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Justice Stevens proposes changes to the Second Amendment

Former Supreme Court Justice Stevens is proposing an amendment to the right to bear arms. The second amendment, he argues, guarantees the right of the militia to bear arms. He believes the amendment limits the power of the Federal Government to create restrictions, but does not limit states rights.

Currently, the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution reads

“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.”

The proposed change would add language clarifying the amendment's original intent. Instead, the amendment would 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."

Justice Stevens explained why the amendment went untouched by the Supreme Court for more than one hundred years when he told Bloomberg Businessweek “federal judges uniformly understood that the right protected by the text was limited in two ways: first, it applied only to keeping and bearing arms for military purposes, and second, while it limited the power of the federal government, it did not impose any limit whatsoever on the power of states or local governments to regulate the ownership or use of firearms.”

Justice Stevens believes the right to arms was originally created to protect the sovereignty of the United States against the threat of a standing army.

Justice Stevens retired from the Supreme Court in 2010 serving 34 years, holding the record as the third longest serving Supreme Court Justice in the United States.