March 27, 2018

John Paul Stevens, the 97-year-old former Supreme Court Justice, writes "Repeal the Second Amendment."

It's a NYT op-ed.

Justice Stevens says that the student demonstrations last Saturday are "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 students should ask for more — send more clear signs — and "demand a repeal of the Second Amendment." Usually, advocates of gun control tend to give assurances that they're not out to repeal the Second Amendment. A forthright demand for a repeal of the Second Amendment would wreck those assurances and elevate the pro-gun side, which could credibly intensify its rhetoric with reality-based anxiety that they are coming to take away your constitutional rights. If they can take away your Second Amendment rights — if the Bill of Rights is on the chopping block — they may come for your freedom of religion next, they can take away your freedom of speech, you right to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures — whatever they like, whatever they think stands in their way.

The op-ed quickly shifts to a repetition of the argument made by the losing side in the 2008 Supreme Court case of District of Columbia v. Heller and set out in Justice Stevens's dissenting opinion. Stevens could have written an op-ed simply saying that Heller is bad and should be overruled. Then he wouldn't be directly threatening our constitutional rights, just informing us that we're mistaken about the existence of one of them. Indeed, we would be "overturning that decision" with a constitutional amendment:
[Heller] has provided the N.R.A. with a propaganda weapon of immense power. 
Rights as propaganda. Look around. How often do we use "rights" as propaganda? That question used to dominate discussions within legal academia. You can get up to speed on what I lived through in the 1980s by reading "legal theory: critical theory/Critical Perspectives on Rights... The Critique of Rights." I'll just list the 5 propositions discussed at that link, which goes to a Harvard website:
1. The discourse of rights is less useful in securing progressive social change than liberal theorists and politicians assume.
2. Legal rights are in fact indeterminate and incoherent.
3. The use of rights discourse stunts human imagination and mystifies people about how law really works.
4. At least as prevailing in American law, the discourse of rights reflects and produces a kind of isolated individualism that hinders social solidarity and genuine human connection.
5. Rights discourse can actually impede progressive movement for genuine democracy and justice.
Back to Justice Stevens:
Overturning [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.
I had to go back to the NYT webpage to recheck the language even though I knew I copied and pasted it. I was shocked at "get rid of the Second Amendment." Get rid of. Not "repeal." Get rid of. Not get rid of Heller, but get rid of the Second Amendment.

And it would be simple!? That's just a weird thing to say. It's not simple at all to amend the Constitution. Not only do you need 2/3 supermajority in both Houses of Congress, you are defeated if one house in the legislature of 13 states says no. This is why I was so damned sure in 2004 that George Bush's anti-gay-marriage amendment would never become part of the Constitution.

It would not be simple to get rid of the Second Amendment through the amendment process. It would be virtually impossible.

And the idea that you'd excise a right from the Constitution to "weaken" a lobbying group that "stymie[s] legislative debate" is repellant. Notice the motive of restricting speech. A group speaks too powerfully; we need to change the Constitution.

Stevens concludes:
That simple but dramatic action would move Saturday’s marchers closer to their objective than any other possible reform. 
We should remove rights from the Constitution because it would be dramatic and because it would move marchers closer to their objective??

I am very sad to see Justice Stevens writing like that, but he's made this proposal before. Back in 2014, he published a not-well-received book — "Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution" — that reframed various old dissenting opinions of his as proposals to amend the Constitution. Of course, the Second Amendment was in the set of six.

What's new is that his proposal to get rid of the Second Amendment is tied to the student protests: Let's seize upon their youthful enthusiasm, let's weaponize their passion, and use it to get somewhere we've always wanted to go.

I like kids as much as the next guy, but I'm not on the follow-the-kids bandwagon, especially when it comes to the value of respecting the American tradition of constitutional rights.

265 comments:

1 – 200 of 265   Newer›   Newest»
Dad29 said...

I'm not surprised to note that Stevens thinks positive law is the end-all/be-all.

It's not. Maybe some day he will be wise enough to know that.

Phil 3:14 said...

And let's get rid of the First while we're at it!

Ralph L said...

They must have had a Robespierren idea of democracy if individual rights didn't matter.

Does Stevens still have a clerk, or is this his own work?

Browndog said...

It always seems to come back to the rights of the individual vs the demands of the collective.

Ralph L said...

I would make a distinction between simple and easy.

zipity said...

Perhaps Stevens could put his thoughts into a book, say a little red one, that the students could hold up at their rallies....

Beloved Commenter AReasonableMan said...

Once upon a time smoking was considered good for your health, but the epidemiology argued otherwise. Similarly, some people currently believe that guns make them safer, but the epidemiology argues otherwise. Young people, not emotionally tied to outdated ideas, will change perceptions in the population as a whole over time and the second amendment will increasingly be seen as hopelessly outdated, an artifact of another time. No need to repeal, given its ambiguous wording.

Humperdink said...

There is a process in place to change the constitution. Come on lefties, get it on.

But they won't do that. No, no. They will wait the until a majority of the Supremes hold their view. Amendment #2 will die a death by a thousand cuts.

Bay Area Guy said...

AA: "Not only do you need 2/3 supermajority in both Houses of Congress, you are defeated if one house in the legislature of 13 states says no."

Calling for a new Constituional Amendment and/or repeal of an old one without acknowledging the high political bar, reveals a Don Quixote-type passionate ignorance. And I love Don Quixote, but not the ignorance.

It's similar to the idiots calling for Trump's impeachment, without referencing the need for 2/3 of the Senate to remove him.

It's similar to the idiots who extol Hillary's popular vote win, without referencing the Electoral College math.

So, No, we're not repealing the 2nd Amendment because a buncha high school kids have been politicized following a tragic school shooting.

Angle-Dyne, Angelic Buzzard said...
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Ann Althouse said...

"Does Stevens still have a clerk, or is this his own work?"

A retired Justice still gets one clerk. Whether he has a clerk or not, any writer can rely on assistants and ghostwriters.

To my eye, the book was processed from the dissenting opinions and the op-ed was processed from the book, perhaps after someone at the NYT invited the Justice to do exactly that.

I've written op-eds for the NYT and it was always because they called me and wanted an op-ed based on something I'd already written, so I'd guess that's what happened here. The NYT had the idea that the material from the book could be resurrected using the hook of the student protests.

I loathe the use of children in politics because the children cannot act on their own. They are caught up in adult agendas and used and abused. People should be extremely careful when children are activated, not saying oh, goody, my cause is now invigorated and has a beautiful face.

Michael said...

The move to make hunting illegal until you are 21 is a real winner.

zipity said...

"Young people, not emotionally tied to outdated ideas,"

True. They are already well on their way to gutting the right to free speech, e.g. any speech they disagree with.

Why not just tear up the whole bill of rights? After all, it was instituted like over 50 years ago....

tcrosse said...

Young people, not emotionally tied to outdated ideas, will change perceptions in the population as a whole over time and the second amendment will increasingly be seen as hopelessly outdated, an artifact of another time.

Either that or they'll grow up.

Angle-Dyne, Angelic Buzzard said...

"...the student demonstrations last Saturday are 'a clear sign to lawmakers to enact legislation prohibiting civilian ownership of semiautomatic weapons...'"

I have seen claims that the annual "right to life" marches regularly draw more protesters than any of the lavishly MSM-hyped prog-cause demos-du-jour.

Guess that's the beginning of a fine legal argument for the repeal of Roe, eh?

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...


Once upon a time smoking was considered good for your health, but the epidemiology argued otherwise. Similarly, some people currently believe that guns make them safer, but the epidemiology argues otherwise. Young people, not emotionally tied to outdated ideas, will change perceptions in the population as a whole over time and the second amendment will increasingly be seen as hopelessly outdated, an artifact of another time. No need to repeal, given its ambiguous wording.

Maybe, but I wouldn't hold my breath if I were you. Don't forget not all young people agree with the student activists; don't count out the dog that isn't barking. Young people, not emotionally tied to exciting fads orchestrated by adults who are manipulating them, for example.

Michael said...

Because if there is one thing the Army is looking for it is recruits who have never held a gun.

Virgil Hilts said...

It's not difficult to get rid of the Second Amendment. McDonald v. City of Chicago only found incorporation by 5-4 vote. Hillary wins, the justices revisit and decide incorporation was wrong and tada, the Second Amendment no longer applies to the States.

Molly said...

