The Corner

Stevens: Fix Second Amendment to Remove “Any Limits” on Government Power

Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens supports gutting the Second Amendment in order to remove any limit on government infringements on the right of self-defense.

In his new book Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution, Stevens — who generally favored maximum government power during his 35-year tenure on the high court — proposes, among other things, changing the language of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution so that the amendment would read, “ . . . the right of the people to keep and bear arms [when serving in the militia] shall not be infringed.”

Stevens acknowledged in an interview Sunday that this would remove “any limits” on government power over legal gun owners.

“I think that’s probably right,” Stevens said on ABC’s This Week. “But I think that’s what should be the rule, that it should be legislatures rather than judges who draw the line on what is permissible.”

Stevens said his proposed amendment, and a potential nationwide gun ban, would be closer to the original intent of the framers of the U.S. Constitution than the amendment the framers actually wrote and adopted.

“There was a fear among the original framers that the federal government would be so strong that they might destroy the state militias,” he told ABC host George Stephanopoulos. “The amendment would merely prevent arguments being made that Congress doesn’t have the power to do what they think is in the best public interest.”

Stevens made clear that the amendment would clear the way for a national ban on private ownership of the means of self-defense. “I think that’s right,” Stephens said in a pre-recorded interview with Stephanopoulos, a former communications director and senior adviser in the Bill Clinton administration.

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