Former Supreme CourtJustice John Paul Stevens demonstrated the importance of America’s upcoming presidential choice as he spoke Monday to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. Justice Stevens told the assembled gun grabbers of the urgent need for Congress to adopt laws restricting the right to keep and bear arms.
As the author of the dissenting opinions in the Heller and McDonald cases, which affirmed the right of individuals to keep handguns in the home, Justice Stevens said the high court precedent still allows new laws rolling back our rights.
The 92-year-old jurist explained the landmark gun rulings leave room for restrictions on the right to carry outside the home, bans on certain styles of firearms, elimination of carry rights in “sensitive” places and background-check requirements for private gun sales.
“The Second Amendment provides no obstacle to regulations prohibiting the ownership or the use of the sorts of automatic weapons used in the tragic multiple killings in Virginia, Colorado and Arizona in recent years,” the Ford nominee said, incorrectly lumping together semi-automatic and automatic weapons, which already are highly regulated.
He added, “Maybe you have some kind of constitutional right to have a cellphone with a pre-dialed 911 in the number at your bedside, and that might provide you with a little better protection than a gun which you’re not used to using.”
As Justice Stevens was issuing this call to trade in rifles for mobile phones, Mitt Romney’s campaign announced the formation of the Sportsmen for Romney coalition. “Hunters, fishermen, sports-shooters, and outdoor enthusiasts not only create millions of jobs and pump billions of dollars into our economy, they stand on the forefront of defending our Second Amendment rights and protecting the natural wonder of our nation,” Mr. Romney said in a statement. “If I am fortunate enough to become president, they will have a friend in the White House.”
The co-chairmen include five-time Olympic medalist Kim Rhode, National Baseball Hall of Fame member Wade Boggs, championship-winning NASCAR team owner Richard Childress and comedian Jeff Foxworthy.
One of the coalition’s national advisory board members, Remington Arms Co. CEO George Kollitides, explained that threats like that seen at the Brady Center meeting motivated him to support Mr. Romney.
“The next four years will see legislative and regulatory threats that stand to derail the hard-fought Second Amendment rights of all law-abiding Americans,” the gun-manufacturing executive told The Washington Times. “This is to say nothing of the judicial risks associated with an aging Supreme Court and a commander in chief who has already appointed two justices who do not recognize the Second Amendment as an individual right to keep and bear arms.”
Mr. Obama was an outspoken gun-control advocate before he ran for president, and he still supports bringing back the so-called “assault weapons ban” that failed to decrease crime. There is no doubt he would put another liberal justice — or three — on the bench if given a second term.
Emily Miller is a senior editor for the Opinion pages at The Washington Times.