Justice Stevens on gun violence and revising the Second Amendment

With poignant timing (as Kansas City mourns three deaths yesterday from a shooting spree by a KKK-linked gunman at a Jewish community center, and the nation this week marks the anniversaries of the Boston Marathon bombing and the Oklahoma City bombing), the Washington Post has a thought-provoking opinion piece from Justice Stevens, one of the long-serving justices in the Supreme Court's history (1975-2010), about how to revise the Second Amendment to bring it into conformity with its original meaning and address what he describes as the "ongoing national tragedy" of gun violence in the United States.

Citing the "the roughly 88 firearm-related deaths that occur every day," Justice Stevens expresses concern that "[a]s a result of the rulings in Heller and McDonald" — from which Justice Stevens dissented when he was on the Court — "the Second Amendment, which was adopted to protect the states from federal interference with their power to ensure that their militias were 'well regulated,' has given federal judges the ultimate power to determine the validity of state regulations of both civilian and militia-related uses of arms." Justice Stevens proposes that this "anomalous result can be avoided by adding five words to the text of the Second Amendment to make it unambiguously conform to the original intent of its draftsmen. As so amended, it would read: 'A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms when serving in the Militia shall not be infringed.'"

Read the entire essay here.