The time has come to repeal the Second Amendment, New York Times columnist Bret Stephens argued Thursday, joining the chorus of liberal voices calling for drastic action on gun control following the Las Vegas massacre.
The supposedly conservative-leaning Stephens, who was hired by the NYT in April to “broaden the range” of debate appearing in the paper’s typically progressive editorial pages, said incremental gun control measures would not be enough.
“Americans who claim to be outraged by gun crimes should want to do something more than tinker at the margins of a legal regime that most of the developed world rightly considers nuts,” Stephens wrote. “They should want to change it fundamentally and permanently.”
“There is only one way to do this: Repeal the Second Amendment,” he added.
Echoing an earlier argument from the NYT editorial board, Stephens described the Second Amendment as a relic of a different age that has outlived its usefulness and is now preventing meaningful change to gun laws. He called the idea that an armed citizenry could check a tyrannical government “curious,” and suggested that Founding Father James Madison would approve of doing away with the right to bear arms.
“I wonder what Madison would have to say about that today, when more than twice as many Americans perished last year at the hands of their fellows as died in the entire Revolutionary War,” Stephens wrote Thursday. “My guess: take the guns — or at least the presumptive right to them — away. The true foundation of American exceptionalism should be our capacity for moral renewal, not our instinct for self-destruction.”
Stephens’ initial columns for the NYT suggested he would indeed provide a counterweight to the paper’s liberal columnists. His debut effort expressed skepticism of climate change orthodoxy, which drove progressive readers apoplectic.
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