One Man’s Relic Is Another Man’s Rifle: Stevens Triggers National Debate Over Repeal Of Second Amendment

250px-John_Paul_Stevens,_SCOTUS_photo_portraitBelow is my column in USA Today on the call of former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens for the repeal of the Second Amendment.  It was a moment of honestly that young protesters should heed in fighting for real change.  So long as this is a protected individual right, there are serious limits on how much that right can be curtailed.  It is time for an honest debate in this country.   Stevens called the right a “relic of the 18th Century.” Of course, one person’s relic is another person’s rifle.

Here is the column:

Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens has caused a stir by calling for the repeal of the Second Amendment. It was a call that young protesters should heed if they want to work for real change — and not simply be hijacked by political figures wanting to harness their energy and votes. Putting the merits of a repeal aside, Stevens, 97, was doing something that has been missing in the aftermath of the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. He was being honest. These kids have been sold a bill of goods by politicians exaggerating not just the impact of proposed legislative changes but their actual ability to significantly curtail this individual right.

Most of us were moved in watching millions of young people rally around the country to demand real change. David Hogg, 17, spoke for many Parkland survivors in proclaiming during the March for Our Lives that “We need to see real action from lawmakers. They have to actually mean it, take meaningful steps to save children’s lives.” The problem is that both Democrats and Republicans have long worked in Congress to bar such steps from being taken. It is not just the power of the National Rifle Association (NRA). Around 30% of Americans own guns. There are over 357 million guns in this country — more than the population itself. Politicians (including Democrats) do not want to significantly challenge a right that three out of 10 citizens not only support but invested money to enjoy. Thus, even when massacres occurred with Democrats in control of Congress, no major changes were passed.

In response to the latest protests, politicians have promised changes that would either not have prevented the Florida massacre or reduced the carnage. One is a ban on “bump stocks” allowing for a semi-automatic weapon to fire more like an automatic weapon. Experts however have noted that a shooter can achieve roughly the same rate of fire with rapid finger pulls or low tech options like rubber bands. Likewise, limits on the size of magazines will do little more than forcing more swaps of magazines — something most shooters can easily do in seconds. Other changes like waiting periods ignore the long-planning used in most of these massacres.

More importantly, politicians are being less than forthcoming about the constitutional limits for any reforms. After the decision in District of Columbia v. Heller in 2008, the Second Amendment is now viewed as affording an individual right of gun ownership.  Such fundamental rights normally require the government to meet the highest possible burden in showing not just a compelling interest but narrowly tailored means to achieve that interest. Even limitations requiring the gun owners to show “good reason” for a concealed carry permit have been struck down by lower courts after Heller. As the Supreme Court stated in Heller, “If all that was required to overcome the right to keep and bear arms was a rational basis, the Second Amendment would be redundant with the separate constitutional prohibitions on irrational laws, and would have no effect.”

That is why I have previously stated that, absent a repeal, these students are being misled about the chances for substantial limitations on gun ownership. Neither side in this debate is eager for these young people to hear that message. For Democrats, the frustration and anger of these kids represents a promising voting block going into the midterm elections. For Republicans, any focus on a repeal drives an instant wedge between young voters and their party platform. It is much better to keep these kids focused on shiny legislative objects like bump stocks and not the constitutional realities of gun control.

Gun owners are being sold a different bill of goods. While there are good-faith reasons to oppose a repeal, it is not true that a 28th Amendment repealing the Second Amendment would leave gun owners without protection. First and foremost, citizens are still afforded due process in the exercise of privileges and enjoyments of benefits. The standard would be lower (a rational basis test) but there would still be a process of judicial review. Second, the greatest protection of gun rights has not been constitutional but political. Indeed, until 2008, there was not a recognized individual right of gun ownership but it was still extremely difficult to pass significant gun control. Finally, a 28th Amendment could include not just a repeal but positive language imposing additional protections for gun ownership.

For young protesters, Stevens’ moment of honesty comes with a sobering reality.  Forcing a bump stock ban is much easier than securing a constitutional amendment. It is currently doubtful that two-thirds of both houses would support a constitutional amendment, let alone three-fourths of the needed states to ratify. The alternative under Article V of a Constitutional Convention (circumventing Congress) imposes the same daunting prospects.

