Former Supreme Court justice John Paul Stevens on Tuesday called for the repeal of the Second Amendment, the constitutional right used to defend gun ownership.
Stevens, who retired from the high court in 2010 as one of the longest-serving justices in history, argued the Second Amendment had been warped by gun lobbyists at the National Rifle Association to extend beyond its original intent.
“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,” Stevens wrote in The New York Times.
He added: “But the demonstrators should seek more effective and more lasting reform. They should demand a repeal of the Second Amendment.”
Stevens pointed to District of Columbia v. Heller, the 2008 landmark case that protected an individual’s right to possess a firearm unconnected to a militia, as a turning point. The ruling — of which Stevens was a dissenter — overturned “long-settled understanding of the Second Amendment’s limited reach,” he said, and gave the National Rifle Association “a propaganda weapon of immense power.”
“Overturning that decision via a constitutional amendment to get rid of the Second Amendment would be simple and would do more to weaken the NRA’s ability to stymie legislative debate and block constructive gun control legislation than any other available option,” he wrote.
Stevens has received pushback over the op-ed.