Retirement has not stopped former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens from attacking basic individual rights. In a recent opinion article, he advocated a position of officially changing the constitution so that only government-managed entities can argue that they have a right to be armed.
The 94-year-old Stevens’ inflammatory comments were published in the Washington Post, titled “The five extra words that can fix the Second Amendment.” The activist justice has been a longtime advocate of undercutting the right to keep and bear arms, but now that he is off the bench, he is making his bias against the Bill of Rights known.
His idea of “fixing” the 2nd amendment is to add language that diminishes it to only covering people “when serving in the militia.” Justice Stevens does not believe an individual actually has a right to self-defense — not even in their own domicile — as was apparent from his dissent in both District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago.
Stevens’ proposed replacement for the current 2nd Amendment reads as follows:
“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.”
Of course, his revision would gut the understanding of the current text entirely. Stevens’ vision of gun ownership is that it is more of a privilege than a right — something conditionally granted upon service to the state, and something that can be heavily restricted on any arbitrary whim.
As he argues in his article, the founding fathers supposedly drafted the amendment to protect the “state militia” — the military — in its ability to bear arms. The most basic logic test would suggest that such an amendment would be unnecessary, and a historical test would reveal that such thinking was non-existent in any of the framers of the constitution.
The idea that America’s early revolutionaries would have disarmed their own mothers and wives because they weren’t viewed as proper candidates to join the militia is absurd.
Stevens includes emotion-laden arguments about how too much freedom is responsible for the deaths of children. He seems oblivious to the failures of government gun control, as well as the historical outcomes of disarmed societies that were subjected to tyrannical governments. Living in a police state poses a far deadlier threat than all school shooters in history combined.
Stevens left the high court after a lengthy tenure from 1975-2010. He was first nominated to the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals by President Richard Nixon and then nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court by President Gerald Ford. Even after all these years, he continues to make them proud.