This is all by design. It is not supposed to be easy. James Madison explained in The Federalist No. 43 that the Framers did not want to make the “Constitution too mutable.”  However, he also said that they did not want to foreclose such changes “which might perpetuate its discovered faults.”  For those who view the Second Amendment as a “discovered fault,” real change will require real work.

If it is real reform that these students want, they must convince their fellow citizens, as Justice Joseph Story once said, that part of the Constitution “has become wholly unsuited to the circumstances of the nation.”

It is not impossible but it is not easy. Circumstances and politics change. However, what does not change is the process for achieving real change. Even if the Second Amendment is, as Stevens describes, a “relic of the 18th Century,” it will take more than rhetoric to remove such a relic in the 21st Century.

Jonathan Turley, a member of USA TODAY’s Board of Contributors, is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University, where he teaches constitutional and tort law. Follow him on Twitter: @JonathanTurley.

178 thoughts on “One Man’s Relic Is Another Man’s Rifle: Stevens Triggers National Debate Over Repeal Of Second Amendment”

  1. Intersting that the Left is enthusiastic about overturning part of the Bill of Rights, but think it unthinkable for SCOTUS to overturn Roe v. Wade

    Yet….”He also wrote a lengthy dissenting opinion in Citizens United v. FEC, arguing the majority should not make a decision so broad that it would overturn precedents set in three previous Supreme Court cases.”
    – Wiki

    Douglas has a right to his opinion because of the Bill of Rights…..lest he forgets?

    Dictatorship of Relativism ….in the USA

    We have our guns, our gun permits and we will never relinquish them

    1. Pro tip: an editor is your friend. All that is derivable from your post is that once you get into the wine, you don’t make sense.

      this is to “Walmart gives a discount if you buy six bottles” sandie

  2. To all you Commie Nazi, gun grabbing, American Hating Trash, thanks for the boost supporting American & our 2nd Amd., Right! LOL;)

    I would suggest you get your ears cleaned & listen to Alex break down the real public’s message to you or just move to one of the many Gun Free Countries. Like Mexican, the weather is nice & most people can’t own guns.

    Alex Jones’ famous gun rant that killed Morgan’s show:

  3. Here’s a comprehensive report about violence in schools titled, “Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2017”, published by The National Center for Education Statistics.

    https://nces.ed.gov/pubs2018/2018036.pdf

    Violent deaths are on page 33.

    There appears to be either no trend or a slight decline in the number of homicide deaths of students aged 5-18 on school grounds during the period between 1992-2015.

    1068 people aged 5-18 were homicide victims in the 2014-2015 school year. 20 of those homicides occurred on school grounds.

    1785 people aged 5-18 committed suicide that year. 9 occurred at school.

    The data do not support the conclusion that school shooting deaths are increasing. Given the general population growth that has occurred since 1992, the rate per 100,000 students is probably decreasing.

    Non-fatal “victimization” rates have seen a drastic decline across all genders and races. (page 45)

    The data support the conclusion that schools are at least as safe, and likely safer, than they’ve been in the past 25 years or so.

    1. Thanks to Jill, I was made aware of your comment and I agree with her that you offer excellent information that some might as soon ‘not hear’ and a good sense of perspective on the subject. It certainly seems reasonable that on a statistical level, and regardless of the school shootings that have saturated the media over the last 10 years (plus or minus), kids and parents have little to fear from crazy shooters in their schools and classrooms. It is out of no disrespect for these facts and this perspective that I offer one on another topic that is parallel in some important ways, yet that does not negate anything you have pointed out.

      President Trump, almost upon entering office, put forth an executive order severely restricting immigration from several predominately Arab countries. I am in no way attacking that order (any such discussion pro or con would be for another thread), but it set in motion a great deal of discussion around the country and on the internet about such a ban and the comment section of this site was no exception. By in large, the consensus on this site was that the ban was entirely justified as a means of furthering national security from terrorist threat and that it is the President’s Constitutional duty to do so.

      Yet the threat of terrorists can be examined with the same statistical scrutiny as the threat of gun shooters in our children’s classrooms. And indeed, this has been done with almost exactly the same results from a broad view. That is, the statistical probability of any American citizen -or for that matter anyone at all- on American soil being harmed (in any manner) by a terrorist is considerably less than the probability of their being struck by lightning – some accounts have it as less than being struck by lightning twice in the same place. I have made this argument with the support of links in one of those discussions and will not repeat that here. The statistics are easily available with most any search by Google, DuckDuckGo, or any similar search engine and while these studies vary in exact numbers and risk assessments, they are ALL absolutely consistent in describing the risk as incredibly low just like the statistical risk of children in the classroom.

