Archive for Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Retired Supreme Court justice urges repeal of Second Amendment

Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens

Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens

March 27, 2018, 8:19 a.m. Updated March 27, 2018, 10:20 a.m.

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WASHINGTON — Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens is calling for the repeal of the Second Amendment to allow for significant gun control legislation.

The 97-year-old Stevens says in an essay on The New York Times website that repeal would weaken the National Rifle Association's ability to "block constructive gun control legislation."

Stevens was on the losing end of a 2008 ruling in which the high court held that the Second Amendment gives individuals the right to own a gun for self-defense. He had previously called for changing the Second Amendment to permit gun control.

Stevens says the decision in that case, District of Columbia v. Heller, "has provided the N.R.A. with a propaganda weapon of immense power." Stevens retired from the court in 2010, after more than 35 years.

In his essay published Tuesday, Stevens talks about the "March for Our Lives" events on Saturday which drew crowds in cities across the country. Stevens said the demonstrations "reveal the broad public support for legislation to minimize the risk of mass killings of schoolchildren and others in our society."

He said the 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 comprehensive background checks on all purchasers of firearms."

But Stevens called on demonstrators to "seek more effective and more lasting reform."

"They should demand a repeal of the Second Amendment," he wrote.

Repealing the amendment would be extremely difficult. An amendment to the constitution can only be proposed either by Congress with a two thirds vote in both houses or by a constitutional convention called for by two thirds of the state legislatures. The amendment then has to be approved by three quarters of the states.

Comments

RJ Johnson 2 months ago

That would never happen, the people would not stand for it!

Bill Turner 2 months ago

You wouldn't think that the people would stand for the prohibition of alcohol either, yet it happened.

Daniel Kennamore 2 months ago

Extremely apt comparison.

Prohibition came about because the alcohol industry refused to allow any regulation at all until people asking for basic common sense measures had no choice but to take a constitutional route to address the problem.

Sound familiar to anyone?

Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 2 months ago

A great argument for mandatory retirement.

Steve Hicks 2 months ago

The problem's not the amendment: it's the interpretation of it that is currently a problem: which a Supreme Court justice would be eminently qualified to comment on.

But judges can be very wrong in their interpretations, as in the 2008 decision that the amendment's point was self-protection.

The current gun-problem, however, isn't because of any judicial interpretation. It's because of the N.R.A.'s interpretation, enacted on the country by their power over Congress, that the amendment must be interpreted as a basically unlimited "right," and that it means citizens should be armed to protect themselves from their own government.

The latter doesn't even seem to have been a significant argument of the pro-slavery forces that gave us the Civil War.

But it's the insistent, and relentless, interpretation of the current N.R.A. And they don't care so much if judges buy their false interpretation...scared voters who do are easier to manipulate.

John Middleton 2 months ago

" It's because of the N.R.A.'s interpretation, enacted on the country by their power over Congress..."

Care to explain their "power over congress"...

Paul Beyer 2 months ago

Contributions to elections and re-elections.

John Middleton 2 months ago

You sure you want to say that, Paul... The NRA is WAY down on the list of donations to congress. Want to guess who the top donors are? Better look up your facts before you claim that the NRA controls congress.

Steve Hicks 2 months ago

Sure, John.

Paul's right, that their contributions to Congressional candidates is part of how they wield power over Congress.

The N.R.A. also spends tons of money on lobbying.

And tons of money on its "campaigns" to rally its followers: the general tenor of which is always "THEY are trying to take away your RIGHTS !!!! Contact your Congressmen and -women !!!!"

The N.R.A.'s greatest power over Congress rests in deluding voters with their false interpretation of the 2nd Amendment, and getting voters to pressure Congress (when and where and how the N.R.A. directs) on the basis of that deceit.

Manipulating people's minds is the whole game. Making people fearful, so they'll act irrationally, and be susceptible to the N.R.A.'s direction, is how they take our political power, and bring it to bear on Congress...for the N.R.A.'s purposes.

