February 23, 2014
Retired U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice John Paul Stevens would like to see five words added to Constitution’s Second Amendment, the result of which would be to destroy its intent, and turn the “right to bear arms” into a mere catchphrase lacking meaning. The Second Amendment, which is part of the Bill of Rights, reads:
A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
In his yet-to-be released book, “Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution,” Stevens suggests that the Second Amendment’s sole purpose was protection against an oppressive standing army — not self-protection in the ordinary sense. Stevens said, according to The Blaze.
Emotional claims that the right to possess deadly weapons is so important that it is protected by the federal Constitution distort intelligent debate about the wisdom of particular aspects of proposed legislation designed to minimize the slaughter caused by the prevalence of guns in private hands.
He suggested the inclusion of five words for clarification, with the “new and improved” Second Amendment reading, “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.”
By adding those five words — when serving in the militia — Stevens would remove the teeth from the Second Amendment, rendering it impotent.
If it’s clarification Stevens is after, I suggest instead of adding five words, we delete 13 to have it read simply, “The right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.”
Stevens was appointed to the bench in 1975 by then-President Gerald Ford, and retired in 2010 to be succeeded by Elena Kagan.