Back in February, I eviscerated an essay by Bloomberg BusinessWeek’s Paul Barrett riffing on retired Supreme Court Justice Steven’s proposed change to the Second Amendment. Yesterday’s washingtonpost.com published a larger excerpt from Justice Stevens’ new book Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution. Stevens’ nonsense logic on Americans’ natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms should not go unchallenged. Again. Still. So know this: Stevens believes the Founding Fathers added the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution to protect “keeping and bearing arms for military purposes.” Stevens also believes . . .
that the Second Amendment “did not impose any limit whatsoever on the power of states or local governments to regulate the ownership or use of firearms.” The fact that the Fathers enacted the 2A to defend against government tyranny, the fact that all the other rights in the Bill of Rights impose limits on state and local governments is neither here nor there, apparently. Stevens kvetches about his colleagues’ difference of opinion on the subject, and offers a 2a fix:
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, however, the majority 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.
As a result of the rulings in Heller and McDonald, the Second Amendment, which was adopted to protect the states from federal interference with their power to ensure that their militias were “well regulated,” has given federal judges the ultimate power to determine the validity of state regulations of both civilian and militia-related uses of arms. That anomalous result can be avoided by adding five words to the text of the Second Amendment to make it unambiguously conform to the original intent of its draftsmen. As so amended, it would 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.”
And there you have it: your right to keep and bear arms kicked to the curb by a Supreme Court Justice. If you think that gun control advocates do not share Stevens’ view that Americans right to keep and bear arms only when serving in a militia – and not the type of militia currently gathering at the Bundy Ranch – then you’ve bought into their obfuscation (a.k.a., lies).
Chances are you haven’t. But think about this: the President of the United States appoints Supreme Court justices to the highest court in the land (subject to Congressional approval). A couple of them aren’t exactly what you’d call spring chickens. If a single pro-gun control Justice gets onto the bench, your gun rights could be toast.