      If we compare these two topics, the statistical parallels are too obvious to ignore and some additional perspective seems reasonable. Specifically, no matter how minimal the risk statistically, in both cases it is absolutely human nature to be frightened by the respective prospects of severe harm. After all, it’s human nature to be nervous upon taking off in a plane – and that is statistically safer than traveling in a car.

      For my part, I am sympathetic to the irrational fear of children and of parents for their children and I am sympathetic to the irrational fear of full grown adults for their own lives. But I confess that I give an edge to the children shut up in their class room. And at a minimum I feel they have as much right to protest for some reasonable gun restrictions as certain of our adults have to argue for restrictions of certain types of immigrants.

  4. Tim Black tweets: “As long as Big Media continues to be brought, sold and controlled by the wealthy donor class the misinformed majority of working people who consume biased media will continue to eat each other for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Have a nice day!”

    1. You are describing Fox News and its viewers; careful you are on egg shells. Maybe you could recommend a good NZ indie,

      1. Notice Auitie and Squekkky never criticize da media empire owned by T rump folks like da Mercers Murdoch. Putin’s gf is Murdoch’s ex and Ivanka’s best friend. Those moguls are da good ones for the T rumpers.

  5. The American Founders intended for Americans to have the power to remove a tyrannical and oppressive government, as they had violently overthrown the British monarchy in 1776. The Founders intended that no injury would be caused to the Preamble, Constitution and Bill of Rights of 1789.

    “…amendments desired, of such a nature as will not injure the constitution,”
    ____________________________________________________________

    James Madison
    Proposed Amendments to the Constitution, June 8, 1789

    ” And if there are amendments desired, of such a nature as will not injure the constitution, and they can be ingrafted so as to give satisfaction to the doubting part of our fellow citizens; the friends of the federal government will evince that spirit of deference and concession for which they have hitherto been distinguished.”

  6. “[A] limited Constitution … can be preserved in practice no other way than through the medium of courts of justice, whose duty it must be to declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution void. Without this, all the reservations of particular rights or privileges would amount to nothing … To deny this would be to affirm … that men acting by virtue of powers may do not only what their powers do not authorize, but what they forbid.”

    – Alexander Hamilton

    1. 40,000 Americans are killed annually on highways.

      Repeal cars.

      39 Americans were killed on ski slopes.

      Repeal snow skiing.

      19 Americans killed sky diving in 2012.

      Repeal sky diving.

      1. Annihilate the lazy, greedy, striking, thug teachers and public worker unions.

        Cut teacher and public worker pay and absurdly generous benefits by 50%.

        Spend the money on airport and court-style security for public schools.

        1. If teacher pay is cut 50%, would anybody want the job? Especially in states such as WVa and AZ, which have the lowest salary structures. Or do you want the schools to be privatized? Do you think that private schools would pay better? Do you want school attendance to be non-obligatory?

          1. Schooling is a fee for service enterprise that appears naturally on the open market. There’s absolutely no rhyme or reason to delegating the task to public agencies except in odd circumstances (in remote areas like Eastern Oregon, or in re incorrigibles no one else will take). The state can provide charters to philanthropic bodies to operate schools. Some per their charter would charge tuition and fees and not accept vouchers. Others would accept vouchers and not charge tuition or fees. County governments would issue vouchers to each custodial parent covering each child in their household between the ages of 5 and 18. The vouchers would have a face value which would be paid to the school on presentation. Should the parent elect to homeschool ore use a tuition-charging school, they could present the voucher to the county treasurer who would compensate them for a fraction of the face value which fraction would be a function of their direct tax payments and the number of vouchers they were issued (but not exceed the face value of the voucher). Each parent would register their child’s locus of schooling with the municipal clerk’s office and each child’s attendance at annual regents’ examinations would be mandatory. The state board of regents’ would employ proctors to administer the examinations and construct league tables of schools. The state attorney-general would each year bring suit to dissolve the worst schools. The only state-run schools would be subsidiaries of the state prison system and county sheriff’s departments.

