Retired Supreme Court Justice Stevens bloviates in the Times about gun control. Like many public speakers he warms up the audience with a joke:
John Paul Stevens: Repeal the Second Amendment
No, that is the headline, not the joke, Wait for it...
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.
Oh, please. Not since the last big march, or the one before that, or the one before that, or... no wait, that was the deplorable Tea Party rally.
Look, liberals live in cities. They have no trouble rousting the faithful for a quick bus ride and a bit of sloganeering. Later they watch themselves on the news and convince themselves that the country has spoken. Come election time they are shocked to learn about flyover country and the unreconstructed troglodytes lurking there. How has this escaped the learned Justice Stevens?
The headline is a spoiler but eventually he reveals his latest fantasy:
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 comprehensive background checks on all purchasers of firearms. But the demonstrators should seek more effective and more lasting reform. They should demand a repeal of the Second Amendment.
Does the Justice realize that "semiautomatic weapons" includes most handguns sold today? It's times like this that the aggressive ignorance of the gun controllers makes a sensible conversation difficult.
As to repealing the Second Amendment, please - that would require a runaway Constitutional convention (exciting!) or a 2/3 vote in each chamber of Congress and then ratification by 38 states. Has he looked at an electoral map?
Overturning [District of Columbia v. Heller] via a constitutional amendment to get rid of the Second Amendment would be simple and would do more to weaken the N.R.A.’s ability to stymie legislative debate and block constructive gun control legislation than any other available option.
That simple but dramatic action would move Saturday’s marchers closer to their objective than any other possible reform.
"Simple". Right, a Congress that won't expand background checks will vote to repeal the Second Amendment.
Back in Realityville, this is yet another reason for progressives to regret the nomination of the Hillary Clinton. Had she manged to eke out a 2016 win (YES, in the Electoral College - sort of like how the team with more first downs does not beat the team with more points) she could have picked the replacement to Justice Scalia. Five lockstep liberals would then have "interpreted" the reasonable regulation caveats of Heller to cast the Second Amendment into oblivion.
Well, we dodged a bullet, as it were. As to Justice Stevens' goal here, this may simply be a cry for help from a deranged mind. More charitably, his hope may be to plant the crazy flag so far to the left that the formerly ludicrous - e.g., a renewed assault weapons ban - seems sane by comparison. He's trying to crack open the Overton Window a bit.