Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens (appointed by Gerald Ford in 1975), in an article written in response to the shooting of school children in Newtown, Conn., in December 2012, wrote:
It is … legislators, rather than federal judges, who should make the decisions that will determine what kinds of firearms should be available to private citizens, and when and how they may be used. Constitutional provisions that curtail the legislative power to govern in this area [2nd amendment] unquestionably do more harm than good. [emphasis mine]
Stevens then proposes that, in order to assist legislators, five words (when serving in the Militia) be added to the Second Amendment so that it reads as: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms when serving in the Militia shall not be infringed.”
He then writes this statement: ” The [altered] amendment certainly would not silence the powerful voice of the gun lobby; it would merely eliminate its ability to advance one mistaken argument.” [emphasis mine]
Now we get to the crux of Stevens’ way of thinking. He suggests that the the Founding Fathers were mistaken when they worded the Second Amendment as they did. At the beginning of the article, Stevens writes: “The adoption of rules that will lessen the number of those incidents should be a matter of primary concern to both federal and state legislators.” By “rules” Stevens means gun control legislation to limit access to weapons approved by government. He wants to make life easier for legislators. He advocates weapons ONLY for the military. He cites and quotes a lot of “legalese” (would you expect anything else from a lawyer?) in an effort to try to substantiate his position. But NEVER, not even once does he ever blame the “killing” problem on people. He never says (or even hints) that the people doing the killing are the problem. Never once does he defend law-abiding gun owners. He only blames the gun! Access to the gun must be limited.
As an example of Stevens’ “legalese” consider this:
The Second Amendment expressly endorsed the substantive common-law rule that protected the citizen’s right (and duty) to keep and bear arms when serving in a state militia. In its decision in Heller [District of Columbia v. Heller], however, the majority [of the Supreme Court] interpreted the amendment as though its draftsmen were primarily motivated by an interest in protecting the common-law right of self-defense. But that common-law right is a procedural right that has always been available to the defendant in criminal proceedings in every state. The notion that the states were concerned about possible infringement of that right by the federal government is really quite absurd.
The above is an example of Stevens’ tortured, twisted logic. Stevens says that our right of self-defense should be struck down. But he offers no alternative to self-defense if a criminal threatens to harm us. I guess Stevens wants us to cite rules to people with guns.
Stevens must really think highly of himself if he concludes that our Founding Fathers were mistaken. We should be thankful that The Washington Post ran Stevens’ article in the Opinions section, but many unthinking readers will accept his opinion as fact. Therein lies the rub.
But that’s just my opinion.
Cross-posted at The Pot Stirrer, my very conservative web site.