      2. SAD so little knowledge makes Georgie the perfect dupe. Cars have a legit purpose while guns are for killing. Little need for that in a civilized society.

        1. Many considered the British colonies civilized and even sent their families.

          The American Founders used guns to establish America.

          How ’bout you!

  7. I will offer my own incendiary opinion about all this: Occasional massacres and loss of life by gunfire are presumably a small price to pay so that Clint Eastwood wannabees can pretend that they are going to wage war on the US government and the US military. Citizens in (say) the UK don’t clamor for firearms, because they cannot imagine waging rebellion against the crown.

    1. Quit striking attitudes and put your cards on the table. What’s your preferred end state, and how do you intend to get there?

      1. There is my preferred end state, and then there is what I fear may well happen. What I fear will happen, is that the US will further polarize, and ultimately split into two or three parts. (Left coast, right coast, middle). How isolated places like Chicago or Minneapolis would align is hard to say – maybe be ethnically or politically cleansed to the coasts? The middle would be like South Africa in the apartheid days, with conservative Christianity as a state religion, and few if any rights for black or brown people (or maybe even women). Such an outcome would be a dream come true for Russia, as the rump USA could no longer be a counterpoise to Russian hegemony in Europe.

        1. It would be a lot simpler just to answer the question about gun regulations, which I see you’re not inclined to do.

    2. You mean you don’t think a neighborhood coupla dozen fat-bodies with face paint and AR-15s could take on a company of National Guard Troops who have air and fire support? What, are you some kind of commie symp? Don’t you know the Second is supposed to help us change a tyrannical government?

      this is to “we shoulda told them what interlocking fields of fire does to unsupported ground troops” jay

  8. “We urge you to listen to the American people and to the law enforcement community and support a ban on the further manufacture of military-style assault weapons” ….Saint Ronnie of Reagan.

    1. From the linked posting, above:

      “The Federal Assault Weapons Ban (AWB) of 1994 included language that prohibited semiautomatic rifles such the AR-15, and also large-capacity magazines with the ability to hold more than 10 rounds. The ban was allowed to expire on September 13, 2004, after 10 years.”

      1. Because it did absolutely nothing whatsoever to reduce any violent crime involving a firearm, just like every other gun control law on the books.

        1. “Did the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban Work?”

          https://www.factcheck.org/2013/02/did-the-1994-assault-weapons-ban-work/

          “Both sides in the gun debate are misusing academic reports on the impact of the 1994 assault weapons ban, cherry-picking portions out of context to suit their arguments.

          “Wayne LaPierre, chief executive officer of the National Rifle Association, told a Senate committee that the “ban had no impact on lowering crime.” But the studies cited by LaPierre concluded that effects of the ban were “still unfolding” when it expired in 2004 and that it was “premature to make definitive assessments of the ban’s impact on gun violence.”

          “Conversely, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who has introduced a bill to institute a new ban on assault weapons, claimed the 1994 ban “was effective at reducing crime.” That’s not correct either. The study concluded that “we cannot clearly credit the ban with any of the nation’s recent drop in gun violence.”

          Both sides in the gun debate are selectively citing from a series of studies that concluded with a 2004 study led by Christopher S. Koper, “An Updated Assessment of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban: Impacts on Gun Markets and Gun Violence, 1994-2003.” That report was the final of three studies of the ban, which was enacted in 1994 as part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994.

          “The final report concluded the ban’s success in reducing crimes committed with banned guns was “mixed.” Gun crimes involving assault weapons declined. However, that decline was “offset throughout at least the late 1990s by steady or rising use of other guns equipped with [large-capacity magazines].”

          “Ultimately, the research concluded that it was “premature to make definitive assessments of the ban’s impact on gun crime,” largely because the law’s grandfathering of millions of pre-ban assault weapons and large-capacity magazines “ensured that the effects of the law would occur only gradually” and were “still unfolding” when the ban expired in 2004.”

  9. These children are sincere, but they have no idea why anyone would want the right to own a weapon. If they don’t hunt, why would anyone want to hunt? Isn’t meat born in plastic wrap? If they don’t life in bear, mountain lion, and/or rattler country, and really only a minority of rural folk do, then why would anyone need a gun as defense against wildlife? If they have never been stalked by someone threatening to kill them, they have no idea why anyone would need a gun in their home. If they haven’t immigrated from an abusive government killing its own people, why would a populace need to bear arms against tyranny?

