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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?


Article Comments



May-01-14 9:40 AM

Now you're getting it. Sometimes, it pays to look at the name of the person making the comment rather than just the comment.


Apr-30-14 9:11 AM

Why? Because you're here for the lulz and are doing some kind of weird parody?


Apr-29-14 12:15 PM

No, they wouldn't have. A thorough understanding of Negative Rights gives all the insight one needs to be able to put together a Bill of Rights that can last through the ages.

Negative Rights belong to you by virtue of your existance. It doesn't matter what time period or era of technological advancement you're in; you have them and it covers everything. That's what the Founders understood. Only a people such as our "ultra-modern" and "sophisticated" culture could have so many deluded into thinking that those things do matter. It's a sign that people, by and large, don't know what rights are and are therefore ill-equipped to identify and oppose their usurpation. And some continue to be tools of the system and actively participate in said usurpation...


Apr-29-14 9:22 AM

JO: Ever hear of something called the FCC? But that doesn't apply to newspapers and the internet. On the other hand, since modern printing press technologoy and the internet didn't exist in the late 18th Century, the Founding Fathers could not have possibly meant that when they wrote about free speech or freedom of the press...


Apr-29-14 9:07 AM

Maybe Stevens should have wrote that the media must be sanctioned by the Federal Government and sensored. I guess then Ms. Johnson and her liberal collegues would have a different point of view of the Constitution and defend it.


Apr-27-14 9:39 AM

Protein is vital for proper brain function.


Apr-25-14 8:52 AM

Come together as serfs under an increasingly brutal master.


Apr-24-14 4:57 PM

"What do you think of Stevens' proposals?"

They're lousy and water down protections of local control and individual liberty.

If he wants states that are wholly-owned subsidiaries of the national government, he should move to Canada. That's what they have there.


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