Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens wants to alter the Second Amendment. The retired jurist, 93, writes in his new book that gun ownership rights should apply only to a militia - instead of the citizenry at large.
In Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution, Stevens argues that recent court decisions - notably District of Columbia v Heller (2008) and McDonald v Chicago (2010) - placed too much emphasis on individual rights. Rather than on what he believes was the Founding Fathers' primary goal: namely, to answer "the threat that a national standing army posed to the sovereignty of the states."
As written, the text of the Second Amendment is: "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."
As argued in his book, Stevens believes the solution is to amend the text of the Second Amendment so that it reads: "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."
Stevens retired from the Supreme Court after 35 years of service. At the time of his retirement, he was the oldest justice then serving, the second-oldest serving Justice in the history of the Court, and the third longest-serving justice in history. He was nominated by President Gerald Ford to replace the Court's longest-serving justice, William O. Douglas.
Stevens is widely considered to have been on the liberal side of the Court at the time of his retirement.