    These are the same kids asking, why can’t we just stop using all fossil fuels today? They have no idea that the infrastructure couldn’t handle demand yet, or that alternative energy already drives up energy costs. They have no idea how much it costs to run a home, or make a budget. They have no idea what it costs to keep the lights on. If their Mom and Dad pay for their gas, then they may not know how much repetitive gas taxes raise the cost of their own driving, as well as the cost of each any good or service.

    Sincerity does not substitute for wisdom. You need both.

    I am alive today because my father stopped a nighttime break-in by chambering a round in his sidearm. When I had an encounter with a mountain lion that had attacked the horses I was taking care of a month back, he kept coming around the corrals. According to the park rangers who checked on me twice a day to ensure I was still alive, there were fresh tracks every morning, right where I walked. I kept a rifle slung over my shoulder so that I could handle an emergency if it arose. I had a stalker once, and it was bad. I was saved by pure dumb luck and a series of fortunate events.

    If someone wants to kill you, and doesn’t care if he gets caught, or if he plans to kill himself afterwards, you’re probably going to die. It doesn’t matter if he has a knife, or a chainsaw, or a wood chipper, or a gun. People with nothing to lose tend to do what they want to do. A cop told me that the reason why he was never in time to save anyone from a violent crime in progress was because you have to find a phone, call police, give them your address, explain the situation, wait for the call to go out, for them to drive there, for the cops to assess the situation, gain entry, and engage. That is a really, really long time. You’re not going to make it if someone is breaking in, or inside. They may catch him, or they may find his body after he commits suicide, but it will be too late for you. The only chance a woman has in such a situation is if she is prepared and armed. Even then, it won’t help in all circumstances, as she still has to get to it.

    We have firearms, and we use them about every year to kill rattlesnakes.

    They can try to repeal the 2nd Amendment, but it will be devastating to the Democratic Party. They’ll have to come out of the closet and declare their intent, finally, and then they’ll be politically done. How many times have they said that it’s all a manufactured story about them repealing the 2nd Amendment? That it’s just about “common sense” gun control laws?

    I know where I fall on this issue. Do you?

    1. Karen, your points are all good, as usual, but are you sure the “kids” want to abolish gun ownership or do they simply want reforms such as background checks? The two things are different.

      1. Brooklin Bridge, thank you.

        I suppose these young people are like any large groups of people – they are heterogeneous. Some may want more laws, while some may want all guns banned. The media has been spending quite a lot of airtime on interviews with teenagers who want all guns banned, as well as with people who think the AR-15 is some sort of fully automatic machine gun.

        If Democrats try to repeal the 2nd Amendment, I don’t think it will ever work. It will merely divide the party further, and drive Democratic gun owners to vote Republican. Where there is common ground, of course, is the expansion of the background check system into gun shows, and the ban on bump stocks. However, as it’s been pointed out, that will have little effect on violence. Gang members and people like the felon who stalked me just buy guns from some guy. That doesn’t mean I want to make it any easier for crimes to buy guns, but I have no delusions about background checks stopping a serious violent criminal or terrorist. Our open borders are a perfect venue for gun running both sides of the border, and there is no magic handcuff that stops Rick from illegally selling his unregistered gun to his friend Steve. In addition, the NICS is a bit limited in that it’s only as good as the information input. When states don’t report, or when a series of professionals decline to Baker Act someone, then you can check NICS all day long and it won’t help.

        Every time there is any sort of violence, whether it’s an abused woman killed by her husband, a terrorist attack, a bridge failure, or a mass shooting, we should do our best to identify how it could have been stopped, to prevent a similar occurrence in the future. Did people ignore red flags, did we have the legal ability to respond to red flags?

        One among many troubling things in this morass is the demonization of each other over political issues like this. Democrats have been howling on social media, online, and in the media how all shootings are all the Republicans’ fault, and that if you oppose the 2nd Amendment you are evil and probably a white man. Or there is harsh condemnation of the teenagers walking out of class and protesting. I think they are being used for political expediency, but they are sincerely worried, as are their parents. I remember when I was a teenager and was absolutely sure teenagers would change the world, that we seemed to care more about issues than the previous generation. We have been saying this since the beginning of humankind, I’m sure.

