To Stevens, known as the justice that transformed from a Midwestern conservative to strong proponent of the political left, the time could be ripe to clarify the meaning of the right to bear arms. In fact, with three cases related to gun control set to be argued before the Supreme Court, he believes the justices should consider changing the Second Amendment — not an uncontroversial idea. Stevens explored that idea in his forthcoming book: Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution.
In both of the Supreme Court’s Heller rulings, Stevens dissented. He told Bloomberg that the authors of the constitution included the Second Amendment out of concerns that a national standing army could pose a threat to the sovereignty of the states, not to address homeowners’ fears about intruders. That disparity is his reasoning for the proposed change; the current interpretation of the right to bear arms does not align with the intentions of the country’s forefathers.
The former justice also explained the minute details of the Heller case. Most importantly, he told Bloomberg, the ruling does not prohibit federal, state, or local governments from restricting the ownership of large-capacity weapons like those used in mass shootings in Connecticut, Virginia, Colorado, and Arizona over the past few years. Furthermore, he claimed that Congress’s failure to pass gun control legislation is the fault of both elective politics and lobbying, according to Boomberg.
Regardless of whether the Heller decision was right or wrong, Stevens said that it ultimately pulled the issue of gun control out of the hands of elected politicians and placed it into the power of life-tenured federal judges.
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