Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens is calling for a repeal of the Second Amendment.
Stevens' comments came in a column published in The New York Times on Tuesday.
"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," he said.
"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.
"That support is a clear sign to lawmakers to enact legislation prohibiting civilian ownership of semiautomatic weapons, increasing the minimum age to buy a gun from 18 to 21-years-old, and establishing more comprehensive background checks on all purchasers of firearms. But the demonstrators should seek more effective and more lasting reform. They should demand a repeal of the Second Amendment."
Stevens noted the amendment was sparked over the "concern that a national standing army might pose a threat to the security of the separate states."
He said the amendment provides that "a well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."
But he added: "Today that concern is a relic of the 18th century."
He said during the year Warren Burger served as chief justice from 1969 to 1986, no judge "as far as I am aware, expressed any doubt as to the limited coverage of that amendment."
"When organizations like the National Rifle Association disagreed with that position and began their campaign claiming that federal regulation of firearms curtailed Second Amendment rights, Chief Justice Burger publicly characterized the NRA as perpetrating 'one of the greatest pieces of fraud, I repeat the word fraud, on the American public by special interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime.'"
But Stevens pointed out a 2008 decision by the high court overturned Burger's understanding of the Second Amendment's limited reach.
"That decision — which I remain convinced was wrong and certainly was debatable — has provided the NRA with a propaganda weapon of immense power," he said.
"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 available option."
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