By Robert Romano
Finally, an honest liberal stands up and tells us all what he really thinks.
Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens in the New York Times has called for the Second Amendment to be repealed, presumably so that Congress and the states can start banning guns.
Therein, Stevens acknowledged that under current Supreme Court precedent, although he disagreed with the D.C. v. Heller decision in 2008, owning firearms is still an individual right secured by the Constitution.
Here, Stevens, who is dead wrong in calling for the Second Amendment’s repeal, is underscoring the real challenge facing activists pushing for decisive action in the wake of the Parkland massacre pushing for more gun “control” measures.
Stevens too advocates for more aggressive gun control laws, which he defines in calling for lawmakers “to enact legislation prohibiting civilian ownership of semiautomatic weapons.” So, there is a big ol’ ban in there.
Of which, there are more than 300 million guns nationwide owned by about 80 million people. About 85 million of those are estimated to be semi-automatic guns, which would be banned under Stevens’ plan.
In meantime, there are about 132,000 schools public and private nationwide.
Which do we suppose will be easier to secure: The 80 million gun owners who believe their right to defend themselves from a tyrannical government is God-given?
Or the 132,000 schools where armed guards could be posted?
You shouldn’t have to think too long about this. Do the math.
In the John Paul Stevens version of America, the Second Amendment would be repealed and Congress would begin banning categories of guns, one by one, until finally, a national ban might be implemented. Stevens wants to start with the 85 million semi-automatics.
It would be up to the government to round up the guns. Those who refuse would be subject to force, apprehending or killing those criminals still owning or manufacturing guns.
More passive means might be devised for individuals to turn over their weapons willingly such as buybacks and the like. But at the end of the day, there would still be holdouts — perhaps tens of millions of holdouts — who would refuse to leave themselves and their families defenseless.
It would tear this country apart.
Or the schools could be secured with armed guards, say, two in every school. If they were each paid on average $50,000 a year, the schools could be secured for about $13 billion.
It could even be done out of existing dollars. So, instead of hiring another janitor or two, schools could prioritize and bake into their budgets real school security.
For what it’s worth, Congress sneezes out almost that much money every day, spending about $11 billion a day out of the $4.1 trillion budget.
Then there is a major political problem Stevens faces. To pass the Stevens amendment, he would need two-thirds of the House and Senate, and then 38 state legislatures to ratify it.
By comparison, a simple majority would be needed to hire the armed school security guards if it was done by Congress via budget reconciliation, or a simple majority in the House and 60 votes in the Senate for regular order bills.
Again, do the math. Securing the schools with guards would be far easier to both pass and ultimately implement than attempting tyrannical gun bans and a Second Amendment repeal.
And, unlike a nationwide gun ban, securing the schools would actually have a real deterrent effect as the targets were hardened. It would save lives.
When you get down to it, everyone has a right to live. And a part of that is the right to defend oneself. By calling for a national ban on semi-automatic guns by repealing the Second Amendment, Stevens believes the government ought to deny everyone that right. What he may not realize is that he and those who support his call are playing with fire.
Let us all hope they don’t light the fuse.
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Robert Romano is the Vice President of Public Policy at Americans for Limited Government.