By EILEEN SULLIVAN
© 2018 New York Times News Service
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Wednesday that the Second Amendment — the right to keep and bear arms — “will never be repealed,” responding to an opinion piece written by a retired Supreme Court justice who called for just that.
On Tuesday, retired Justice John Paul Stevens wrote an op-ed in The New York Times calling for the repeal of the Second Amendment.
“Rarely in my lifetime have I seen the type of civic engagement schoolchildren and their supporters demonstrated in Washington and other major cities throughout the country this past Saturday,” 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.”
Repealing the Second Amendment would have to be approved by Congress, and there have been no formal proposals for such a move.
Stevens retired from the Supreme Court in 2010. He wrote a major dissent about the Second Amendment in one of the court’s hardest-fought decisions. Stevens argued that the amendment does not protect an individual’s right to own firearms.
“That decision — which I remain convinced was wrong and certainly was debatable — has provided the NRA with a propaganda weapon of immense power,” Stevens wrote on Tuesday, referring to the National Rifle Association, the powerful gun lobbying group. “Overturning that decision via a constitutional amendment to get rid of the Second Amendment would be simple and would do more to weaken the NRA’s ability to stymie legislative debate and block constructive gun control legislation than any other available option.”
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, indicated the administration was not considering a repeal of the Second Amendment.
In his tweet, Trump also said that Democrats support repealing the Second Amendment, but that has not been the case in Congress, which is only considering modest policy changes on guns. In the 1990s, a Democratic congressman from New York introduced legislation for a repeal, but it did not get any traction. Trump’s opponent in the 2016 election, Hillary Clinton, did not campaign to repeal the Second Amendment.