        1. I would also like to add that I understand at least one point on the anti-gun debate. A gun can kill someone from far away, and it can kill more people, faster, than a knife or other hand to hand weapon short of a trebuchet or bomb or car. It’s capability of killing from a distance is the very reason why it is a benefit, too. You don’t have to go up to the mountain lion attacking your horse, or walk within striking range of a rattler, or grapple hand to hand with an intruder. The very reason why it is so deadly in the hands of a killer is the same reason why it keeps the innocent and law abiding safe. It kills from a distance, regardless of the strength of the one wielding it.

        2. Very thoughtful reply. Particularly the last paragraph. You are spot on (IMHO 🙂 )!

    2. Your stereotypes which are unsupported by facts are merely that. Thanks for your contribution.

      this is to “but everybody in my neck of the woods thinks just like I do” karen

  10. Justice Stevens seems to regard much of the Bill of Rights as a relic – witness his votes on Kelso, the 4th Amendment, the 5th Amendment etc.

    Many of Justice Stevens’ opinions have diminished the respect that most of us held for SCOTUS (he is not the only one – witness Justice Roberts tortured reasoning to justify Obamacare).

    If the justices want to opine themselves into irrelevancy, so be it.

  11. Here is a perspective we don’t hear about much at all. There is a complete disconnect is many people’s mind between the state violence and individual violence. Not a word is said about the US as the arms dealer to the world, to extradinary state violence against our citizens with military grade weapons and how are wars are devestating and murdering entire nations. It’s a very strange (useful) disconnect.

    “If gun control activists really want the country to reconsider its relationship with guns and violence, then it needs to start with a serious discussion about the role our government has played and continues to play in contributing to the culture of violence.”

    http://washingtonsblog.com/2018/03/enough-is-enough-if-you-really-want-to-save-lives-take-aim-at-government-violence.html#disqus_thread

    1. It is bizarre to petition people who just voted for (and signed) the budget bill. There is more money in it than even the military asked for. Clearly, as we do know our weapons are killing children, some children’s lives regarding gun violence are more equal than others. Evidently selling MBS the weapons he needs to keep up his genocide in Yemen where children die of starvation and disases at an incredible rate is just fine. Those are other people’s children and their death’s are acceptable???

      Further, the same budget voters/signers don’t mind our own children having inadequate food, safe drinking water, safe housing and health care. All of these things are linked together. There is money for killing but not for saving lives.

      These teens are petitioning people who don’t give a crap about other human beings. If they are going to do this then the links between our war machine, our lack of social justice and individual gun violence must be addressed in the petition. Otherwise, it really is too cynical for words.

      1. The big picture. You raise interesting points about what comes first; one’s specific gripe or the fundamentals. History seems replete with specific gripes subsequently being suited up with the attire of the more general. Our revolution, it can be well argued, was largely brought about by inconsistent and abusive taxation, hence the tea party, and took on the more universal aspect of human and social rights as the movement and subsequent conflict matured.

        I think the kids deserve to have their say. Who knows where it will go, but at the very least they will learn quite a bit – and not all good – about our system.

        1. That said, I agree that “we”, meaning the general public, have many underlying issues that need addressing over other more “identity type” problems and that might go a long way as relates to this thread toward reducing gun violence. Our bent out of shape economic system (or what remains of it) is almost certainly the first place to start domestically, as is our imperial stance internationally.

          (For the moment, I am fascinated with what Trump appears to be really accomplishing vis-a-vis North Korea An interesting article on that subject on NC today btw.).

        2. BB,

          I think they deserve to have their say as well. I am only commenting on why what they are saying isn’t effective and who they are saying it to is honestly, laughable.

          Different problems are connected. If we will connect them we have a chance of stopping at least some of the things which are going wrong. At this point, they are asking war criminals who have uparmored the police against the people of our nation to stop gun violence. That just doesn’t make sense. They are petitioning sociopaths who don’t care about gun violence! These are the people who put the military recruiters in their schools. They aren’t recruiting students for peace making in the world.

          Asking people to think about connections isn’t telling them not to speak up for their cause. It’s showing them there is a lot going on and it will help them to understand the relationship of one problem to another.

