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Gun violence in the US

US must appeal Second Amendment in order to achieve gun control, urges ex-Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens

In 2008, then-Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens was on the losing end of a ruling that said the Second Amendment gives individuals the right to own a gun for self-defence

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 27 March, 2018, 11:53pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 28 March, 2018, 2:30am

Retired US Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens is calling for the repeal of the Second Amendment to allow for significant gun control legislation.

The 97-year-old Stevens said in an essay in The New York Times on Tuesday that a repeal would weaken the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) ability to “block constructive gun control legislation.”

In his essay, Stevens wrote about the “March for Our Lives” events on Saturday which drew crowds in cities across the country.

He said the demonstrations “reveal the broad public support for legislation to minimise the risk of mass killings of schoolchildren and others in our society.”

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He said the support “is a clear sign to lawmakers to enact legislation prohibiting civilian ownership of semi-automatic 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 Stevens called on demonstrators to “seek more effective and more lasting reform.”

“They should demand a repeal of the Second Amendment,” he wrote.

Stevens was on the losing end of a 2008 ruling in which the High Court held that the Second Amendment gives individuals the right to own a gun for self-defence. 

He had previously called for changing the Second Amendment to permit gun control.

Stevens says the decision in that case, “has provided the NRA with a propaganda weapon of immense power.” Stevens retired from the court in 2010, after more than 35 years.

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Repealing the amendment would be extremely difficult. 

An amendment to the constitution can only be proposed either by Congress with a two thirds vote in both houses or by a constitutional convention called for by two thirds of the state legislatures. 

The amendment then has to be approved by three quarters of the states.