OnTheIssuesLogo

John Paul Stevens on Gun Control

Supreme Court Justice (nominated by Pres. Ford 1975)

 


Weaken the NRA by repealing the Second Amendment

Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens called to repeal the Second Amendment. Stevens, 97, moved by the March for Our Lives that drew hundreds of thousands of protesters across the country calling for action to end gun violence, penned an op-ed published in The New York Times.

Stevens called for a repeal of the Second Amendment to the Constitution in order to weaken the National Rifle Association's ability to "stymie legislative debate and block constructive gun control legislation."

"Rarely in my lifetime have I seen the type of civic engagement schoolchildren and their supporters demonstrated," Stevens wrote. "These demonstrations demand our respect. They reveal the broad public support for legislation to minimize the risk of mass killings of schoolchildren and others in our society."

Stevens argues that a 2008 Supreme Court ruling, District of Columbia v. Heller, was wrongly decided, and "has provided the NRA with a propaganda weapon of immense power."

Source: ABC News' Paolo Chavez on 2018 Trump Administration , Mar 28, 2018

Congress can regulate guns in school under Commerce clause

In U.S. v. Lopez (1995), Breyer authored a stinging dissent, joined by Justices John Paul Stevens, David Souter, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, defending Congressís power to regulate the possession of guns in school zones across the nation as within federal authority over interstate commerce.
Source: (X-ref Breyer) SupremeCourtHistory.org , Jan 1, 1995

Right to gun ownership is collective, not individual.

Justice Stevens wrote the dissent on District of Columbia v. Heller on Jun 26, 2008:

Overturning DC's handgun ban, the court ruled that the Second Amendment protects the individual right to own a gun for private use--not only in connection with service in a militia. The 5-to-4 decision, District of Columbia v. Heller, left unanswered questions, but also much room for continued gun regulation, short of an absolute ban.

HELD: Delivered by Scalia; joined by Roberts, Kennedy, Thomas, Alito

The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home. The Antifederalists feared that the Federal Government would disarm the people in order to disable the citizens' militia, enabling a politicized standing army or a select militia to rule. The response was to deny Congress power to abridge the ancient right of individuals to keep and bear arms.

DISSENT #1: Stevens, joined by Souter, Ginsburg, Breyer

The Stevens dissent rests on four main points of disagreement:
  1. that the Founders would have made the individual right aspect of the Second Amendment express if that was what was intended
  2. that the "militia" preamble demands the conclusion that the Second Amendment touches on state militia service only
  3. that many lower courts' later "collective-right" reading of the Miller decision constitutes stare decisis
  4. and that the Court has not considered gun-control laws (e.g., the National Firearms Act) unconstitutional.

DISSENT #2: Breyer, joined by Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg

Justice Breyer filed a separate dissenting opinion that, even with an individual-rights view, the DC handgun ban and trigger lock requirement would nevertheless be permissible limitations on the right. The Breyer dissent concludes, "there simply is no untouchable constitutional right to keep loaded handguns in the house in crime-ridden urban areas."
Source: Supreme Court case 08-HELLER argued on Mar 18, 2008

  • Click here for definitions & background information on Gun Control.
  • Click here for a profile of John Paul Stevens.
  • Wiki Profile of John Paul Stevens.
  • Click here for VoteMatch responses by John Paul Stevens.
  • Click here for AmericansElect responses by John Paul Stevens.
  • Click here for all excerpts for John Paul Stevens.
Other Justices on Gun Control: John Paul Stevens on other issues:
Samuel Alito(since 2006)
Stephen Breyer(since 1994)
Ruth Bader Ginsburg(since 1993)
Elena Kagan(since 2010)
Anthony Kennedy(since 1988)
John Roberts(since 2005)
Sonia Sotomayor(since 2009)
Clarence Thomas(since 1991)

Former Justices:
Merrick Garland(nominated 2016)
Antonin Scalia(1986-2016)
John Paul Stevens(1975-2010)
David Souter(1990-2009)
Sandra Day O'Connor(1981-2006)
William Rehnquist(1975-2005)

Party Platforms:
Democratic Platform
Green Platform
Libertarian Platform
Natural Law Platform
Reform Platform
Republican Platform
Tea Platform
Abortion
Budget/Economy
Civil Rights
Corporations
Crime
Drugs
Education
Energy/Oil
Environment
Families/Children
Foreign Policy
Free Trade
Govt. Reform
Gun Control
Health Care
Homeland Security
Immigration
Infrastructure/Technology
Jobs
Principles/Values
Social Security
Tax Reform
War/Iraq/Mideast
Welfare/Poverty
Search for...





Page last updated: Feb 01, 2020