Apr 14, 2014

Posted in Stevens Rehab Tour

Justice Stevens 2nd Amendment Op-Ed Quietly Edited. And It Still Doesn’t Make Any Sense.

In an Op-Ed published in the Washington Post on Wednesday, Justice Stevens made a glaring factual error which I pointed out here: there were no automatic weapons used in Newtown. Only semi-automatic rifles. There’s a big difference. The former is what people commonly think of as a machine gun (press the trigger once and lots of bullets spray out). The later fires one bullet per pull of the trigger. Here is how the Op-Ed opened up:

Following the massacre of grammar-school children in Newtown, Conn., in December 2012, high-powered automatic weapons have been used to kill innocent victims in more senseless public incidents.

He made the same mistake elsewhere:

Thus, even as generously construed in Heller, the Second Amendment provides no obstacle to regulations prohibiting the ownership or use of the sorts of automatic weapons used in the tragic multiple killings in Virginia, Colorado and Arizona in recent years.

At some point in the last few days, it was quietly edited to remove references to automatic weapons.

Following the massacre of grammar-school children in Newtown, Conn., in December 2012, high-powered weapons have been used to kill innocent victims in more senseless public incidents. Those killings, however, are only a fragment of the total harm caused by the misuse of firearms. Each year, more than 30,000 people die in the United States in firearm-related incidents. Many of those deaths involve handguns. …

Thus, even as generously construed in Heller, the Second Amendment provides no obstacle to regulations prohibiting the ownership or use of the sorts of weapons used in the tragic multiple killings in Virginia, Colorado and Arizona in recent years.

There is no indication that any edit was made. Such edits in a newspaper like the Washington Post should be noted. Though I’m glad someone bothered to fact-check the Op-Ed, after it was published. I hope my blog post may have had some impact here.

And, Stevens’s amendment to the Second Amendment doesn’t even make sense.

 A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms when serving in the Militia shall not be infringed.

Why would there be an individual right to keep and bear arms in the militia? Could a commanding officer not take away a militiaman’s rifle because of the Second Amendment? Almost certainly the right in the militia would have to be collective.

Taking Stevens’s dissent in Heller seriously would require more than adding five words. How bout this:

 A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the states to maintain militias shall not be infringed.

Joe Patrice endorses my proposed version. What have I done?! I hope this amendment goes absolutely nowhere.

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