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Culture > News

This Retired Supreme Court Justice Wants to Repeal the Second Amendment

Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens called for a repeal of the Second Amendment in a New York Times op-ed on Tuesday, calling the amendment “a relic of the 18th century.” The Huffington Post reports that Stevens was in support of young student protestors at this past weekend’s March for Our Lives events, saying that the marchers “demand our respect.”

“Rarely in my lifetime have I seen the type of civic engagement schoolchildren and their supporters demonstrated in Washington and other major cities throughout the country this past Saturday,” Stevens wrote. “These demonstrations demand our respect. They reveal the broad public support for legislation to minimize the risk of mass killings of schoolchildren and others in our society. That support is a clear sign to lawmakers to enact legislation prohibiting civilian ownership of semiautomatic weapons, increasing the minimum age to buy a gun from 18 to 21 years old, and establishing more background checks on all purchasers of firearms…[the demonstrators] should demand a repeal of the Second Amendment.”

97-year-old Stevens worked in the Supreme Court from 1975 to 2010, drawing attention for being a Republican who often made liberal decisions in his judicial rulings. CNN reports that, in Stevens’ op-ed, he referenced his dissent in the 2008 case District of Columbia v. Heller, which ruled that the Second Amendment protects a person’s right to keep a firearm for self-defense within his or her home. 

“That decision — which I remain convinced was wrong and certainly was debatable — has provided the (National Rifle Association) with a propaganda weapon of immense power,” Stevens wrote. “Overturning that decision via a constitutional amendment to get rid of the Second Amendment would be simple and would be more to weaken the NRA’s ability to stymie legislative debate and block constructive gun control legislation than any other available option.”

Echoing many March for Our Lives protestors’ messages, Stevens closed his op-ed by saying, “[Repealing the Second Amendment] would make our schoolchildren safer than they have been since 2008 and honor the memories of the many, indeed far too many, victims of recent gun violence.”

Kristen Perrone is a Siena College Class of 2018 alumna. She studied English during her time at Siena.