| || |
John Paul Stevens would like to change the U.S. Constitution
April 24, 2014 - Andrea Johnson
I suspect John Paul Stevens' book has many National Rifle Association members up in arms (pun intended). I also suspect many of the aforementioned NRA members are grateful he no longer serves on the U.S. Supreme Court.
The 94-year-old retired Supreme Court Justice has written a book entitled "Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution" in which he proposes changing the Second Amendment to require background checks for all gun owners. He would also change the Constituton to allow Congress to force state participation in gun checks. Presumably, Congress could ban gun ownership outright. Stevens told the Associated Press that his book is partially in response to the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in December 2012.
I am far from being either a lover of guns or a fan of hunting. As a vegetarian, the thought of killing something makes me literally sick to my stomach. But I did grow up among people who are gun owners and hunters and I know the arguments in favor of gun ownership. Given the number of guns already in circulation in the United States, you could not possibly remove all of them from circulation even if a gun ban were passed. The country would end up in the middle of a civil war. Another familiar argument is that only law-abiding folk will obey gun laws. That leaves the rest of us defenseless against criminals who will obtain guns and use them despite laws banning their usage.
In North Dakota, we probably look at this issue differently than do people in a city like Chicago, which has been cursed by gun violence. Forty-five people were shot over the Easter holiday weekend in Chicago, according to the Washington Post. Nine of those people died. On the other hand, Chicago has strict gun control laws that don't seem to have much of an impact on the violence.
It's too bad that the Second Amendment will dominate discussion of Stevens' book because I happen to agree with him on a few of his other proposals. Stevens also suggests amending the constitution to abolish the death penalty; to allow federal and state legislators to abolish the amount of money individuals can spend on political campaigns, and to end the gerrymandering political districts. His proposed amendment would require that districts be "compact and composed of contiguous territory." The state would have the burden of justifying any change in the way it drew the boundary lines. He would also amend the Constitution to specifically ban sovereign immunity for states or state officials that violate an act of Congress, according to Forbes Magazine.
What do you think of Stevens' proposals?
Post a Comment
News, Blogs & Events Web