NYT conservative Bret Stephens: ‘Repeal the Second Amendment’


Conservative New York Times columnist Bret Stephens called for a repeal of the Second Amendment in a Thursday op-ed, arguing that while gun ownership shouldn’t be outlawed, “it doesn’t need a blanket Constitutional protection, either.”

Stephens’s op-ed comes in the wake of the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, when a gunman opened fire on an outdoor concert in Las Vegas on Sunday, killing at least 58 people.

“I have never understood the conservative fetish for the Second Amendment,” Stephens, who is also an MSNBC contributor, writes. 


The 43-year-old former Wall Street Journal columnist goes on to cite various studies showing that more guns means more murder and less safety before pushing back on the “quaint” argument that a “well-regulated militia” is “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, N.D., not farmhouses in Lexington, Mass,” he writes, referring to Minot Air Force Base.

“From a personal liberty standpoint, the idea that an armed citizenry is the ultimate check on the ambitions and encroachments of government power is curious,” Stephens continues. “The Whiskey Rebellion of the 1790s, the New York draft riots of 1863, the coal miners’ rebellion of 1921, the Brink’s robbery of 1981 — does any serious conservative think of these as great moments in Second Amendment activism?”

“Gun ownership should never be outlawed,” he writes. “But it doesn’t need a blanket Constitutional protection, either.”

The conservative commentator concludes by guessing James Madison’s response to the increased gun violence in the U.S. 

“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 battle during the entire Revolutionary War,” he writes. “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 and constitutional renewal, not our instinct for self-destruction.”

Stephens jumped from the Journal to the rival Times in April. He won a Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 2013.

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