Conservative New York Times columnist Bret Stephens said in an explosive op-ed piece on Thursday that the Second Amendment should be repealed.
“I have never understood the conservative fetish for the Second Amendment,” Stephens wrote.
“From a law-and-order standpoint, more guns means more murder,” he said, rejecting wholesale the Republican Party and the NRA’s line that guns prevent crime. He pointed out that states with looser gun laws have higher rates of death by gun homicides and pointed to a 2013 study by the American Journal of Public Health.
Stephens — who came to the Times after leaving the Wall Street Journal over the Journal‘s pro-Trump editorial policies — went on to knock down the right wing’s favorite pro-gun arguments one by one.
Guns do not make their owners safer, he wrote, pointing to evidence gathered by the FBI and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that said the number of so-called “justifiable homicides” with guns in 2015 (268) is dwarfed by the number of “unintentional firearms deaths,” which was 789.
“Between 77 and 141 of those killed were children,” he said.
Guns do not make the country safer, he said, calling it “quaint” to think that the “well-regulated militias” of the Second Amendment are “necessary to the security of a free State.”
“The Minutemen that will deter Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un are based in missile silos in Minot, ND, not farmhouses in Lexington, MA,” he wrote.
He blasted the conservative contention that the answer to stopping mass shooters is better mental health coverage, noting that Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock “would not have raised an eyebrow with a mental-health professional before he murdered 58 people in Las Vegas last week.”
He contended that liberals are going about the gun debate all wrong, that adhering to a so-called “nuanced reading” of the Second Amendment is nonsense.
“There is only one way to do this: Repeal the Second Amendment,” he said.
The idea may be unpopular, he said, but so was the idea of same-sex marriage at one point.
“It’s worth recalling that most great causes begin as improbable ones,” said Stephens. Gun ownership would not be illegal, but the consumer choice to purchase firearms does not merit the blanket protection of a Constitutional Amendment.
“The true foundation of American exceptionalism should be our capacity for moral and constitutional renewal, not our instinct for self-destruction,” he concluded.