"Economic Rights" are often asserted as part of a propaganda effort. "People have a right to health care," so support my health care policy. "People have a right to food" so don't cut food stamp expenditures. Just as a person can refuse to read pornographic works or have an abortion, in the belief that such actions are wrong, but the same person could support other people's right to have access to pornography and abortion, the "rights" argument is stronger than the "this is good policy" argument, because people who are not convinced by the policy argument might still be in favor of the policy as necessary to guarantee a right. ("I disagree with what you say, etc.")

Bob Boyd said...

The Constitution doesn't grant the rights, it recognizes them. Repeal wouldn't take the rights away, it would only unleash oppression and we know where that always goes. But you're fooling yourself if you think nobody wants that.

traditionalguy said...

Strange. Why does that silly and immoral man want to see me totally defenseless? Either he was born an evil twisted moron or his own family has been kidnapped and he is being blackmailed by a Security Guard Industry to get monopoly rents. Or maybe it is both. We better gather our river rocks while we may.

We get it. There is not aword in the Constitution Stevens wants to see defended.That makes me angry. When he wants to eliminate to my defense of my life and my descendants'lives, then it gets totally personal.


Michael said...

Because millions of fathers do not want to take their boys hunting, to teach them gun safety, to get them out to see thousands of ducks in flight or to teach them the patience to sit in a deer stand or to have them learn to fail and go on. No. No, lets follow the advice of this senile fucker and leave the guns in the ghetto where they belong.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Similarly, some people currently believe that guns make them safer, but the epidemiology argues otherwise.

Oh, also, I agree that there are many ill-educated people in this country who believe that the right to own a gun has something to do with safety (which you of course, not being ill-educated, know better than, right?) but fortunately there are many who actually understand the purpose of the second amendment.

Back in my day, my debate teacher would make us understand and argue issues from both sides. That's what critical thinking is, remember? Pity that anyone pretends those kids should be taken seriously when they can't even coherently articulate their own positions using facts/logic/reason, not kneejerk emotion, let alone the opposition's position.

rhhardin said...

If you want to get original basis, it's the right of the other guy to own a gun that you ought to protect.

Matthew Sablan said...

Deep thinking there.

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

I'd prefer to fire the Broward cowards and increase the level of expectation from our bureaucratic democratic flunkies.

john mosby said...

Prof, serious conlaw question: I thought we had our rights whether or not they are enumerated. This was the argument against the bill of rights in the first place: that it would lead to a logic in which common law, un- enumerated rights would be disrespected.

So repealing the second amendment, or any amendment in the BoR, would just return the right to common-law status, wouldnt it?

JSM

Matthew Sablan said...

"Similarly, some people currently believe that guns make them safer, but the epidemiology argues otherwise. "

-- Have you read John Lott's research?

Matthew Sablan said...

"Calling for a new Constituional Amendment and/or repeal of an old one without acknowledging the high political bar, reveals a Don Quixote-type passionate ignorance. And I love Don Quixote, but not the ignorance."

-- I assume like the compact of states to overturn the Electoral College, they aren't planning to do it the legal way.

Shouting Thomas said...

Minor problem... NRA members are very unlikely to commit gun violence.

Most gun violence occurs on turf controlled by the Democratic Party for generations

The vast majority of gun violence is committed by the clients and allies of the Democratic Party, black and hispanic gangs.

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...
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Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...
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Darrell said...

The Second amendment protects all the others and the Constitution itself. That's why the Left seeks to end it. Remember that in November when you vote and know that the Left is the Democratic Party. Never D!

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

First they came for the second amendment, then they came for the first.

But YOU'RE the fascist.

surfed said...

Ok. Where's that NRA application form? It's time. I dislike joining groups. Have since the 1960's. But it's time. Sigh.

Jason said...

Back when it came out, I wrote a summary of the Heller decision for my blog readers:

http://iraqnow.blogspot.com/2008/06/jason-reads-heller-decision-so-you-dont.html


Jason Reads the Heller Decision (So You Don't Have To!)

Well, you don't have to. But I recommend you do, because the majority decision, written by Justice Scalia, is rich with historical evidence and anecdote from the founding era.

But if you are pressed for time, the Scalia's decision, for the 5-4 majority, can be encapsulated into four main points:

1.) The right to keep and bear arms is an individual, not a collective right.
2.) The right extends not just to service in a militia, but also for the purposes of self defense.
3.) The right applies to firearms in current common usage. The argument some raise that the 2nd Amendment protects only arms in existence in the 17th century "borders on the frivolous."
4.) Justice Stevens is an idiot.


I see not much has changed.

Beloved Commenter AReasonableMan said...

Switzerland's current gun laws are consistent with a well-regulated militia. Implementing those laws here would be a good first step.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Young people, not emotionally tied to outdated ideas

Ideas are either correct or incorrect, whether they are fashionable or not should be irrelevant when evaluating them.

readering said...

For sure Steven's tilting at windmills but remember he is of the Warren Burger vintage which held view right to bear arms tied to militias. Althouse and I were taught that view in late seventies law school, where little consideration given to 2nd amendment in con law courses.

Bob Boyd said...

"Oh, also, I agree that there are many ill-educated people in this country who believe that the right to own a gun has something to do with safety..."

I understand your point here and I agree with it, but I think the 2A does have something to do with safety. Protection is a fundamental need for survival just like food, clothing and shelter, protection from animals and from your fellow man. We tend to lose sight of that, living in a modern and relatively safe and peaceful country, but it remains a true need even if it's not common or pressing for most of us. For our protection we choose to rely primarily on police forces that we, as a society, have established for this purpose. But we can also protect ourselves and one another if necessary.
But suppose we had to rely on the authorities to protect us from criminals. The authorities would then have the power, as they do in many places, to make protection contingent upon cooperation, political support, payment, sex or whatever.
If you are reliant on somebody else for your basic needs then you are not free. I believe the founders recognized this.

MadisonMan said...

So repealing the second amendment, or any amendment in the BoR, would just return the right to common-law status, wouldnt it?

IANAL. If the 2nd Amendment were stricken from the Constitution, you can be certain that the Federal Govt would rush in to make laws banning guns.

Kids seem to want to give up their freedom for safety. I suspect that if they do, they will have sellers' remorse. The Govt will never have Buyer's remorse for replacing freedom with more restrictions.

Angle-Dyne, Angelic Buzzard said...

BCARM: Young people, not emotionally tied to outdated ideas, will change perceptions in the population as a whole over time and the second amendment will increasingly be seen as hopelessly outdated, an artifact of another time.

The entire Bill of Rights (and a good chunk of the rest of the constitution) is an artifact of another time, another people, and another culture. Let's just ditch the whole thing and be done with it.

The only thing we need to keep are the ritual gestures toward "the ideals this country was founded on" and "who we are as Americans". The "ideals" invoked will have nothing whatever to do with the originals, and the "we" will be non-existent, both in terms of the present and in terms of any continuity with the American past, but the ritual gestures are useful for fooling enough of the people, enough of the time to, hopefully, be able to shit-can the whole out-dated "American nation" thang, without too much destabilizing push-back.

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

Lets get rid of everything until we have one party Rule and the corruptocrats are that party.

dda6ga dda6ga said...

In the deepest heart of any New Deal liberal lives the small constant voice of
Ioseb Besarionis dze Jughashvili

Mike said...

Not content to use the young and stupid to advance their arguments the DNC-Nedia complex drags out a drooling old fascist to deal the deal. Yeah, that’ll work. What you done, NYT, is give the game away and admit you just want ALL the guns. No sane person would put their name to “it is simple” like that so you drag Stevens still-warm carcass into the fray.

Go ahead Democrats. Run on this. Let slip the cries of, “Repeal the 2nd!”

John Cunningham said...

This senile commie Stevens has had armed guards around him his whole career. Like that's dolt Bloomberg who can afford a 25-man armed security detail. They just want to disarm the proles.

LincolnTf said...

It comes as no surprise that the Liberal old guard is at the same intellectual place as a busload of traumatized children.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

And since the subject of youts being used for political manipulation.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29Mg6Gfh9Co

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9EincWbFAyM

John said...

He's right, of course. If you are serious about getting rid of guns, repeal 2A.

Unless you advocate that, you are nothing but a poseur.

Of course then comes the "what then" question.

What do you do about all the guns already out there?

But first repeal 2A.

It will be only the second time an amendment has attempted to restrict our rights. And we know how well tbe first attempt worked.

Right?

John Henry

Wilbur said...

I give Stevens credit for openly asserting what he wants: repealing the Second Amendment. Most liberals are too mealy-mouthed to say so publicly.