Andrew Applegarth 1 month, 4 weeks ago

The only false interpretation of the 2nd Amendment is your flat refusal to accept the true meaning of the phrase "well regulated". The NRA is on the right side of this argument.

The 2nd Amendment was written because the founding fathers foresaw people like you who would not willingly allow the inalienable rights this country was founded on.

Andrew Applegarth 1 month, 4 weeks ago

"Manipulating people's minds is the whole game." That does pretty much sum up your entire game plan. As for me, I prefer to just tell the truth and hope that people are honest and intelligent enough to listen. Obviously I realize that you (and Dorothy and Richard and several others on here) aren't in that group, but I will continue to fight for truth, justice, and the American Way despite your attempts to destroy all three.

Steve Hicks 1 month, 4 weeks ago

".... I will continue to fight for truth, justice, and the American Way."

LOL. It always tells us a lot about where people are coming from to know their self-image, doesn't it, Andrew ?

Just curious: do you think you're Superman in the American pop-culture super-hero way...or the Nietzschean sense ?

Andrew Applegarth 1 month, 4 weeks ago

I'm sorry that those things are antithesis to you, but being ridiculed by the likes of you for valuing such things is not exactly an insult.

Steve Jacob 2 months ago

I can argue the AARP has as much political clout as the NRA.

And if we are going to treat 18-21 year olds like kids, we need to stop letting then join the military.

Richard Heckler 2 months ago

The amendment should define exactly what firearms can and cannot be owned by citizens.

The NRA has become a hate group and should lose its' tax exempt status if it has such.

Taxpayers deserve to know who is throwing big dollars at the NRA as a result of any tax exempt status.

THE majority want stiff new regulations for private ownership of weapons AND THE majority approve of the currently standing WELL REGULATED MILITIA aka USA Armed Forces. It appears "WELL REGULATED" IS THE DRUG OF CHOICE AS OPPOSED TO ZERO REGULATED.

Andrew Applegarth 2 months ago

How did you get through school without learning American History?

To say that the militia is the same thing as a standing army (US Armed Forces) is to shout your ignorance of simple terms. To say that the founding fathers meant "government controlled" when they wrote "well regulated" is to shout your ignorance of both history and period English.

The founding fathers did not say "well regulated" because they wanted government control of the militia. In fact, one of the most documented points that can be made about the founding fathers was their distrust of a standing army. This is well documented in their writings and they very deliberately choose to promote and protect the militia for this very reason. In fact, a review of their positions on the militia and military indicate that, if they were around today, they would advocate for taking the weapons away from the military and giving them to the people (militia). Pretty much exactly the opposite of your ignorant rantings...

Steve Hicks 2 months ago

What you're missing here, Andrew, is that "well-regulated" ABSOLUTELY means "government control," whether state or federal. Who else do you propose would possibly "regulate" military forces ?

The phrase is also part of a document whose entire purpose is formulating a government structure. Why would the subject even be mentioned in that document unless it was deemed a governmental function ?

You're right that a "standing army" was a major fear of some who wrote the Constitution. What you're missing is that the thought behind it was that "well-regulated" militias would fill the place of, and make unnecessary, a "standing" American army.

From your deep knowledge of American history, I'm sure you're aware that that idea didn't work, even during the Revolution. America was losing the war by depending on the on-again, off-again availability of militias directed by 13 governors The Continental Congress, at the desperate pleading of Washington, had to create the Continental Army, under their (albeit imperfectly-) unified direction, to have any chance of winning independence.

You're probably also aware that as President, George Washington was the greatest proponent for a "standing" American army.

You're missing as well that that the enemy against which the writers of the Constitution thought America might need military protection (whether by militias or a professional army) were foreign nations. No one seriously believed Americans needed to be protected against their own infant federal government.

Only theorists like Jefferson, as a matter of historical philosophy, considered the possibility that America's people might ever need protection against their own government. Jefferson and other founding fathers feared more that the government they, the "elite," had set up would need to be protected from the irrational mobocracy of "the people" should they fall under the influence of opportunistic demagogues (sound like the N.R.A. ?).

