AZUZ: A former U.S. Supreme Court justice is calling for a major change to the U.S. constitution and his suggestion has stirred up debate and controversy across America. Former Justice John Paul Stevens served on the high court from 1975 until he retired in 2010.
He recently wrote an opinion essay that was published this week in "The New York Times". In it, he said the demonstrators who participated in last weekend's March for Our Lives events should go a step further than demanding new restrictions on gun ownership in America. He said that they should demand a repeal of the Second Amendment.
That part of the U.S. Constitution says this: 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.
Stevens, in line with what many gun control advocates argue, suggests that the Second Amendment is talking about militias having the right to bear arms, and he says, quote, that concern is a relic of the 18th century. But in 2008, the Supreme Court established that the Second Amendment applies to the individuals' right to bear arms, in line with what many gun rights advocates argue.
Former Justice Stevens was on the Supreme Court at the time of that ruling. He was among those who dissented or disagreed with it.
Stevens wrote that repealing the Second Amendment altogether would make it easier to create new gun restrictions.
U.S. President Donald Trump who himself has called for some new restrictions on buying guns and certain gun components responded that the Second Amendment would never be repealed. The White House says that the nation should focus on getting weapons away from dangerous people but not on, quote, blocking all Americans from their constitutional rights.
And Republican and Democratic leaders in Congress, even those who support new gun restrictions have indicated they also support the Second Amendment.
The U.S. Constitution has been amended 27 times since it was signed in 1787. Experts say it's very difficult to do. And even if Congress or the individual states met the threshold for a new amendment or a constitutional convention, it's still take three-fourths of the states to ratify any changes to the Constitution. None of its first 10 amendments has ever been repealed or changed.