WASHINGTON — Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens wrote an op-ed for the New York Times last week and said it’s time to do away with the Second Amendment.
I couldn’t agree with him more.
In fact, we have quietly let the Third Amendment go away. The Third Amendment, put into action by James Madison, forbids soldiers from staying in people’s homes without the owners’ permission. It was made in response to the Quartering Act, which was a British law. It is useless now, and we never see it used.
Justice Stevens, who served on the Supreme Court from December 1975 to June 2010, ought to know about the Second Amendment and why it was enacted. In his column, he wrote: “Concern that a national standing army might pose a threat to the security of the separate states led to the adoption of that amendment, which provides that ‘a well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.’ Today that concern is a relic of the 18th century.”
When the NRA and others quote the Second Amendment, they do not refer to the beginning of the amendment, which says “a well regulated militia.” As some columnists have pointed out, we don’t have a “well regulated militia.”
A lot of research has been done on guns. Some of the findings include the following:
Stanford University professor John Donohue said his research shows that “right-to-carry” laws in many states have led to a 13 to 15 percent increase in violent crime and that some states and cities, such as New York City, have seen homicide rates drop because of vigorous enforcement.
It also has been pointed out that Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom have seen homicide rates fall because, as most researchers believe, there is strict gun control.
Economists John Lott and David Mustard used “regression analysis” in their 1997 landmark study at the University of Chicago to say that concealed-carry permits reduce crime. However, according to one article, “a more refined analyses of more recent state and county data undermine the more guns, less crime hypothesis.”
The Dickey Amendment forbids the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to engage in advocacy on the gun issue. But CDC research has found that the having guns at home does increase the risk of homicide. The NRA was not happy with the CDC conclusion and, because of its research, the Dickey Amendment came about. The head of the CDC is a political appointment, and research on guns was zeroed out.
Mark Rosenberg, who is considered an expert on gun research at the CDC and who co-founded its National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, said: “Removing the money from the budget and enacting the Dickey Amendment were the first and second shots across the bow by the NRA. The result is that the CDC basically does nothing in gun violence research. If research on cancer were stopped for a single day, there would be a huge protest. But this research has been stopped for 20 years.”
Rosenberg said there are areas where research on gun violence should be conducted. First is on the scale of the problem – how many people are shot, is the number rising or falling, who gets shot, under what circumstances, and with what weapons? Second, what are the causes? “What leads people to shoot other people or kill themselves?” (Two-thirds of gun deaths are suicides.)
Third is learning what works to prevent gun violence, and fourth is figuring out how to translate these findings into policy. Legislators across the country have enacted laws allowing open-carry of firearms on the street or in public places, or authorizing teachers to carry arms in the classroom or on campus.
One researcher found, “A gun kept in the home is far more likely to be involved in the death of a member of the household than it is to be used to kill in self-defense.”
It is now time to get rid of the Second Amendment. It is not useful to allow people to carry guns.
Some people I know say they hunt with them, but why kill defenseless animals?
Nuclear arms are getting smaller, and may eventually be hand- carried. Does the Second Amendment allow people to carry nuclear arms?
It is a law that is no longer useful or necessary. As Justice Stevens says, dump the Second Amendment.