Reflection Essay Did you know that there have been at least 1, mass shootings in America since the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting and firearm deaths in America totaled more than 32, in Lopez?
April 15, by Lyle Denniston Lyle Denniston looks at recent statements from retired Justice John Paul Stevens about limiting gun rights, and a political reality that runs counter to that idea. The Statement at Issue: That 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 the draftsmen.
As so amended, it would read: We Checked the Constitution And There is an old saying about the Constitution that, like a lot of old sayings, is at least partly an exaggeration: From its inclusion in the Constitution in untilit was not understood to give Americans a personal right to have a gun.
And then it changed, in a profound way. Prior tothere was a public conversation — often, in academic writings funded by the National Rifle Association — about whether the Amendment should go beyond protecting the arming of state militias, to allow Americans to arm themselves for personal use.
Two years later, though, in the case ofMcDonald v. City Gun control does it need revised Chicago, the court extended the broad new right nationwide, applying it to state and local laws, too.
Both decisions divided the Justices 5 to 4, and Justice Stevens, then on the Court, dissented each time. It is to be expected, perhaps, that a member of the court might well want, after retirement, to see the Constitution changed so that it reflected the views that the Justice had while on the court.
Of course, retired judges, too, have free speech rights, and they can add importantly to public discourse if they continue to speak out.
What has happened since Stevens retired is that the court, with remarkable consistency, has refused to say anything more about what the Second Amendment means. Thus, all that can be derived from its two opinions is that the Amendment means that the personal right to have a gun exists only for self-defense, and only in the home.
The court, though, did not say that it was ruling out further expansions of the right. It left that, and has continued to leave that, to exploration by the lower courts. And lately, two federal appeals courts have broken ranks with the others, and have ruled that the Second Amendment reaches beyond the home, and guarantees a personal right to carry a gun in public, at least for self-defense, for hunting, and for target shooting.
If the normal reaction of the Supreme Court applied to this new division of opinions among lower court judges, the Justices would step in and resolve the split. It has had more than a half-dozen chances to do so, and has regularly declined to get involved.
The cases keep reaching the court, though, so maybe one of them will attract enough attention among the Justices to get reviewed. Worded that way, the Amendment would leave it to legislatures to broaden the right, if they wished. The Stevens version would only declare a constitutional minimum.
The idea, though, runs up against a political reality. As failed attempts to pass new laws to limit gun rights have shown, Congress cannot muster enough votes to pass any gun control measure, however modest, even in the wake of such tragedies as the shooting massacre of grade school students in Newtown, Conn.
That would seem to put completely out of reach the requirement that a constitutional amendment be approved by a two-thirds vote in each house of Congress, and then get approval by three-fourths of the states.
Gun laws should be revised to make sure there is a mechanism in place requiring states to provide records relevant to selling guns and predicting gun violence. States should also adopt stronger laws to prevent children from accessing guns and should also rely on an honor system to disarm felons. Nov 22, · News about Guns and Gun Control, including commentary and archival articles published in The New York Times. As failed attempts to pass new laws to limit gun rights have shown, Congress cannot muster enough votes to pass any gun control measure, however modest, even in the wake of such tragedies as the shooting massacre of grade school students in Newtown, Conn.
There is, of course, an alternative mode of amendment under Article V, designed to stir a reluctant Congress into action. If two-thirds of the state legislatures ask for it, Congress must call a convention of the states to consider a proposed amendment. Apparently, such a convention could approve an amendment by simple majority vote, and then three-fourths of the states would be needed to ratify it.
The problem with such a convention is that there is no way to predict what it might do: Rather than endorsing the Second Amendment change that Justice Stevens has proposed, it might decide to go in the opposite direction, and bar any limitation on gun rights.Gun laws should be revised to make sure there is a mechanism in place requiring states to provide records relevant to selling guns and predicting gun violence.
States should also adopt stronger laws to prevent children from accessing guns and should also rely on an honor system to disarm felons.
Nov 22, · News about Guns and Gun Control, including commentary and archival articles published in The New York Times. Mar 02, · Gun Control Is Not The Way To Stop School Shootings, Cooke Says Rachel Martin talks to Charles Cooke, National Review Online editor, about how the .
With Congress failing to pass more than gun control bills as the number of casualties from mass shootings piles up, it’s easy for gun control advocates to think nothing will be accomplished.
Gun-control advocates regularly cite Japan’s highly restrictive firearm regulations in tandem with its extraordinarily low gun-homicide rate, which is the lowest in the world at one in Political focus on U.S. gun control laws has increased since passage of the Gun Control Act, enacted after the assassinations of John F.
and Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. Between and , 28 states eased restrictions on concealed weapon carrying.