USA – -(Ammoland.com)- “Repeal the Second Amendment,” retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens declared in a Tuesday “op-ed” in The New York Times. It’s actually the third time “the newspaper of record” has hosted such sentiments in recent months, and they’re hardly alone.
But no one’s talking about taking your guns, the gun-grabbers scoff. Honest.
Citing the “dark money”-funded #MarxForOurLives media events we’re told were “organized” by children, Stevens cites ginned-up “demand” as justification for gun bans and for the eradication of a right the Founders deemed “necessary to the security of a free State.”
Recognizing the dangers of “pure democracy” mob rule, our Bill of Rights defined some of the areas where the individual would be immune to the will of the collective. Stevens knows that. His ignoring it is a motivated choice.
What this means is, no matter how many of us disagree with you, we cannot lawfully use force to shut you up, to suppress your political views, or to make you worship in the way we see fit. We cannot break into your house and search your property without probable cause and a legal warrant. We can’t torture you into confessing to a crime. Barring behaviors on your part to disqualify yourself from incarceration after being afforded full due process protections, we cannot strip you of your right to keep and bear arms.
The safeguard against tyranny provided by an armed populace from which a citizen militia can be formed is “a relic of the past,” Stevens counters, providing no additional corroboration beyond his say-so.
Now there’s a neat trick—because the government has ignored its duty it can now declare it obsolete. Try that with your employer. Stevens is offering a personal opinion here, not a legal one. And note he doesn’t say what about human nature has changed.
In the previous century that saw two world wars, continual violent political upheaval, genocide and systemic, brutal tyranny and repression, and noting the continuation into this century, has humanity truly demonstrated a benevolence and maturity that distinguishes our era from those that preceded us? In a culture that breeds gang warfare, rampant violence, city-crippling riots and a national murder rate measured in the tens of thousands, how can anyone credibly claim that the need for individual and collective defense is a relic of the past? And ultimately, what is this “outdated” Second Amendment really about, if not the preservation of a free people when all other options to defend life and liberty have been exhausted? Against all enemies, individual and aggregated, foreign and domestic…?
Don't look for Stevens to address that.
While it’s true Congress has been allowed to abandon its Constitutional duty “To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia,” former diplomat Alan Keyes correctly notes that’s something a free people ought to revive. The question now becomes how to convey that to lawmakers as an expectation with credible consequences should they continue to shirk an enumerated job requirement.
“For over 200 years after the adoption of the Second Amendment, it was uniformly understood as not placing any limit on either federal or state authority to enact gun control legislation,” Stevens claims.
“Any limit”? What a liar.
And that would come as a surprise to William Rawle, whose ”View of the Constitution” was the standard Constitutional law text at leading universities in the early 19th Century. Here’s what he had to say:
“No clause in the Constitution could by any rule of construction be conceived to give the Congress a power to disarm the people. Such a flagitious attempt could only be made under a general pretence by a state legislature. But if in any pursuit of an inordinate power either should attempt it, this amendment may be appealed to as a restraint on both.”
“In 1939 the Supreme Court unanimously held that Congress could prohibit the possession of a sawed-off shotgun because that weapon had no reasonable relation to the preservation or efficiency of a ‘well regulated militia,” Stevens follows up, deliberately obscuring the most crucial point.
The Miller court specifically acknowledged “the Militia comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense … [who] were expected to appear bearing arms supplied by themselves and of the kind in common use at the time [and] “the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear … ordinary military equipment … that … could contribute to the common defense.”
The “well regulated” part began after they reported for duty.
“Chief Justice [Warren] Burger publicly characterized the N.R.A. as perpetrating ‘one of the greatest pieces of fraud, I repeat the word fraud, on the American public by special interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime,’” Stevens continues, conveniently not mentioning that the opinion was not issued in any legal case, but rather in Parade Magazine of all places.
Attorney Dave Kopel pointed out Burger’s many errors and false assumptions. As an aside, Burger was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit by Richard Nixon, a president who wanted to ban handguns.
“I was among the four dissenters,” Stevens says of the Heller decision, meaning if he had the power, he would order that you do not have a right to keep and bear arms and that the government should destroy you if you defied him.
“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,” Stevens declares.
First of all, a Constitutional amendment is anything but simple. The Founders that Stevens disregards so cavalierly purposely designed things that way. And this also shows Stevens hasn’t let either reality or existing precedent influence his biases, as the Heller majority noted when citing an earlier decision:
“The very text of the Second Amendment implicitly recognizes the pre-existence of the right and declares only that it ‘shall not be infringed.’ As we said in United States v. Cruikshank, ‘[t]his is not a right granted by the Constitution. Neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence. The Second amendment declares that it shall not be infringed…’”
If a tyrannical government does repeal the Second Amendment it will not take away our right to keep and bear arms. Only we can give that up.
Calling for repeal is a Hail Mary of sorts on Steven’s part. A few years back he wanted to amend things to read:
“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.”
It’s tempting to dismiss this latest attack as the ramblings of a subversive dotard and conclude there’s no fool like an old fool. But Stevens has been doing this for years and is voicing the very real goals of those intent on establishing that old standby of totalitarian regimes everywhere, a monopoly of violence.
The only appropriate response to that (despite the impulse of some who fancy themselves our “gun rights leaders” to offer “compromise”) is one word:
It’s three words if you add “Your move.”
About David Codrea:
David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating / defending the RKBA and a long-time gun owner rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament.
In addition to being a field editor/columnist at GUNS Magazine and associate editor for Oath Keepers, he blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” and posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.