Stevens is of the William Brennan School of constitutional interpretation. Their test goes as follows; If I disagree with the public policy, then it's unconstitutional. It's how Brennan and his ilk declared the death penalty unconstitutional in the 70s, and why they would continue to judicially abolish it, if they could.

But therein lies the rub. They cannot enact public policy through legislation because they cannot persuade others well-enough to do so. So, they deem themselves the power to act as a super-legislature and make policy through their decisions.

No more dangerous trend has emerged in public life in the last 100 years.

Mike said...

Similarly, some people currently believe that guns make them safer

It is indisputable that gun ownership is increasing.

It is also indisputable that gun homicides have decreased dramatically over the last 30 years.

How does that square with your hysterical posturing ARM?

dbp said...

Thanks Althouse!

I had a vague memory that JPS had made this proposal before, but couldn't find it.

Anyway, the former justice is wrong: All it takes is 5 justices, of a certain bent, to render the 2nd a dead-letter. Had HRC won the last election, they would have their 5 right now.

Roger Sweeny said...

In the tradition of omnibus spending bills, after the next anti-abortion March for Life in Washington and around the country, Congress should pass a Pro-Life Amendment, repealing the Second Amendment and giving fertilized eggs a right to life.

Darrell said...

The goofy kids are the ones shooting up the others. Let's make better kids.

traditionalguy said...

The Marxist Revolutionaries ( a/k/a Community Organizers) seem to be in full panic mode. Trump's band of brothers is hot on the trail of hundreds of billions of dollars that Obama simply stole under the cover of Treaties and Renewable Energy grants. The Traitors have no where left to hide.

Their hail Mary pass is this Broward County School Shooting until an impeachment on framed-up evidence or an old fashioned crazy loner Assassination succeeds.

Matthew Sablan said...

Anyone who wants citizens disarmed should be forced to answer:

"How many legal, defensive uses of guns are you willing to deny people to do this? How many additional rapes, robberies and murders by non-law abiding citizens of law-abiding citizens is the price we're willing to pay?"

That's the real trade off, and there are some laws where collateral damage is sadly a reality. Removing guns from people is one of them; the woman who defends herself from a rape with her gun who will now be raped is an honest cost Justice Stevens and others need to articulate.

What price does society have to pay for this?

Virgil Hilts said...

Why I do not lose sleep about guns. 33,000 gun deaths each year. 22,000 suicides (not a risk for me). Another 1,000 are accidents (not a risk for me). 500 or so police actions (not a risk for me). Maybe 500-1000 domestic killings (not a risk for me). That leaves say 8,500 - 9,000 deaths and stats suggest that 90% of victims in those cases have serious criminal records (not a risk for me) (see https://www.gunownersca.com/2016/08/25/crime-data-90-victims-prior-criminal-records/). So number of innocent people killed by strangers is maybe 1,000 a year? (this is my risk). And I live in Arizona not Baltimore or Missouri (no city in Arizona makes the top 30 for murder rates). The gun grabbers do not understand these stats. Real gun control has zero chance of passing while these stats remain what they are.

John said...

Everyone here does realize that the Constitution does not grant us any rights, right?

It merely recognizes and protects the rights we already have.

As in:

Amendment 2 - Right to Bear Arms

<>

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

John Henry

Fabi said...

"Implementing those laws here would be a good first step."

Hop to it, ARM! Why are you wasting your time writing comments on a blog -- make it so.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Beloved Commenter AReasonableMan said...

Switzerland's current gun laws are consistent with a well-regulated militia. Implementing those laws here would be a good first step.

The second amendment does not apply to Switzerland, and English is not one of their official languages. The second amendment does apply here, and English is our official language. So you have no excuse for not understanding that the first clause justifies, but does not limit, the second.

John said...

Virgil

Even with 33m gun suicides we still have a lower suicide rate than many more enlightened countries where gun are banned. Canada and England are 2 that I recall from research in years gone by.

John Henry

Angle-Dyne, Angelic Buzzard said...

Mike: Go ahead Democrats. Run on this. Let slip the cries of, “Repeal the 2nd!”

I'm delighted with this current well-funded, well-orchestrated, well-covered, anti-gun hoopla. Keep it up, guys. But louder, please. And angrier. And more upfront about your intentions, as this Stevens' piece exemplifies so admirably.

Don't stop now, guys. (Though it's OK if you take a little rest after November.)

tcrosse said...

Switzerland's current gun laws are consistent with a well-regulated militia. Implementing those laws here would be a good first step.

OTOH you might not care for the Swiss immigration laws. But shouldn't we implement them, as well ?

David Begley said...

Stevens was the same guy who agreed with the EPA that carbon dioxide was a pollutant within the meaning of the Clean Air Act.

Didn't President Ford say Stevens was his worst mistake?

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

I still want to know if the bully-boy who is pimped by the media(D) was the same bully boy who bullied the shooter in Parkland.

dreams said...

John Paul Stevens is well beyond his past due date. Buh-bye John Paul Stevens.

David Begley said...

The NYT should ask Althouse for an op-ed (paid, of course) on the use of children in politics.

We need a poll on this!

Kevin said...

"[Roe] has provided [Planned Parenthood] with a propaganda weapon of immense power."

Someone of Stevens' stature should know that if your argument can't withstand being used against you by your political opponents, you're making demands, not statements based on logic or reason.

His entire argument breaks down to the lowest common denominator of "do it for the children", which is an argument devoid of inherent logic.

Fritz said...

surfed said...
Ok. Where's that NRA application form? It's time. I dislike joining groups. Have since the 1960's. But it's time. Sigh.


Just google NRA. It's on their home page, of course. I renewed my lapsed membership yesterday, and I haven't shot a gun in years. I just want to preserve my right to do so. I might even go out and by an AR 15 to keep in the closet.

John said...

Ignorance,

English is NOT our official language.

The first amendment gives us the right to speak any language. It even gives us the right to speak gibberish. As in encryption.

A lot of people, not you, don't seem to understand that does not protect any right to be listened to or taken seriously.

John Henry

Ron Winkleheimer said...

“[M]an has been accustomed, ever since he was a boy, to having a dozen incompatible philosophies dancing about together inside his head. He doesn't think of doctrines as primarily "true" or "false," but as "academic" or "practical," "outworn" or "contemporary," "conventional" or "ruthless." Jargon, not argument, is your best ally in keeping him from the Church. Don't waste time trying to make him think that materialism is true! Make him think it is strong or stark or courageous—that it is the philosophy of the future. That's the sort of thing he cares about.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

Fernandistein said...

Retired judges should be seen and not heard - just like those stupid kids.

Roger Sweeny said...

97 years old? Supreme Court Justices seem to live a long time. But as Mel Brooks, playing Louis XVI, in History of the World, Part 1, says, "It's good to be king" (even if you're only one of nine kings).

Kevin said...

Frankly I hope they do change tactics and go for repeal. It's far more truthful and more likely to show them the futility of their efforts.

We are not ending abortion in this country, and we are not getting rid of the right to own a gun. America would be better putting each of those efforts aside for a generation so we could get on with the business of dealing with all the other problems in the country.

Etienne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Big Mike said...

And let's get rid of the First while we're at it!

Right on, Phil, and the Fifth while we’re at it. What’s a little waterboarding when the government is searching for the truth?

And absolutely the 19th.

The Drill SGT said...

Random thoughts.

1. prohibiting civilian ownership of semiautomatic weapons,

That of course is perhaps 80% of the weapons in the country including many shotguns, most pistols and nearly all rifles. Is that what they want or is that Elitist lack of gun knowledge?

2. Why repeal the 2A? Don't they just need 5 liberals on the SCOTUS with the lack of shame to tell us it doesn't exist?

3. There is no F'ing way you'd ever get those Red state legislatures to sign up for a gun ban.

4. How exactly are you going to collect these 300 million guns in private hands? By kicking down 150 million doors in the middle of the night? Expect high losses and desertions.

5. On Switzerland's gun laws...The part about a 100% draft, send reservists home with real automatic weapons and ammo? How bout we start the test by going with Switzerland's immigration system first?

Trumpit said...

Outlaw hunting, trapping, and the fur trade. Animals have a right to life, liberty, and wild spaces. Michael-types who believe differently are killers, and should be stoned to death as indicated below.

People who commit murders with guns, by morphine poisoning, strangulation, or any other method, should be stoned to death. The exact type of stone used will depend on the heinousness of the crime, or we can decide on a particular type of stone, e.g., smooth river stones, to allow for the uniform administration of justice.

