Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens is calling for a repeal of the Second Amendment, decrying the right to bear arms as outdated and misunderstood.
In an op-ed published by The New York Times, Stevens, a Republican, said that students and anti-gun violence advocates should press lawmakers to take on the amendment.
While protests have so far focused on implementing new restrictions on semi-automatic weapons and strengthening background checks for gun purchases, he wrote, repealing the Second Amendment would result in more lasting change.
"That support is a clear sign to lawmakers to enact legislation prohibiting civilian ownership of semiautomatic weapons, increasing the minimum age to buy a gun from 18 to 21 years old, and establishing more comprehensive background checks on all purchasers of firearms," Stevens wrote.
"But the demonstrators should seek more effective and more lasting reform," he continued. "They should demand a repeal of the Second Amendment."
The op-ed came three days after hundreds of thousands of protesters gathered in cities across the country to demand an end to gun violence. The March for Our Lives rallies were organized in the wake of a deadly mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla., last month.
Since then, the students of that school have emerged as some of the most vocal advocates for new gun control laws and have called on lawmakers to distance themselves from the National Rifle Association and strengthen firearm restrictions.
Stevens wrote that the Second Amendment has been misinterpreted in recent decades to extend beyond its original intent to allow citizens to form militias in the face of potential government tyranny.
Repealing it would lift legal protections for firearm sellers and manufacturers and would ultimately reduce gun violence in the U.S., he wrote.
"That simple but dramatic action would move Saturday’s marchers closer to their objective than any other possible reform," Stevens wrote.