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Trump rejects justice’s appeal for repealing right to bear arms

President Donald Trump is a fervent defender of the Second Amendment right to bear arms
AFP

Washington (AFP) – President Donald Trump rejected Wednesday a former US Supreme Court judge’s call for the repeal of the Second Amendment to the US Constitution, which guarantees the right to bear arms.

“THE SECOND AMENDMENT WILL NEVER BE REPEALED!,” Trump wrote in a tweet in response to the appeal by former justice John Paul Stevens. 

“As much as Democrats would like to see this happen, and despite the words yesterday of former Supreme Court Justice Stevens, NO WAY. We need more Republicans in 2018 and must ALWAYS hold the Supreme Court!,” Trump added.

Stevens made the call Tuesday in an op-ed in The New York Times three days after the “March for Our Lives,” a series of nationwide protests that were the largest in support of gun control for nearly two decades and came in response to the Valentine’s Day school shooting in Parkland, Florida that left 17 students and staffers dead.

“Rarely in my lifetime have I seen the type of civic engagement school children and their supporters demonstrated in Washington and other major cities throughout the country this past Saturday,” wrote the former high court judge, now aged 97.

Stephens, who was nominated to the Supreme Court by Republican president Gerald Ford in 1975, said the protests “reveal the broad public support for legislation to minimize the risk of mass killings of school children and others.”

But he said activists, who are calling for a ban on assault rifles and raising the legal age to buy a firearm to 21, should go further in their demands.

“They should demand a repeal of the Second Amendment,” he said.

The amendment states 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.”

“Today that concern is a relic of the 18th century,” when states worried that a standing national army could be used against them, Stevens said.

In 2008, the Supreme Court held that the Second Amendment protects the right of individuals to possess firearms for self-defense in the home, in the landmark case “District of Columbia v. Heller.” It ruled a ban on handguns and laws on storage requirements for rifles and shotguns violated this.

A decade on, Stevens remains convinced that decision was “wrong and certainly was debatable,” and that it has handed the NRA “a propaganda weapon of immense power.”

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