Like it or hate it, the right to keep and bear arms is not going to be repealed.
Former Supreme Court justice John Paul Stevens, now retired, gave gun-control advocates false hope recently when he advocated repeal of the Second Amendment. Justice Stevens knows, or should know, that it can’t happen — not because the National Rifle Association is so powerful, but because 44 of the 50 states have enshrined the right to keep and bear arms in their constitutions, and it takes a vote of three-fourths of the states to approve any change in the U.S. Constitution. You do the math.
Writing in the New York Times on March 27, Stevens suggested that gun-control advocates should not just call for a ban on semiautomatic firearms, but should “demand a repeal of the Second Amendment.” Despite its reference to “the right of the people to keep and bear arms,” the amendment was never meant to place “any limit” on gun restrictions, Stevens claimed.
Stevens dissented in Heller on the basis that “the right to use weapons” exists only in the militia. Yet militia service entails obeying commands, not exercising a “right.” Stevens now moves from dissent to repeal.
Repeal of any Bill of Rights provision — even the love-to-hate right to bear arms — would require a radical sea change not only in attitudes, but in law. The amendment has been ingrained historically with what it means to be American.