If you want to prevent mass shootings by crazed killers, then single shot muskets should be the only type of gun permitted. If it was good enough for use during the American War of Independence, then it is good enough for me.

The killing by Sacramento, California police of a young black man, Stephon Clark, armed with an iPhone is beyond unacceptable. It was an execution.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Musket

Ralph L said...

Didn't President Ford say Stevens was his worst mistake?

Ike said that about Earl Warren, but Ford might have done also.

Big Mike said...

But what does Stevens propose as the next step? Maybe guys in black uniforms with big old jackboots — and red armbands, like the Hogg kids were pushing — kicking down doors in the middle of the night?

Matthew Sablan said...

"If you want to prevent mass shootings by crazed killers, then single shot muskets should be the only type of gun permitted."

-- Are you willing to restrict the First Amendment to old-time printing presses and not the Internet, radio or television, or do you only imagine the Second Amendment time-locked to the technology of the day? What about the Fourth Amendment? Clearly, robotic surveillance shouldn't be caught up in the rules of the Fourth Amendment, it only applies to those things which the government at the time could foresee.

Gahrie said...

Didn't President Ford say Stevens was his worst mistake?

Ike said that about Earl Warren, but Ford might have done also.


Ford actually claimed to be proud of the nomination in 2005.

MountainMan said...

"And I live in Arizona not Baltimore or Missouri (no city in Arizona makes the top 30 for murder rates). The gun grabbers do not understand these stats. Real gun control has zero chance of passing while these stats remain what they are."

From some data I saw recently, 54% of the counties in the US had no murders. 51% of all murders were in just 2% of the counties. Most of these murders occur in cities controlled by Democrats. Big offenders are cities like Detroit, St. Louis, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Baltimore, etc. I think Baltimore has the highest rate per 100,000, while Chicago has the most murders. If you remove just the murders in the 10 most dangerous cities in the country the US actually has one of the lowest rates of murder in the world. And most murders in these cities are with handguns, not long guns. There are actually more murders with blunt instruments and knives than with long guns.

ARM first comment above is not consistent with the data and the facts nor with the trends in understanding the 2nd amendment that have developed over the past 30 years or so. John Lott and Glenn Reynolds have written a lot about this.

I am not currently a gun owner nor a member of the NRA (but may become one soon) . I live in a small town in the mountains of East TN most of the time. My neighborhood in town and the town itself is very safe. But if I was to move out into the county, especially to some of the more remote and mountainous areas - there are some really nice houses up in the hills and hollows - I would not live there without a concealed carry permit and a rifle of some sort. Most county roads are narrow and winding and it could take a sheriff's deputy a good while to get to me if I needed him. Best to be prepared.

pacwest said...

Holy crap! I'm stunned by this. Mob rule is better than any form of government I guess. Just wow.

Etienne said...

If you want to prevent mass shootings by crazed killers, then either commit them to institutions, or put them to sleep like Germany did.

rehajm said...

Kids are inexperienced adults. Adjust accordingly...

Leland said...

5. Rights discourse can actually impede progressive movement for genuine democracy and justice.

I always thought the entire point. That an individual has inalienable rights meant that mob rule, aka genuine democracy, couldn't just take away those rights even in the name of "justice".

Now a couple of kids can mob up, harass a kid until he decides to take some of their lives, and then the mob can turn on the rest of society and harass it to follow their demands.

dbp said...

"Similarly, some people currently believe that guns make them safer, but the epidemiology argues otherwise."

Arguable that this is even true on a micro-scale, where guns are used defensively and these harm-prevention uses are under counted.

On a macro-scale, certainly false. Every murder is a tragedy, but criminals are pretty bad at it compared to governments. It would take US criminals literally thousands of years, at current homicide rates, to equal what dictatorships did in a year or two. Widespread private firearm ownership is a vaccine against genocidal government.

Chuck said...

Great post, Althouse.

I can always tell, when a politician or a judge knows next to nothing about guns, when I hear them blandly talk about banning all semi-automatic weapons.

I am guessing that when Justice Scalia went duck hunting for the last time, his shotgun may have been a semi-auto. The handguns that thousands of women who are licensed to carry as a concealed pistol; semi-auto. There are thousands of Boys Scouts who learned to target shoot as 25 yards with a semi-auto .22 carbine.

rehajm said...

We gave Stevens lots of power so I think its reasonable to expect him to pontificate on his power trip fantasies on the way out.

He's also worried the wrong justicies are on their way out too.

brylun said...

"People who commit murders with guns, by morphine poisoning, strangulation, or any other method, should be stoned to death.

Except for black murderers in Chicago, for example, right Trumpit?

narayanan said...

Professor - you say "I am very sad to see Justice Stevens writing like that"

Can you point to any other of his writing that would elicit admiration?

Even if 2A is put in jeopardy, Americans can take recourse to 9A - enumeration is not the be all or end all. based on 9A the list is a quick reference not exhaustive.

Ann Althouse said...

"So repealing the second amendment, or any amendment in the BoR, would just return the right to common-law status, wouldnt it?"

Statutes would trump common law. The power of the constitutional law is to trump statutory law and common law.

The absence of a Second Amendment would mean that guns were banned (depending on the language of the repealing amendment), but it would mean that a statute banning guns would not be trumped by a constitutional law right (unless you could finagle it out of something still in the Constitution).

tcrosse said...

That Hogg kid reminds me of the movie Children of the Revolution (1996) in which Stalin's love-child grows up in Australia. Hilarity ensues.

brylun said...

But suppose we had to rely on the authorities to protect us from criminals. The authorities would then have the power, as they do in many places, to make protection contingent upon cooperation, political support, payment, sex or whatever.

Think about it. This has never happened, has it?

Darrell said...

ARM's Swiss idea is a good one.

The army sells a variety of machine guns, submachine guns, anti-tank weapons, anti-aircraft guns, howitzers and cannons. Purchasers of these weapons require an easily obtained cantonal license, and the weapons are registered, In a nation of six million people, there are at least two million guns, including 600,00 fully automatic assault rifles, half a million pistols, and numerous machine guns. Virtually every home has a gun. (as of 1990)

Mike said...

I do find it surprising a retired Justice would put their name to such stupid arguments. We need to change the constitution because he doesn't like that the NRA has a voice in politics. That's what it boils down to. Oh, and by the way, we'll take all the guns too. What an ass.

John said...

Бар қаруды алып жүруге кепілдік, келіспесе, екінші түзетуде!!!!!

Or, in other words,

AS:

divd xgqrmbelmi, cxkjswf sw lyx mev mpjgmmyv pyxkskkc. dlc pmpcx ywilnqcxx eszcc yq dlc bmerx ry wnoei krw velqyyqi. gd itor eszcc yq dlc bmerx ry wnoei qmzlipswf. kw gx ilmvwzxgyr. y vsr yj nosnvi, lyx wyy, byr'r cicw xm erbovqdeln xfkx byiq xsr zvmdiad eli vgqlr ds zo pgcxcxib ds mb xyuil cipssscpw.y ilmsbo


(Just exercising my 1st Amendment guarantees)

John Henry

Henry said...

Overturning [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.

...

The absence of a Second Amendment would mean that guns were banned (depending on the language of the repealing amendment), but it would mean that a statute banning guns would not be trumped by a constitutional law right (unless you could finagle it out of something still in the Constitution).

Isn't this a strange mirroring of Roe v. Wade. Conservatives who wish to overturn Roe v. Wade make exactly the case that a statute should prevail (that's a clever parenthetical).

Larvell said...

I thought we had our rights whether or not they are enumerated. This was the argument against the bill of rights in the first place: that it would lead to a logic in which common law, un-enumerated rights would be disrespected.

I think it was more a question of power than of rights -- the idea was that a Bill of Rights was not necessary because the federal government was not given the power to legislate in such areas in the first place. A quaint notion, to be sure, and I'm glad that Madison et al. didn't go for it.

gilbar said...

I really doubt that Stevens was actually proposing a new amendment. I'm sure he just wanted to have a new majority that would castrate the 2nd amendment (and then the 1st).

Why worry about amendments when you think the constitution is a 'living document'?

Yet another day to thank GOD that Hillary isn't President

Trumpit said...

"People who commit murders with guns, by morphine poisoning, strangulation, or any other method, should be stoned to death.

"Except for black murderers in Chicago, for example, right Trumpit?"

Your comment is racist and I won't dignify it with a response.

Humperdink said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
EDH said...

