Justice John Paul Stevens is just plain wrong.

Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens

I am not a gun owner. Or at least, I don’t own a gun that has any chance of being fired. My great grandfather’s .45 caliber service revolver from his days as sheriff of Delta County, Texas passed down the inheritance chain to me. That pistol hasn’t fired a round in close to a hundred years. So there’s no personal passion in this piece.

Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, now 97 years old, opined in the New York Times that the kids demonstrating in Washington in the wake of the Parkland, Florida school shooting should, “seek more effective and lasting reform.” They should, he said, “demand a repeal of the Second Amendment.” He goes on to say that the Second Amendment is an 18th century anachronism, no longer necessary in the 21st century.

How a man who came of age and began practicing law immediately after World War II could say such a thing is beyond comprehension. Ownership of a firearm was a capital offense in the German occupied countries of Europe. As a result, at least 10 million of the estimated 60 million who died during World War II died directly as a result of being utterly incapable of defending themselves.

That fear of such tyranny in the United States seems plausibly dismissible is precisely because of the Second Amendment. The same is true regarding the potential for foreign invasion. Here in America, tyrants and foreign invaders have been held in check for 229 years in large measure because of the certain knowledge that We the People can defend ourselves. It is Japanese admiral Isoroku Yamamoto who is quoted as saying,

…to invade the United States would prove most difficult because behind every blade of grass is an American with a rifle.”

Keeping tyrants and invaders at bay is only one argument for America’s Second Amendment. Personal responsibility is another.

The hard — but under-appreciated — truth is that the government cannot protect you. When a bad guy threatens, the police cannot possibly get there in time. A corollary to that truth is the fact that the police don’t carry guns to protect you in the first place. They carry guns to protect themselves. In almost every police-involved shooting that you ever hear about, the officer fired his weapon in defense of his own life.

Self-defense is more than a right. It’s a duty. Individual responsibility is the price of freedom and your personal safety is, like it or not, your personal responsibility. Thus, your Second Amendment right to arm yourself.

Hysteria aside, the core truth is America doesn’t have a gun problem. We have a violence problem. Repealing the Second Amendment would only make that problem worse. To repeal the Second Amendment would be to turn free, law-abiding citizens into caged animals – caught between fear of a tyrannical, gun-possessing government on one side and predatory, gun-possessing criminals on the other.

You would think that Mr. Justice Stevens has seen enough in his 97 years to know this.

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Paul Gleiser

Paul L. Gleiser is president of ATW Media, LLC, licensee of radio stations KTBB 97.5 FM/AM600, 92.1 The TEAM FM in Tyler-Longview, Texas.

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3 Responses

  1. Richard Anderson says:

    Your are 100% correct Mr. Gleiser in your essay on The Second Amendment of The Constitution of The United States.

    It is the God given RIGHT of every American citizen, should they so choose, to avail themselves of our 2nd Amendment RIGHT to “keep and bear arms.” Our RIGHT to own guns as set down in writing in The Bill of Rights for all time, are given “not of government or man” by come from GOD as our Founders knew in their great wisdom.
    The freedom embodied in The Second Amendment is as integral to our Constitutional Republic as is freedom of speech and freedom of religion. And thusly, it is imperative, that The #2A RIGHT must remain, as the guardian against tyranny, to insure that the FREEDOM of every American citizen is guaranteed now, and for future generations yet to be born. It is our birthright as citizens of our grand Constitutional Republic, The United States of America.
    FREEDOM, Let it ring!, for all time to come.

    Happy Easter to all. And let each of us seek Him, and invite Him back into the public square Who alone can change the hearts of men and women for all that is good….
    Jesus Christ Our Lord.

  2. Linda E. Montrose says:

    There is a REASON why the Founders put the right to free speech first and the right to bear arms second? You can not have one without the other. The tree of LIBERTY must be washed in the blood of patriots every now and then. How would this be possible if we did not have a RIGHT to free speech and the RIGHT to defend not only ourselves but this Country against tyrants???
    As for the Justice Stevens…he is old enough to know when it is wise to keep your mouth shut and when to open it. If you keep your mouth shut, no one will know how ignorant you are, but open it and everyone can be SURE of your ignorance.

  3. R. Eagleman says:

    Any self-respecting dictator knows that the general population must be disarmed, and that the rulers be armed. Control of the health care system is also an important piece of the strategy, as health care can be denied to those who do not comply with their rules. If the ones in power can mandate that having a firearm in the home increases the health risk through accidents or domestic violence, they can simply deny health care to those who are found to have such risk factors. The vast majority of law-abiding citizens will relinquish their weapons when faced with that decision; therefore, government control of health care provides a very effective “double whammy”. The only reason that we have a second amendment is that our founding fathers realized that a disarmed population would soon fall into the very aristocracy from which they were fleeing. If anyone is gullible enough to think that our politicians would never stoop to such a tactic, just take a look at the mass importation of foreign voters that will accomplish the same objective. It will just take a little longer.

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