Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens argues in the Washington Post that the debate over the 2nd Amendment and the right to bear arms can be settled with the addition of five words. Here they are, inserted into the amendment in bold:
- “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.”
In his essay, which is an excerpt from his new book, Stevens writes that those words get back to what the original drafters had mind. It wasn't about personal self-defense—"the notion that the states were concerned about possible infringement of that right by the federal government is really quite absurd." Instead, the amendment was intended to protect "the citizen's right (and duty) to keep and bear arms when serving in a state militia," he writes. This stemmed from states' concerns about a national standing army running roughshod over them, he explains. Recent court opinions have lost sight of this and curbed the government's ability to "minimize the slaughter caused by the prevalence of weapons in private hands." Click for his full column.