If Saturday Night Live really wanted to make President Ford look like a buffoon, they should have had Chevy Chase appointing John Paul Stevens instead of Chase clumsily falling down all over the place.

mezzrow said...

There seems to be a lot of folks working hard on the left to build GOP turnout in the fall elections. I wonder what it is that keeps the people responsible from seeing this point?

Humperdink said...

The Drill SGT asked: "How exactly are you going to collect these 300 million guns in private hands? By kicking down 150 million doors in the middle of the night?"

One door at time. Once words get around, sheep will start turning their guns in. And the feds know where they. And now physicians are asking whether guns are in the house. The hard core won't turn their gun in, but that number will dwindle as time goes on. And then it will get interesting.

Curious George said...

"Young people, not emotionally tied to outdated ideas, will change perceptions in the population as a whole over time and the second amendment will increasingly be seen as hopelessly outdated, an artifact of another time."

The first step on the road to slavery.

Matthew Sablan said...

"And now physicians are asking whether guns are in the house."

-- If a doctor asked me that, I'd have to act completely stumped. "Do you think I'm allergic to guns, doctor?"

John said...

Blogger pacwest said...

Mob rule is better than any form of government I guess. Just wow.

Democracy IS mob rule.

That is why, in the US, we have so many Constitutional safeguards against it.

Thank Heavens for the wisdom of our founding fathers.

John Henry

robother said...

Justice Stevens knows a quicker way to repeal the Second Amendment: get 5 SCOTUS Justices to agree. Since Roe v. Wade, that's the quick and dirty way to amend the Constitution. And, unlike, the rest of the Constitutional text, a 5 Justice Amendment can never be repealed, even by a new 5 Justice majority, because.... Well, just because.

Henry said...

Overturning [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.

Stevens' concept is a perfect example of the type of magical thinking endemic on this issue. At this very moment many many states have constitutionally-permitted gun regulations that apply background checks, sometimes apply permit-to-purchase, limit gun license reciprocity, etc.

As a result there is a well-document flow of guns from legal sales in states with laxer regulations to illegal possession and use in states with more stringent regulations. Nothing in Stevens' proposal, crazily ambitious as it is, would change this fact.

Fernandistein said...

Using children reminded me of
"Lisa no! Your hands are too weak!"

President-Mom-Jeans said...

97 years old huh? Hell is keeping a spot extra warm for when this senile old commie cunt dies in a pool of his own urine and feces.

I have a bottle of 16 year old Lagavulin with his name on it to mark the happy occasion sitting at the ready. Hopefully will not have to wait long.

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

I bet the Public School system in Switzerland is much better than ours. Ours is run mostly by democrats and other assorted bureaucratic taker flunkies.

brylun said...

Trumpit, most gun murders are committed by blacks. See here for example.

Therefore, your solution to stone to death these murderers is cruel and unusual punishment and extremely racist.

Humperdink said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
walter said...

"That simple but dramatic action would move Saturday’s marchers closer to their objective than any other possible reform. "

..because their emotional, uninformed and myopic desires must be appeased.
His intellect took him to the SCOTUS?

Humperdink said...

"-- If a doctor asked me that, I'd have to act completely stumped. "Do you think I'm allergic to guns, doctor?"

My stepson took his newborn to their pediatrician. That was one of the questions he asked. They walked out at that point and found another doctor.

Etienne said...

How exactly are you going to collect these 300 million guns in private hands?

That part would be easy. You don't see Branch Davidian's with guns anymore.

gspencer said...

Go ahead, lefties, do what you want to do, namely, repeal the 2d Am. You want it gone; you know you want it gone; and we know you want it gone. You're just gutless to say that aloud because of the great unwashed would soon enough realize that you really aren't for them, that you're on the side of government controlling the people.

But still, put your money where Stevens' mouth is. Slog through the Article V process and get Congress to propose a repealing amendment, and if successful in getting that 2/3rds vote head out to the states and get 75% of them, 38 in number, to agree. As far left as this country has been taken by the anti-freedom left, you couldn't even approach that number.

The Cracker Emcee Classic said...

Every gun-control surge in my lifetime has a tipping point where it turns into a GOP GOTV drive. This one has reached that point. The GOP, stupid but lucky!

John said...

Blogger Ann Althouse said...


The absence of a Second Amendment would mean that guns were banned

Shouldn't that be "would NOT mean...", Ann?

Otherwise it does not make any sense to me.

John Henry

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Repeal the 2nd amendment? Good luck with that. That horse has been out of the barn for several hundred years now.

In fact it is now a HERD of horses and I don't think they are willingly going to be put back into the barn.



gspencer said...

"Well, Article V has two methods. We'll do the other way, getting 2/3rds of the states to have a convention of the states. And if we do it that way, you won't recognize the new constitution to be written. It won't have any resemblance to the 1787 version."

gilbar said...

so Stevens wanted to alter the 2nd so that it 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.'"

Think how that would have simplified things (and Saved Lives!)
When the Colonists went to Concord for their cannons , the government could have just announced that the Militia had been disbanded; since the Colonists would have no longer been serving in the Militia, they would have just turned around and gone home. An Entire bloody war would have been prevented, and we could have gone on serving our German King George from Hanover.

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

Who inspires more violence? Hillarywood or the NRA?

It's kids and very young adults who are commuting these mass murders and school shootings. The hacks rush to blame Rubio and the NRA and any conservative they can find - but fail to note that these kids have nothing to do with the NRA. These kids are part of the Hillarywoodland culture of violent video games, TV and Hollywood movie violence. That's our culture. Breaking Bad is the culture the left give us.

Why just the other night on a local TV station some young kid was eating brains. That's healthy.

Blame the NRA for that.

Char Char Binks said...

Repeal the 14th. America for Americans.

walter said...

Matthew Sablan said...
-- If a doctor asked me that, I'd have to act completely stumped. "Do you think I'm allergic to guns, doctor?"
--
"oh, don't worry doc. If you mess up, I'll just sue"

Michael said...

"Young people, not emotionally tied to outdated ideas, will change perceptions in the population as a whole over time and the second amendment will increasingly be seen as hopelessly outdated, an artifact of another time."

Except young people do not stay young. And the fun of youthful protest shifts always from anti war ( how many wars since Vietnam?) to pussy hats ( remember those) to hashtag this and hashtag that.

And note that ARM wishes the adoption of Swiss style gun laws as a "first step."

These people always have a second step in mind.

Rory said...

Any amendment can be repealed or changed. Constitutional amendment is just legislation on a grand scale. There is art to legislation - if you want something, you usually have to give up something that the other side wants. I think the 2nd Amendment is valuable, but will listen to a reasonable offer if anyone ever actually makes one.

John said...

Speaking of how hard it is to get an amendment passed, getting one for equal rights for women should be a slam dunk, right? Not necessary or even smart but who could publicly disagree?

ERA has been kicking around since the 70s without being ratified. Now it is being dragged out again by the usual suspects.

Maybe this time is the charm?

https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2018/03/metoo-has-revived-the-equal-rights-amendment/

John Henry

Amadeus 48 said...

Stevens at 55 when he joined the Supreme Court was thinking the same things he thinks at 97...he and his friends will prescribe policy that is wiser and better than anything you think.

Chuck said...


Ann Althouse said...
"So repealing the second amendment, or any amendment in the BoR, would just return the right to common-law status, wouldnt it?"

Statutes would trump common law. The power of the constitutional law is to trump statutory law and common law.

The absence of a Second Amendment would mean that guns were banned (depending on the language of the repealing amendment), but it would mean that a statute banning guns would not be trumped by a constitutional law right (unless you could finagle it out of something still in the Constitution).


All correct, however Althouse no doubt meant to write, "The absence of a Second Amendment would not mean that guns were banned..."

The question for the federalism nerds (the highest-ranking federalism nerd here being our hostess herself) would be whether a federal statue banning guns could trump a state's protection of guns that are manufactured, sold, purchased and used only in that state. Not involved in interstate commerce at all. I think Althouse knows exactly where that case would go, based on the long line of cases developing Wickard v Filburn.

John said...

Rory said...

I think the 2nd Amendment is valuable, but will listen to a reasonable offer if anyone ever actually makes one.

examples?

What would you be willing to accept in return for giving up your 2A guarantees?

John Henry

FIDO said...

I am somewhat amazed.

J. Howard Marshall married Anna Nicole Smith. She was hot, she was attentive, she couldn't SPEND all his money and yet he was treated as insane. He liked looking at pretty women and so he got one. Blue Stockings like Ms. Althouse can be disdainful but it is his money.

