Earlier this week I noted a Washington Post op-ed by John Paul Stevens, where the retired Supreme Court justice called for a constitutional amendment that would effectively abolish the individual right to keep and bear arms. If he had has way, Stevens said, he would rewrite the Second Amendment to read: "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." That op-ed has now prompted a timely letter to the editor from Robert A. Levy, chairman of the Cato Institute and one of the three libertarian lawyers (Clark Neily and Alan Gura are the others) who conceived and litigated District of Columbia v. Heller, the landmark 2008 case which definitively rejected Stevens' troubling interpretation of the Second Amendment. Here is what Levy had to say:
Former justice John Paul Stevens offered a truly radical proposal to amend the Constitution. He would limit gun rights to persons serving in the militia and only during their times of service. So, the District again would be able to tell my ex-clients, who justifiably feared for their safety in their drug-infested neighborhoods, that they could not keep a handgun at home for self-defense. Responsible citizens who are concerned about extremist views on gun rights should condemn Justice Stevens’s foolishness.