooting each other. Raising the age limit to 21 would do just that. Stevens even mentions this idea early in his op-ed, only to immediately dismiss it as not as effective as stripping a right from all Americans; Americans who like to hunt, shoot for sport, and, you know, protect their families.

Now here comes the part where liberals yell at me by saying the Second Amendment wasn’t meant for any of those things, and that it was only meant to arm a militia, which they think is an outdated concept.

Those on the left may not recognize the need for the Second Amendment, but that doesn’t mean it’s not there. If your house has never been robbed, does that mean there’s no need for an alarm system? If you’re healthy, does that mean you don’t need insurance? In both cases, you hope you don’t need to use them, and maybe you won’t, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have them. It’s ironic that the same people who called Trump “literally Hitler” wouldn’t want to be able to fight back against him if they had to.

Liberals and conservatives both care about the safety of schoolchildren and Americans in general, and have put forward possible solutions, that Stevens himself acknowledged. Each and every one of them are better than repealing the Second Amendment. Stevens’ suggestion makes me glad he’s no longer on the bench, because even though the Supreme Court has nothing to do with repealing amendments, the former justice clearly lacks the judgment to address complex issues.

Ronn Blitzer is Senior Editor of Law&Crime and a former New York City prosecutor. Follow him on Twitter @RonnBlitzer.

[Image via Allison Shelley/Getty Images]

This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.

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