Bruce Jenner hacks off his wedding tackle and he is NOT considered perhaps someone with late stage dementia, but a paragon of courage.

Stevens writes this and no one considers if maybe he is a bit off his meds or engaging at screaming at the kids to Get Off His Constitution!

Age, as they said in the Paper Chase, does not always bring wisdom.

Fernandistein said...

N.R.A.’s ability to stymie legislative debate

Those little rascals!

John Pickering said...

Ann is sad to see Justice Stevens take such views. And oh my gosh who knew Ann was such a snowflake:

If they can take away your Second Amendment rights, they may come for your freedom of religion next, they can take away your freedom of speech, you right to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures — whatever they like, whatever they think stands in their way.

Here "they" come, seizing whatever stands in their way! Ha! Hey Ann, you like to pretend to care about precision in language: who are "they"? What do they "like" What stands in their way? Maybe it's Ann and her readers, arming themselves against the power of the federal government. Hurry down to the Wal-Mart before they ban the bump stocks!

Instead, Ann stands with her classy readers:

this senile old commie cunt dies in a pool of his own urine and feces.

Char Char Binks said...

"The second amendment does not apply to Switzerland"

Rights are universal and unalienable. Remember, we don't have rights because of our Constitution. It's the other way around.

Rory said...

JH: I'm content with the Second Amendment. It's up to the changers to make an offer for it.

John said...

I graduated from Marshall High in Falls Church VA in 66. One Saturday afternoon a couple of buddies and I visited a used cannon lot in Alexandria.

One of them had gotten in mind to buy an M-3, 37mm, Anti-tank cannon. They had a number of them on the lot along with a lot of bigger stuff. My recollection is that they were about $2-300 each. Well used, WWII surplus but still functional. They also had shells for them but I don't remember the price.

At the time, had my buddy had the cash, we could have driven it and 100 rounds of ammo home with no questions asked. There were no regulations at all governing sale.

Unfortunately, we could not come up with the cash and went home empty handed.

Had we been able to purchase it, think of the danger of a trio of not quite 18 year olds with an anti-tank gun, anti-tank ammo and not the first idea how to load and fire it. (Can't be that hard, we could have figured it out, I am sure!) Our idea was to drive it to a an old quarry where people used to go for target practice and blow show shit up!

I am sure many other teenagers had similar ideas. Some probably even had the cash to do it. Yet we never heard of any problems, did we?

My father thought it was a pretty dumb idea because where are you going to keep it in a suburban tract house?

John Henry

Drago said...

Lefties: No one is trying to take away all of your guns you paranoid deplorable murdering NRA crazies!!!

Also Lefties: "Abolish the 2nd Amendment and disband the NRA and punish gun manfacturers NOW!!!

HoodlumDoodlum said...

YOUR rights are negotiable & contingent (in addition to being indeterminate & incoherent).
MY rights are sacrosanct and inviolable.

YOUR rights (2nd Amendment, real 1st Amendment, some real personal/individual retention unde the 10th) are old & dusty & rely on outdated modes of thinking and belief.
MY rights (gay marriage, abortion on demand at any point of fetal development, affirmative action) are proper and just and on the right side of history.

Same as it ever was.


I bought around 500 rounds of ammo in the last week. Totally unrelated to the recent willingness of people like Stevens to crow about their fervent desire to infringe on my basic civil rights, of course. No link at all.

walter said...

"guns that are manufactured, sold, purchased and used only in that state"
If guns can kill, they can certainly hop in a car and drive themselves across state lines..all the while engaging in an activity far more likely to kill someone.

Michael said...g. And the fun of youthful protest shifts always from anti war ( how many wars since Vietnam?) to pussy hats ( remember those) to hashtag this and hashtag that.
--
Remember them? They were at the march for madness..along with other opportunist types.

Oso Negro said...

Oso Negro, 61-year-old citizen writes - "come and fucking take them"

FIDO said...

This can't be done legislatively. It can't be done 'properly'.

This is a blatant attempt to make cultural room to do it improperly. Hillary and some Pet Justices.

If you make people criminals for formerly legal acts, all those red yahoos who surround those Blue cities might want to have words with you.

Why is the Left trying so hard to foment civil war?

John said...

Blogger Rory said...

JH: I'm content with the Second Amendment. It's up to the changers to make an offer for it.

That is how I read your note. I just can't conceive of any possible offer that would induce you, me or anyone else who believes in it to give it up.

Can you?

John Henry

Beloved Commenter AReasonableMan said...

Darrell said...
(as of 1990)


Might want to update your references at some point, although you do illustrate my point about how ideas change over time perfectly. The Swiss currently have a well regulated militia and gun laws that are much more sensible than our own.

Justice Stevens' views are extreme and unhelpful. There is, unfortunately, extremism on both sides of this debate. There is nothing inconsistent between a well regulated militia and safer gun laws.

mockturtle said...

We must, by all means, heed the collective wisdom of student demonstrations.

Unknown said...

Not being a Supreme Court watcher, or close follower of its members, can someone tell me if Stevens is considered to have been a good to excellent jurist in his time on the Court? I ask because the sense I get from Althouse's critique is that he is a sloppy thinker that rejects the established idea that the Law and Government are subordinate to the People and their rights.

-sw

Etienne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Etienne said...

My mother used to send me to the store on my bike, to buy her a carton of cigarettes.

I would go to the clerk and say "My mom needs a carton of Lucky Strikes," and then lay out the money. The clerk would say: "who's your mother?"

That's all it took. The clerk knew who my mother was.

Last week I saw the police shut down a corner store with police tape, and haul off the owner in handcuffs. It turns out he sold cigarettes to a kid who was actually involved in a covert sting operation by the County Sheriff's office.

"He said they were for his mother!" he cried in his Pakistani accent...

mockturtle said...

Etienne, common sense hath fled to brutish beasts.

Darrell said...

So ARM--

Are you saying that the Swiss civilian guard DOESN'T have fully automatic military-grade weapons in their homes? Or that the Swiss Army DOESN'T sell a variety of machine guns, submachine guns, anti-tank weapons, anti-aircraft guns, howitzers and cannons to civilians? Or that purchasers of these weapons CAN'T easily obtain cantonal license?

How about some 2018 links? Or address the issue that Americans should be allowed to own front-line military weapons too. You never know when the Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources SWAT team is going to show up to shoot Giggles, do you?

Chris N said...

I’ve assumed without much evidence that race relations in Florida, the violence there, the ineptitude of many teachers, officials, and...adults in Miami, have contributed to this crusade. People want some explanation and something to fill the hole after a tragedy, some common purpose and reason to come together and activism is filling the hole. It’s being amplified by all the usual suspects.

Never mind that kids are being mobilized and easily exploited, that they have many facts wrong and dim understandings, that the activist logic will one day be turned on them as it always is...for now, they have joined a mob.

When a mob comes to your door, best to have a gun.

If there’s some truth in these observations, then doddering, distant woolly heads with plans for the rest of us need to be reminded their job was one of stewardship, not people and attitude management; ginning up mobs like a demagogic politician.

Chuck said...

Oh; one more canard from the gun-banners...

There's that old comparison about muskets, versus modern assault weapons. (See the photo illustrations leading the NYT op-ed by Stevens.) Going something like, "the Founding Fathers could never have intended that Constitutional protections would be given to killing machines like an AR-15; indeed the Constitutional protection doesn't guarantee the right to keep and bear a bazooka, or a Thompson submachine gun or a .50 cal. quad...

But the muskets of 1789 were the AR-15's of their day. They were the finest light infantry weapons on earth.

Again, it's people who don't know much about guns, talking about legislating limits on them.

hawkeyedjb said...

As Jordan Peterson has said, we shouldn't put too much stock in the wishes of kids whose current fads include eating Tide pods.

mockturtle said...

Right you are, Chuck. My personal opinion is that anti-gun folk are not just ignorant about firearms but are terrified of them because they cannot imagine themselves using them safely.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

I'm no Jerry Miculek but given practice I bet I can get pretty good with a revolver.
I mean it's just scary semi-automatics you guys are after, right?

S&W 686 is 7 rounds of .357 It's not scary, though. No sir.

javabeast said...

Repeal the 23rd!

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

We have all sorts of gun laws and background check laws.. The D-bureaucratic flunkies in charge do not follow the rules or the laws. Too busy yanking off for tax payer paychecks. So what do the D-left demand? More laws!

Chuck said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bob Boyd said...