"Pretty much exactly the opposite of your ignorant rantings..." (Great phrase, Andrew ! Very well put.)

Andrew Applegarth 1 month, 4 weeks ago

No, it doesn't. It doesn't matter how many times you repeat the lie, "well regulated" does NOT mean government controlled. Go back and read what the founding fathers wrote. They supported the militia and were opposed to a standing army because it gave the government too much power and control. To claim that they wrote "well regulated" to give the government control of the militia is the height of either ignorance or dishonesty (or both). Further, the phrase "well regulated" refers to the functional state of something. Much like a Regulator clock did not control time but referred to the accuracy of the device, a "well regulated" militia is one that has the weapons of war and the skills to use them. Being "well regulated" was important because once the militia is called up there is no time for basic training. Once again, it had nothing to do with control of the militia itself.

"No one seriously believed Americans needed to be protected against their own infant federal government." That is true in the sense that they did not expect the new government to be a threat immediately. No, they were looking to the future and sadly they predicted what we have today with an ever growing government looking to eliminate the roadblocks (rights) that prevent it from becoming all-powerful and exactly what the founding fathers feared.

"Only theorists like Jefferson..." That was a nice attempt to make it look like he stood alone, but then you followed it up with "Jefferson and other founding fathers" which pretty much shot down your isolation attempt. Of course the people that those like Jefferson feared are the people like you who are using the government to usurp the rights of your opponents, not the NRA and those defending the Constitution against your anti-American crusade to destroy it.

Steve Hicks 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Andrew, James Madison wrote in The Federalist No. 46 that the intention of the 2nd Amendment was that "a standing army ... would be opposed [by] a militia."

He was arguing the theory that if Americans' "liberty" was ever threatened by a "standing army" of a dictatorial president (a possibility many of the Revolutionary generation feared), state militias "would be able to repel the danger" of a federal army,

He did not foresee such a situation arising, however, because "...the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of [federal] ambition."

If the "militia" Madison envisioned was officered by the state's appointees, and directed by its state's government (even to the extent of opposing a federal army), Madison was obviously thinking of "a well-regulated militia" as one very definitely under (state) "governmental control:" contrary your claim that "the founding fathers did not say 'well regulated' because they wanted government control of the militia."

But it's moot, isn't it ?

We currently have, and have long had, what the founding fathers called "a standing army." Do you consider the current U.S. military a danger to your "liberty," Andrew ? That was the theoretical possibility against which some (but not all) founding fathers thought the 2nd Amendment could be justified.

Andrew Applegarth 1 month, 4 weeks ago

You argue against yourself. You correctly point out that the 2nd Amendment was intended to protect against the abuse of a standing army and then cite the existence of a standing army as why the 2nd Amendment is moot. You can't have it both ways.

Even if your contention that the founding fathers expected the state to control the militia is true, it still doesn't support your claims for federal control nor change the definition of the phrase "well regulated". The meaning of that phrase does not depend on the role of government in the militia and means what I said even if they did want state/local government control.

Further, I believe you misinterpret his comments. He expects the states to side with and support the people (militia) against the federal government but I don't see him saying the state government would be calling out the militia of their own impetus. In fact, his refers first to the "disquietude of the people". To put it bluntly, he's saying that the people should stand up and fight against unconstitutional acts by the federal government and the state, being a government more closely tied to the people's will, should aid them. The current assault on the 2nd Amendment is such an act, so be careful quoting James Madison if you don't mean to remind people that we have not only the right, but the obligation, to rise up with arms against 'unwarranted measure' (unconstitutional acts) by the federal government.

