Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens was appointed by Republican President Gerald Ford but grew to be one of the court's liberal leaders.
NRATV host Grant Stinchfield lashed out Tuesday against calls by retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens to repeal the Second Amendment.
“Do you see that? The repeal of the 2nd Amendment. From a man who once took an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution now admits he wants it dismantled!” Stinchfield said. “I have long said the ultimate goal of the left is the complete repeal of the 2nd Amendment. This is proof, my friends.”
Stevens’ call to action, which came in a New York Times opinion piece, shows how “the Left is committed to tearing America apart at the seams,” Stinchfield said.
“Justice Stevens, you may have been a Supreme Court justice, and I may just be a small voice for freedom, but you, sir, should be ashamed of yourself,” the NRA host continued. “Your words and your ultimate wish list is a disgrace to America and the values that we all hold dear.”
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Stevens, who was appointed by Republican President Gerald Ford but grew to be one of the court’s liberal leaders, commended the work of the March for Our Lives organizers in his op-ed and encouraged them “to seek more effective and more lasting reform” through a “repeal of the Second Amendment.” The 97-year-old justice called the amendment a “relic of the 18th century” designed to protect states’ rights rather than individual’s gun rights.
Stevens wrote, according to the op-ed:
“Concern that a national standing army might pose a threat to the security of the separate states led to the adoption of that amendment, which provides that “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.” Today that concern is a relic of the 18th century.
That simple but dramatic action would move Saturday’s marchers closer to their objective than any other possible reform. It would eliminate the only legal rule that protects sellers of firearms in the United States – unlike every other market in the world. It would make our schoolchildren safer than they have been since 2008 and honor the memories of the many, indeed far too many, victims of recent gun violence.”
The retired justice is somewhat of an expert on the second amendment, having considered its proper scope in the 2008 case District of Columbia v. Heller.
Before the case, which dealt with the Second Amendment’s reach, “no judge, federal or state . . . expressed any doubt as to the limited coverage of that amendment,” Stevens wrote in the opinion piece. He also took a jab at the NRA, quoting Warren Burger, who was chief justice of the Supreme Court from 1969 to 1986, as saying the NRA perpetrated “one of the greatest pieces of fraud, I repeat the word fraud, on the American public by special interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime.”
In District of Columbia v. Heller, the Supreme Court overturned Burger and other justices’ understanding of the Second Amendment, ruling that there was an individual right to bear arms. Stevens was among the four dissenters.
“That decision — which I remain convinced was wrong and certainly was debatable – has provided the N.R.A. with a propaganda weapon of immense power,” Stevens wrote. “Overturning that decision 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.”
But just 1 in 5 Americans support Stevens’ call to repeal the amendment, according to a survey conducted in February.
Groups that favor more gun control have actually scaled down their ambitions in recent years. According to The Washington Post’s Christopher Ingraham, advocates have moved away from the term “gun control” in favor of more specific language like “gun violence” and “gun safety.” And Democratic leaders in Congress have grown timid about proposing significant new restrictions on gun ownership.
Stevens opinion piece could work against the ultimate goal of passing more realistic gun-control measures, The Post’s Aaron Blake wrote. “This is exactly the kind of thing that motivates the right and signals to working-class swing voters that perhaps the Democratic Party and the political left doesn’t really get them.”
Others thought the call for repeal was an attempt to shift the public discourse. “Why can’t the NRA’s extremism be countered with equal extremism,” Vox’s German Lopez tweeted.
Stinchfield’s criticism of Stevens came four days after another NRATV host, Colion Noir, attacked the Parkland, Florida, teens leading the “March for Our Lives” in Washington on Saturday, telling them: “No one would know your names” if a student gunman hadn’t stormed into their school and killed 17 people.
“To all the kids from Parkland getting ready to use your First Amendment to attack everyone else’s Second Amendment at your march on Saturday, I wish a hero like Blaine Gaskill had been at Marjory Douglas High School last month because your classmates would still be alive and no one would know your names, because the media would have completely and utterly ignored your story, the way they ignored his,” Noir said.
Noir was referencing St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Deputy Blaine Gaskill, the 34-year-old SWAT-trained officer who engaged a teenager who shot his ex-girlfriend at Great Mills High School in Southern Maryland. Gatskill’s intervention, according to Noir, was an example of how the solution to gun violence should be “good guys with guns.”