“The second amendment will never be repealed,” Trump tweeted Wednesday. “As much as Democrats would like to see this happen, and despite the words yesterday of former Supreme Court Justice Stevens.”
Stevens, 97, moved by the March for Our Lives last weekend that drew hundreds of thousands of protesters across the country calling for action to end gun violence, penned an op-ed published in The New York Times.
The former justice, who retired from the Supreme Court in 2010, called for a repeal of the Second Amendment to the Constitution in order to weaken the National Rifle Association’s ability to “stymie legislative debate and block constructive gun control legislation.”
“Rarely in my lifetime have I seen the type of civic engagement schoolchildren and their supporters demonstrated in Washington,” 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.”
The Second Amendment says: “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.”
Stevens argues in his opinion piece published Tuesday that a 2008 Supreme Court ruling, District of Columbia v. Heller, was pivotal because it held that the Second Amendment gives individuals the right to bear arms.
“That decision – which I remain convinced was wrong and certainly debatable – has provided the NRA with a propaganda weapon of immense power,” wrote Stevens, who was among the four dissenters in the case.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders addressed the former justice’s op-ed Tuesday, saying the president and his administration “still fully support the Second Amendment.”
“We think that the focus has to remain on removing weapons from dangerous individuals, not on blocking all Americans from their constitutional rights,” Sanders said when asked if Trump had a reaction to Stevens’ call for repeal.
The NRA also issued a statement responding to Stevens’ op-ed, The Associated Press reported.
“The men and women of the National Rifle Association, along with the majority of the American people and the Supreme Court, believe in the Second Amendment right to self-protection and we will unapologetically continue to fight to protect this fundamental freedom,” the statement said.