As to your last question, the answer is both yes and no. The US Armed Forces answer to the President as Commander in Chief. There is often a shuffling of command staff when the office of the POTUS switches parties, as the President wants a command structure they can trust. Should the POTUS call out the military against the citizens of this country, there will be some resistance no matter how it comes to be. However, I firmly believe that the lower ranks, the actual fighting forces, will question those orders in direct correlation to the resistance they encounter. If the citizenry of this country is mostly disarmed and largely compliant it will not matter that the orders are unlawful. It's easy to go with the flow and follow orders when there is nothing to force you to really consider your actions. On the other hand, if the citizens of this country are mostly armed and largely stand up for their rights it will not be so easy. Basically, it comes down to which consequences are worse: for disobeying an order or for following that order.

Steve Hicks 1 month, 4 weeks ago

I'll re-affirm my original point, Andrew: the meaning of "well-regulated militia" the writers of the Constitution intended is a trained military organization under the control and direction of a legitimate governmental authority (in this case, a state government)...not a gang of self-appointed "patriots" defending what they perceive as their unlimited personal "right" to play with any guns they want, any place and any way they want.

The founding fathers' own words are more convincing than your repeated assertions they meant the latter.

(You might still be able to save your point, however. If you can show convincing evidence the N.R.A. is a legitimate governmental authority, there might be an argument that those who act under N.R.A. control and direction fit the Constitutional definition of "a well regulated militia.")

" I firmly believe that the lower ranks, the actual fighting forces, will question those orders in direct correlation to the resistance they encounter."

I'd agree the members of our current "standing army" would question a wannabe autocrat's orders to repress citizens. But I'm convinced it would be because they too are American citizens; and that they've sworn FIRST to defend the Constitution against all enemies, "foreign and domestic."

I don't believe in the least that the American military is brainwashed to unthinkingly obey the orders of whoever happens to be President. I believe they have sufficient understanding of and respect for American principles, and enough intelligence, that they could determine if a wannabe autocrat president was ordering them to obey himself, rather than the Constitution, to empower himself against the Constitution and America's people.

We currently have a standing army. We currently have a wannabe-autocrat president. It's the founding fathers' worst-case scenario. Their fears, embodied in the 2nd Amendment, seem to me entirely moot.

If you think not...think that our current "standing army" would only disobey a would-be tyrant's unconstitutional orders to suppress American citizens "in direct correlation to the resistance" of self-appointed "patriots" shooting at them...you evidence a deeply contemptuous view of your fellow-citizens in the military. I find that view entirely false.

And if you think a mob of self-appointed "defenders of liberty" will prevail alone against one of the world's greatest professional militaries, you're also delusionally unrealistic. It didn't work in the Revolution, and it wouldn't work today.

Andrew Applegarth 1 month, 4 weeks ago

As I said before, you can repeat your lies but it won't alter reality. It doesn't really surprise me that you took me up on that offer...

I'm not 100% sure what part of your anatomy you pulled NRA control of the militia out of, but I'm pretty sure you really should avoid those parts in public.

Your evaluation of the military is not much different than mine, but I think you underestimate the chain of command and the penalties for disobeying a direct order. "I was only following orders" may not be a valid defense, but the number of times that it has been tried clearly shows that unlawful orders are often obeyed.

Steve Hicks 1 month, 4 weeks ago

"People make much ado about nothing when it comes to the militia clause of the 2nd Amendment."

The militia clause is part of the Amendment and of the "bill of rights," Brock: being dismissive of it seems the wrong attitude.

"The 2nd Amendment does not grant a right to bear arms to the people but instead affirms that right and prohibits the government from infringing upon the right of the people, not the militia to own guns."

There's the question, isn't it; since the amendment (and some subsequent SCOTUS decisions) make a militia the rationale.

"There were people at the time of the writing of the bill of Rights who didn’t want any rights listed for fear it would be interpreted to the only rights protected. We have rights that go beyond the Constitution. The founding fathers selected the ones they felt needed the most protection from the government."

That's historically accurate: and has been the reason for all subsequent consideration of what unwritten "rights" are legitimately implied, and in what ways.

