“In an Op-Ed essay on Tuesday, the former Supreme Court justice John Paul Stevens called for the repeal of the Second Amendment,” nytimes.com recaps. “Readers debated it on social media and in the comments section of the piece. Below is a sample of some representative viewpoints, edited lightly for clarity.” Edited lightly? Perhaps. Chosen to support Stevens’ treason? Well there’s an English expression. . .
Start as you mean to finish. Which is exactly what The Times doesn’t do. They begin their curated column with a stout defense of the Second Amendment from a Texan (of course):
The Second Amendment was created to guarantee the eternal freedom of the citizenry from an overreaching federal government. The same argument applies today, as history proves that one of the first steps for authoritarian governments is to remove firearms from their future serfs. Then comes free speech and religion. The founding fathers were much more wise than Stevens.
And then it’s time to pile on. First up: one Dennis Fritz:
Frankly, in the wake of District of Columbia v. Heller, I don’t see how any meaningful gun control could be enacted without a repeal of the Second Amendment. Heller elevated the right to own a gun to such a high level, it is right up there with freedom of speech and the right to due process. Even the most mild, seemingly sensible gun control measures can now be challenged on constitutional grounds, with a high probability of success. Heller created such an impregnable shield around the Second Amendment that tearing it out root and branch seems like the only way.
If only! The “reasonable regulations” caveat made Heller a Pyrrhic victory (as above).
Anyway, next up: Eric Byer’s all-too-common, ahistorical belief that the Second Amendment is the only amendment in the Bill of Rights that doesn’t protect an individual right:
Right-wing talking points aside, the Second Amendment was never written to guarantee the eternal freedom of the citizenry from an overreaching federal government. It was written — long before we had a standing army — to guarantee a well-regulated militia to defend the country from being attacked. It is a relic we tolerate to maintain consensus and something resembling unity in this country.
Our next contestant on Who Wants to Put American Gun Rights in Jeopardy? is William Griffith of South Carolina. Mr. Griffith looks at the answer “government tyranny” and poses the following question:
Up to now I have been a Second Amendment supporter, but I have never been against controls on large-capacity magazines, Teflon-coated bullets, background checks, etc. I could accept repeal of the amendment, but I would need to know precisely what was replacing it. All gun owners would need to know that.
So far it’s 3 – 1 in favor of — or least willing to consider — repealing 2A. Here are the final three, heavily edited to avoid elevated blood pressure and TLDR-itis:
The issue of personal safety is a red herring. Japan has a much lower rate of gun violence. Canada, Britain, Australia and other countries are doing just fine without all the guns and some of the nuts who advocate for them. What makes America so “exceptional” that the rules of law and human nature do not apply to them? — mdroy100, Ontario
Only the extremists want to ban all guns; clearly, there are ways to regulate weapons without taking away people’s rights. Further, the process to repeal a constitutional amendment takes many years, which makes this argument even weaker.— Marc McClenahan, Arizona
I have no problem repealing the Second Amendment and believe it is a great position from which to begin. Often liberal politics start negotiations from a position of compromise, forcing us to move right when the other side screams “compromise!” If we start from a position that moves us to a fair compromise, I say go for it: Repeal the Second! — Sara McElroy, New York
Our final tally: four writers for 2A repeal, two who say we don’t need to (’cause we can degrade 2A with it) and one firearms freedom fence straddler willing to consider repeal but won’t commit [until Uncle Sam’s jack-booted thugs come knock, knock, knockin’ on his door].
That division may well represent New York Times readers’ opinions on the subject, but it sure doesn’t reflect the broader populations’. Then again, since when did The Times care about that?