A lot of anti-gunners flaunt their ignorance, even exaggerate it, as a virtue signal. For a liberal these days, to know even the most basic gun terminology is to reveal a moral stain or worse, rural roots.

Bob Boyd said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
gspencer said...

Etienne, I too remember the days when I'd be sent down the street to get my dad a "pack of smokes." And the ones he wanted weren't any of those mamby-pamby ones either, like the ones with filters or menthol. For him it was Camels, Old Gold, Chesterfields.

No clerk ever gave me a hassle. And when I went to the hardware store down the other street I could buy any knife they had available along with any pistol or rifle being sold. But if I didn't like what they were selling I could pick up an old copy of Boys Life or Popular Mechanics and send away for whatever gun I wanted.

Gahrie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chuck said...

I wrote the phrase "assault weapons" above, and failed to use scare quotes around "assault weapons." If ever there was an occasion to deploy scare quotes, it is around "assault weapons."

I don't like the Mark Levin radio show but I heard a bit of it last night. They had a very well-produced segment in which a reporter/producer went around to participants at the anti-gun rally in Washington (New York? Elsewhere?) asking them "Do you know what an assault weapon is?", and the answers were predictably hilarious. If you can locate it within the 3/26 "rewind" podcast, I recommend it.

Michael K said...

Animals have a right to life, liberty, and wild spaces. Michael-types who believe differently are killers, and should be stoned to death as indicated below.

The crazy commenter who should not be allowed to own a gun lest he drive to Virginia and shoot up Republicans, favors us with an internally contradictory sample of his thinking. Aren't "Michael types" animals and therefore have rights ?

Aja said...

When I see the Left politicizing these kids,it reminds me of the Palestinian Intifada movement. Weaponizing children for political expediency should not be a surprising goal of progressives. Let the children become the new”True Believers”. Eric Hoffer would be having a seizure.

jimbino said...

Stevens is an illustration of why we shouldn't be elevating English and other humanities majors to the Supreme Court, where there's always been a dearth of STEM majors.

John said...

Blogger HoodlumDoodlum said...

I'm no Jerry Miculek but given practice I bet I can get pretty good with a revolver.
I mean it's just scary semi-automatics you guys are after, right?

Semi-automatic is generally defined to mean a gun that fires, reloads and recocks after every trigger pull. That can be fired multiple times just by pulling the trigger multiple times.

An AR-15 and most other semi-automatics do this using blowback gas from the muzzle. An S&W revolver does it entirely mechanically. Some people claim that, because a revolver is mechanical rather than by gas, it is not "semi-automatic".

I fail to see the difference.

Also, some revolvers are operated by gas blowback. If you put a drum magazine on an AR-15 (or this really cool fully automatic Russian shotgun https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOoUVeyaY_8 )does that make it a "revolver"? ALso, check the guy's T-shirt "I hear voices in my head and they speak Russian"

So are you OK with me keeping my fully automatic 12 gauge "revolver"? But not my semi-auto AR15?


Semantics around guns, especially with people who don't know much about them and are unwilling to learn, can be hilarious.

John Henry

Bruce Hayden said...

"One door at time. Once words get around, sheep will start turning their guns in. And the feds know where they. And now physicians are asking whether guns are in the house. The hard core won't turn their gun in, but that number will dwindle as time goes on. And then it will get interesting."

No, the Feds don't. They know the first FFL that a gun was sold through. That is computerized. But they have to go to the FFL to get the name and address of the actual purchaser, if he didn't turn in his warranty paperwork. And, FFLs have the paperwork when guns are resold by merchants, but the Feds don't have that information, until they ask the specific FFL for that. But, importantly, FFLs have no legal requirement to do anything except keep paper records until the govt comes calling. And the govt is legally limited to how they can ask for those records, so can't just order them turned over en mass. Besides, it has been pointed out that there would likely be a rash of my unfortunate fires of FFL records if that ever happened. Besides, outside gun grabbing states, there are typically no legal requirements for keeping any paperwork, whatsoever, for private sales, unless you are in the business of selling guns (and thus need a FFL). And that means that you can always tell the Feds at the door that you sold that gun, and don't remember to whom. Or, if you didn't, then had an unfortunate boating accident and all those guns are at the bottom of a lake. Of course, Congress could change those laws, but that would be > 300,000,000 guns too late...

YoungHegelian said...

Great Move, NYT!

Give some addled-old liberal SCOTUS judge a world-wide platform where he comes right out & says "Repeal the 2A!".

The NRA woke up this morning & found a big gift sitting all wrapped in a bow on their desk. "Is it Christmas already?" they asked.

I believe that this article in the NYT will be seen in retrospect as a "tipping event" that galvanized the GOP base to vote in the 2018 mid-terms. I'm predicting right now -- the GOP will hold both the House & Senate.

Gahrie said...

ERA has been kicking around since the 70s without being ratified

Article the First has been kicking around since 1789 without being ratified. (and is still active...it could still be ratified). The deadline to ratify the ERA has passed.

Gahrie said...

There is nothing inconsistent between a well regulated militia and safer gun laws.

The Second Amendment is not about the militia. The militia was created and organized by Article I Section 8 of the Constitution. I am also amused by the concentration on the dictum of "well regulated militia" and the ignoring of "shall not be infringed".

It must also be noted that the Constitution was originally a document of enumerated powers. This means that if the Constitution did not give the power to do something, the government couldn't do it. Nothing in the Constitution gives the government the power to take our guns, so the government can't take our guns.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

ARM said...There is nothing inconsistent between a well regulated militia and safer gun laws.

There's nothing inconsistent between a right to privacy and safer abortion laws.

There's nothing inconsistent between freedom of expression and safer anti-hate speech laws.

You wanna get nuts? Let's get nuts!

Gahrie said...

No need to repeal, given its ambiguous wording.

What is ambiguous about "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed"?

Beloved Commenter AReasonableMan said...

Well, for starters, there is a vast amount of regulation that has passed constitutional muster that is currently infringing on the right to bear arms. The definition of arms is quite vague, explosives are arms, as are anti-aircraft guns.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

ARM said...Young people, not emotionally tied to outdated ideas, will change perceptions in the population as a whole over time and the second amendment will increasingly be seen as hopelessly outdated, an artifact of another time. No need to repeal, given its ambiguous wording.

That last sentence is really something else. "No need to be honest, given the ability to achieve our goals through dishonesty."

Is abusing (alleged) ambiguity to bypass the wishes of millions of your fellow Americans something you're proud of, as a tactic?

Sebastian said...

Late to the party, but:

"I am very sad to see Justice Stevens writing like that"

I am pleased to see Stevens writing like that.

He is an above-board prog: transparent in his disdain for free association in support of existing constitutional rights, clear about his prior attempt to get rid of the rights by judicial imposition, and honest in calling for a constitutional amendment to stick it to the deplorables once and for all.

But progs know better than to take his advice. They'll just wait until they can pack the court with allies and overturn Heller etc. by sheer force of will. Amendments are so 18th century. A tool of white supremacy, really.

Michael K said...

And that means that you can always tell the Feds at the door that you sold that gun, and don't remember to whom. Or, if you didn't, then had an unfortunate boating accident and all those guns are at the bottom of a lake.

When the malpractice crisis hit in 1975, we hired a well known malpractice lawyer for advice on what to do. He said, "Sell all your assets, buy a large diamond with the money and then, while on a trip to Mexico, accidentally drop the diamond into a sewer. At least that 's what you can tell the plaintiff lawyer who tries to sue you."

It would probably work with guns unless the sewer grate was too small.

David said...

Let's try to go easy on the old man.

Michael K said...

If ARM knew any history, he would know "The Militia" was all white males between 17 and 35.

The second amendment was also about keeping guns out of the hands of blacks.

buwaya said...

Re smoking -
Tobacco is a great drug. As drugs go.

It enhances mental performance, improves concentration, relieves fatigue. Tobacco, coffee and tea, all drugs (well, add sugar to that) were the early foundations of the mass value of international trade, those things that everyone eventually wanted, as opposed to luxuries for the wealthy.

I suspect that tobacco was a great boost to productivity and creativity on a population basis. Which we have lost.

I also suspect it has often been replaced with worse habits, overeating and other drugs. It is likely no accident that the obesity problem comes in when smoking goes out.

The price of tobacco is a statistical shortening of life, it almost always kills in old age or late middle age, when people are already least productive. It also thereby relieves strain on medical services for the elderly and reduces pension expense.