"Our right to bear arms goes beyond defending against the government or foreign armies. It is at the core of liberty. We have a right not to depend on the government for security but as free men to protect ourselves."

Sounding kinda like the N.R.A. mind-meld there: that the 2nd Amendment "right" is embodied by a gun...and if you don't have one, you have no "right." (With the N.R.A.'s corollary that The Gun is the whole, and only, guarantee of ALL rights: and if you have no gun, you have NO "rights.")

"Disagree with me, but keep in mind the SCOTUS agrees it is an individual right subject to reasonable regulation."

It's not entirely accurate to say that because SCOTUS has ruled (whatever), the matter is settled once and for all: remember the Dred Scott decision ? And, as in the Dred Scott case, the Court sometimes makes bad decisions.

Nor are SCOTUS decisions always (or even often) unequivocal: there's usually some careful hedging in the majority's opinion; in addition to entirely opposite legal theory offered in the dissenting opinions.

The Court has made what could be called "individual right" decisions, and what could be called "militia" decisions. The 2nd Amendment remains a continuing question for Supreme Court justices, the same way it is for other American citizens. Just my speculation, but that may be why Justice Stevens suggested it be repealed.

Andrew Applegarth 1 month, 4 weeks ago

I'm curious...

Why do you keep posting your comments in reply to a different post than the one you are actually commenting on? Are you trying to make it harder for people to refer back to the comment in question or do you simply not know how nested comment threads work? At least with your refusal to reply directly to me, my comments are close above yours. However, this post refers to a comment Brock made later and outside of this particular thread. It seems shady to me, so please enlighten me on your posting tactics.

Steve Hicks 1 month, 3 weeks ago

I'd replied all that seemed necessary to your above comment, on what seemed to be that comment's thread, Andrew.

As near as I could tell, and intended, I was replying to a separate comment by Brock, on the thread his comment appeared on.

But you go right ahead and think all you want it's a "leftist" plot that I don't reply where you think I should. Obviously (you're convinced) you know my reasons better than I do.

Who am I to contradict Superman ?

Andrew Applegarth 1 month, 3 weeks ago

So, you're just a moron. Got it!

I never said I knew your reasons. My whole post was asking you (via leading questions, I'll admit) what your reasons were...

Yes, your comments aimed at me were in the same threads as my comments, but they were clearly all made in reply to the same posts I originally replied to. If you look at the indentation, you'll see that my replies to your comments all shifted to the right to indicate they were in reply to your comment while yours always shifted back to the left to indicate they were in reply to Richard's, or yours in the case of the earlier thread.

If you are struggling with using a nested comment section I would be willing to help you learn.

Brock Masters 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Your first sentence is spot on. I forget sometimes and try to have a reasonable discussion with him, but it isn’t possible fo the reason you stated.

Bob Smith 2 months ago

We already knew what the leftists' end game was.

Bob Smith 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Every single politician running for local, state or national office needs to be asked if they favor repeal of the Second Amendment. We need to separate the chaff from the wheat.

Brock Masters 1 month, 4 weeks ago

People make much ado about nothing when it comes to the militia clause of the 2nd Amendment

The 2nd Amendment does not grant a right to bear arms to the people but instead affirms that right and prohibits the government from infringing upon the right of the people, not the militia to own guns.

True, the 2nd Amendment provides one reason for the people to bear arms, but it is not limiting nor is it a requirement. The 2nd Amendment doesn’t say, people who belong to a militia have the right to own guns.

Instead, it states a reason for it, but doesn’t limit the people’s right.

There were people at the time of the writing of the bill of Rights who didn’t want any rights listed for fear it would be interpreted to the only rights protected. We have rights that go beyond the Constitution. The founding fathers selected the ones they felt needed the most protection from the government.

Our right to bear arms goes beyond defending against the government or foreign armies. It is at the core of liberty. We have a right not to depend on the government for security but as free men to protect ourselves.

Disagree with me, but keep in mind the SCOTUS agrees it is an individual right subject to reasonable regulation.

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