          1. Seriously, you are on a particularly meaningful bent today, Jill. A lot of the commentariat seem to have upped their game (hat tip – Karen S and Autumn, but others as well).

            1. BB,

              I agree with you about the postings (I thought Scott gave important information that no one wants to hear about!) and include you in that assesment as well!

    2. Not a word is said about the US as the arms dealer to the world, to extradinary state violence against our citizens with military grade weapons and how are wars are devestating and murdering entire nations. It’s a very strange (useful) disconnect.

      Not a word is said because most people don’t think in polemics and most people are not moral idiots.

      1. You would not believe what Jill was posting while you were on vacation. Here’s just one small paraphrase from my faulty memory: Mueller’s going to start World War III if he keeps backing Putin into a corner.

  12. An0maly sez “I never thought free speech, proper discussion & personal freedom would be so controversial. The media is one hell of a drug.” He’ll probably be thrown off YouTube.

    1. That was a very thoughtful discussion Autumn. You’re right, he’s probably being targeted for removal as we speak!

    2. He makes a point, but with too much denigration of the “snotty” kids, most of whom, are NOT in the least trying to prevent discourse or make the subject ‘untouchable’, but who are simply and truly afraid. And anyone who’s been a kid might admit, it is scary.

      As Turley implies elsewhere, there is too much hyper-ventilating on all sides of the issue; the bar for actual change is so high that no one need worry it will occur without, not only full discussion, but an amazing amount of it. As it stands, the country is not even ready to discuss the issue, never mind change it.

      The kids, far more than forcing anyone on anything, are instead being taken for a ride by the pols who, knowing damn well nothing significant is going to change, simply want votes. That is sad. But I guess we all have to learn.

      1. BB – true the snotty kids description is too much, but I think he is sick and tired of all the attacks by these kids against “hate speech” etc. A former Bernie bro dontcha know =) I agree the kids are being used but it doesn’t make it any less irritating. I just hope he manages to stay online. Lots of folks now heading to Steemit. Tim Black is still banned from live streaming.

        1. Autumn, for the record, as I said below. I am for the right of gun ownership. I would also be for a “rational basis” interpretation of the Second Amendment. It is not a novel idea.

          In the end, however, I am of a mind with Turley’s paragraph on mutability (it would be hard to improve upon):

          This is all by design. It is not supposed to be easy. James Madison explained in The Federalist No. 43 that the Framers did not want to make the “Constitution too mutable.” However, he also said that they did not want to foreclose such changes “which might perpetuate its discovered faults.” For those who view the Second Amendment as a “discovered fault,” real change will require real work.

          God speed to those kids. And great respect for the wisdom of the founders.

          1. I should have said, God speed to those kids win loose or draw. And great respect for the wisdom of the founders.

            1. BB – I doubt the founders could have forecasted the modern MSM’s reach or the powerful control of multinational corporations trying to destroy this nation. Citizens United? K Street industry whores. Spending treasure and lives in foreign wars having 0 to do with national security. But they certainly did their best.

              The gun issue, I may as well admit it, I don’t consider pressing – as Jill pointed out above it’s linked to our history and current practices of sponsoring deaths and violence all over the globe. Reinforce the security at schools and ensure people can’t just walk in. Why didn’t they already do this nationally after Sandy Hook?

              I am much more concerned with the attempt to control/shut down free speech.

        2. Where have the Florida gun violence student victims discussed anything at all remotely related to “hate speech”?

          this is to “I usually just throw it all into a pot and then make sh*t up” autumn

  13. And there are those who don’t carry guns – they have armed body guards to protect them. And outsource….

    His name was Seth Rich.

  14. It would seem logical to me that the average citizen should be allowed the same weaponry that is standard issue for police and military troop.

    1. I would have said that the average citizen ought to be able to own (say) an M1903 Springfield rifle, which is entirely satisfactory for hunting and even for home defense, though for the latter a pistol might be better. But no assault rifles, full machine guns, rocket propelled grenades, howitzers, cannons, or atomic bombs.

      1. “rocket propelled grenades, howitzers, cannons, or atomic bombs.”

        These are not standard issue. The people should be able to arm themselves the same as police and military so they do not have an advantage.

  15. Professor Turley’s post is remarkable in giving a detailed legal as well as political view of the situation, giving respect to all sides and insightful observations on the Constitutional and legal aspects of real gun control as well as the rights of gun ownership. IMO, his best yet.