The general social cost of tobacco is thereby vastly misunderstood. It removes expensive, unproductive overhead, which consists of the maintenance of the elderly, and its costs are simply those of human mortality. Tobacco does not impose costs, it just brings on the inevitable end of life expense sooner.

The economic propaganda against tobacco, in stressing cost of care for the afflicted, was entirely disingenuous, malpractice by analysts who did know better.

Francisco D said...

If I read Justice Stevens correctly, I am encouraged by what he had to say.

He advocates using the democratic process to eliminate the Second Amendment rather than judicial fiat.

Steven Breyer (the most moderate of the SCOTUS left wing) believes that the Second Amendment does not give us the right to bear arms.

I will take Stevens' view over Breyer's any day.

We know that the American will never repeal the Second Amendment.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

ARM said...The definition of arms is quite vague, explosives are arms, as are anti-aircraft guns.

Ignorance or bullshit?
The 1939 Miller decision defined arms as weapons that would be useful for a citizen militia member to use in a battle (thus holding that short barreled shotguns could be restricted). That's pretty broad and would definitely include things like automatic weapons (though likely not AAA).
The 2008 Heller decision defined arms as all firearms commonly in use that aren't "dangerous and unusual." Since explosives & artillery aren't in common use they're out, and since something like a backyard nuke or nerve agent are by themselves dangerous they're out. You MIGHT backdoor a Constitutional ban on fully automatic weapons that way--by saying that they're not common now...but that's about as far as you could go. Modern sporting rifles (like the AR15) are extremely common and are not by themselves dangerous.

So yeah, everything's ambiguous if you ignore the clarifying definitions and rulings...but why would anyone intentionally do that?

JAORE said...

"And now physicians are asking whether guns are in the house."

-- If a doctor asked me that, I'd have to act completely stumped. "Do you think I'm allergic to guns, doctor?"

I've had my doc for a long time. He asks questions without even looking up from his tablet. He did look up when I responded, "Is there a tab for 'Go F' yourself, Doc.'".

By the way, those trying out the old musket meme, I agree with the comments above re: 1st Amendment.

To those that extend the argument that the Constitution was never meant to apply to weapons that had the ability to kill with more than a musket ball:

You should read the Constitution (yes, you really should) and American history re: Privateers.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

surfed said...Ok. Where's that NRA application form? It's time. I dislike joining groups. Have since the 1960's. But it's time. Sigh.

Gun Owners of America - Membership

NRA - Membership

John said...

Blogger Beloved Commenter AReasonableMan said...

The definition of arms is quite vague, explosives are arms, as are anti-aircraft guns.

Not sure if "munitions" and "Arms" are synonymous in terms of 2A protection but, up to the 90's encryption was regulated as a "munition" under federal law. The govt permitted weak encryption, up to 64bit, IIRC, but not strong encryption 128 bit, IIRC. Algore took point on trying to regulate it and to require that the NSA could break it.

Phil Zimmerman got in a lot of legal trouble for releasing a version of unbreakable RSA encryption called PGP for Pretty Good Privacy. Once it was widely distributed for free, the cat was out of the bag and the govt gave up the fight, more or less. It did take a while.

RSA is the encryption on which all electronic commercial transactions are based. It is, probably, unbreakable even by the NSA. Provided, of course, that it is used properly and the users don't make stupid mistakes.

I was very interested in it at the time and one of the arguments used in favor of encryption was that 1A guarantees us the right to speak in any language we wish, even gibberish. That argument never got to court, though since the issue became moot.

John Henry

walter said...

Buwaya,
Your suspicions take you down a dark road.

Kyzernick said...

Can we just have this civil war already? Let the bong'n'dildo waving, tide pod eating, gender confused numbskulls come to my doorstep wearing Antifa masks and threatening me with bottles of piss, demanding that I surrender my guns.

Let them try to push past me to unlawfully enter my castle, thereby threatening my life, wife, and property.

Let them eat high-velocity lead (not from a scary assault rifle, either - my pistols would do just fine).

Let their grieving friends take up more piss bottles and fake dongs and try again the next day.

Let their results be the same.

Let the cycle continue.

After about 600 days of me killing fools trying to unlawfully enter my house and take my guns, maybe the rest will just do what they ought and shut the fuck up.

That's a cross I'd be willing to bear if it meant we'd be rid of these asshats forever. Sign me up to be the first one these whiny leftist tools target.

Just give me warning so that I can buy a closetful of mops and bleach. After each days invasion and subsequent takedowns, I'd like to make sure my tile foyer is clean.

Beloved Commenter AReasonableMan said...

HoodlumDoodlum said...
So yeah, everything's ambiguous if you ignore the clarifying definitions and rulings


As you note, the restrictions have become more restrictive over time. If it was not possible to make even more restrictions all the hysteria about 'gun grabbers' gaining control of the Supreme Court would be mere hysteria. But, as all the effort that goes into avoiding this outcome reveals, this is not the case. Can't have it both ways.

Caligula said...

It's just not fair, he was on the Supreme Court! Why stop with the Second, when you could just mark-up all of it? Doesn't the position include a line-item veto?


But, please, take off that silly Napoleon hat. And be sure your mark-up has at least the voice-vote approval of at least one tenth-grade classroom.

Gahrie said...

Well, for starters, there is a vast amount of regulation that has passed constitutional muster that is currently infringing on the right to bear arms.

All since the 1930's. Prior to the Progressives, everyone understood the Second Amendment. You used to be able to buy a fully automatic machine gun through the mail from a newspaper advertisement. I would love a Supreme Court decision that retuned us to the original meaning of the Second Amendment.


The definition of arms is quite vague, explosives are arms, as are anti-aircraft guns.

Under the original meaning of the Second Amendment explosives and anti-aircraft guns would be legal. At the time the Second Amendment was written people could and did own cannon and other crew served weapons, modern naval vessels and the most advanced guns available.

The purpose of the Second Amendment was to give the people the ability to overthrow a tyrannical government the same way we did during the Revolutionary War.

buwaya said...

There is a reason for everything.
The anti-tobacco movement was expensive, and well financed.
The anti-gun movement likewise.
The global warming (anti cheap energy in fact) movement is extremely well financed.
Nothing like this is an accident, or spontaneous.

Chuck said...

Francisco D said...
If I read Justice Stevens correctly, I am encouraged by what he had to say.

He advocates using the democratic process to eliminate the Second Amendment rather than judicial fiat.

Steven Breyer (the most moderate of the SCOTUS left wing) believes that the Second Amendment does not give us the right to bear arms.

I will take Stevens' view over Breyer's any day.

We know that the American will never repeal the Second Amendment.


Correct.

Ditto, abortion.

Ditto, same-sex marriage.

Michael K said...

ARM has no experience with weapons of any kind other than words.

So much of the left is only vaguely aware of what stands in the way of their dreams of absolute mastery.

Imagine if China had had 300 million guns when the Red Guards began to take over and murder anyone with glasses or who owned land.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

The comments on that article are terrific.

A strong theme is the need to repeal Citizen's United. The group seems to sincerely believe that if not for evil secret spending by the NRA everyone would agree with them that(all) firearms should be effectively banned & the 2nd Amendment overturned.
Now I recognize I'm "out of the mainstream" of political opinion in this country--I know I don't agree with nice centrist folks on all sorts of issues. I have a general idea of the prevalence of those opinions generally, though; even where I don't agree with the majority I KNOW my opinion is in the minority.
These commenters, on the other hand, seem to really believe that everyone agrees with them and only a tiny minority funded by secret NRA dollars manages to thwart their desired political outcome. Never mind that anti-gun groups outspend the NRA by large multiples each year (not even counting free media/propaganda work by the Media), it simply MUST be true that their opponents are numerical inferior (tiny) but somehow cheating.
Hmmm...kinda like how they ignore the fact that the Clinton campaign massively outspent the Trump campaign, I guess.
Weird pattern, but seems like being that far out of touch is downright unhealthy.

It's good for me, of course--I love it when people I oppose make such mistakes. Keep writing, ya'll!

Gahrie said...

Isn't this a strange mirroring of Roe v. Wade. Conservatives who wish to overturn Roe v. Wade make exactly the case that a statute should prevail

The difference is, the right to own a gun is explicitly protected by the Second Amendment. Neither the Constitution nor the Bill of Rights even mentions a 'right" to privacy or an abortion.

The 'right' to an abortion depends upon the belief that the men who wrote and passed the 14th Amendment created a right to privacy that included a right to an abortion (without mentioning either one).

Gahrie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Birkel said...

Molon Labe.

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