  16. Repeal a Constitutional Amendment? Unimaginable, especially on this issue.
    Pass some reasonable measures, such as universal background checks, limiting magazine capacity, banning assault type weapons?
    At least you can imagine accomplishing that.

    Have a Great Day.

    1. Continuation of the above comment which I button clicked too early:

      1) Change in Supreme Court with new ruling re-introducing rational basis for restrictions -> (But that would take years for a new sympathetic SC)

      2) Amendment to the Constitution -> (very difficult)

      3) .”a Constitutional Convention (circumventing Congress)” -> (“a daunting prospect”)

      It is what it is. Without 1, 2 or 3, any such legislation can and will be successfully challenged in court. Professor Turley makes this abundantly clear and his point, besides the difficulty, is that politicians of both stripes are just using this issue as a con for votes since none of the above will happen any times soon.

      Remember, our congress is utterly corrupt. Even if 100% of the voters wanted an amendment to the Constitution, if the NRA dropped so much as a quarter in the mud on the sidewalk in front of our fearless legislators, no such amendment would ever see the light of day (such would be their frenzy to dive into the mud for the quarter).

      Until such time, kids can simply go on in the knowledge that they are – quite literally – putting their lives on the line for learning. And one of the first things they will learn, is that US politicians (among others) are inveterate liars and scam artists. Of course by the time they learn it, there will be a whole new generation of kids bright eyed and ready to believe anything.

      You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but the real trick is to fool just enough of the people just enough of the time.

      I’m for gun ownership, btw, but if I had my druthers, it would be with a side order of sanity.

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        “Until such time, kids can simply go on in the knowledge that they are – quite literally – putting their lives on the line for learning.”

        If you are so concerned about dangers to our kids, why don’t you focus your efforts on unguarded water sources – about 700 young people die from water deaths every year.*

        I appreciate that you want to do something – anything – to safeguard our kids, but suggest using your brain to consider the problem. You might find that emotion is not a good guide.

        *https://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/water-safety/waterinjuries-factsheet.html

        1. Perhaps you can’t chew gum and use your brain at the same time, but I can. I see no issue whatsoever with discussion of both issues in their appropriate places. Moreover, as you make it, your argument is brain dead and self serving. It assumes agreement with you as the definition of using one’s brain. Anything else, your words, is “emotion.”

          Since I don’t do homework assignments, you can take your water issue and raise it in a thread related to the subject.

          1. Brooklin Bridge

            And there in a nutshell is your typical Pinko.

            Mealy mouthed platitudes attacking the 2nd Amendment – “for the kids” – but as soon as he is called on his muddleheaded logic, he turns to personal attacks.

            1. I appreciate that you want to do something – anything – to safeguard our kids, but suggest using your brain to consider the problem..

              Your Sarcastic Words -Your Platitude – Your Personal Attack – And before I said boo to you.

              I realize your understanding of a fair exchange is to argue with someone who is bound and gagged, but that doesn’t mean I go along with it. You’re just pissed I respond with facts to your sarcastic little inference about brain usage (given your frustration that I called you on it, It must have taken you a lot of effort to thunk up).

              Take it somewhere else!

  17. The fact that this whole argument is about guns pretty much shows how misguided/disingenuous the whole issue is. I’m surprised though that they were able to get a few kids stop playing “call of Duty” long enough to cash in on their 15 minutes.

    1. Your right to make a comment, while entirely protected under the First Amendment, does not shield you from being recognized and identified as a blithering idiot. What point–if any–was your “contribution” supposed to make? Pro tip: it’s sometimes better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

      this is to “Once I git into the liker on Friday nights, it’s Katy bar the door and I’m liable to say anything” jimmie

      1. What point–if any–was your “contribution” supposed to make?

        His point is a reminder that the whole discussion of this issue advanced by David Hogg and the other Jugend is humbug. No exercise in snotty status games on your part is going to make it anything other than humbug.

          1. Pro tip: it’s sometimes better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

            this is to “Once I git into the liker on Friday nights, it’s Katy bar the door and I’m liable to say anything” jimmie

            Seems like the “pro” should take his own advice. If he knew anything about me, he would know that I have never had a dink in my life. This is to “Mark, I’m just a jerk” Mark.

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