In a scathing Op-Ed published surprisingly by CNN online, the chairman of the Cato Institute has warned that repealing the Second Amendment, as urged by former Supreme Court Associate Justice John Paul Stevens, would lead to “turmoil, lawlessness and violence.”
That much could easily be discerned by paying attention to the reaction from gun owners over the past several days on social media.
Writing at CNN, Cato Institute Chairman Robert A. Levy, co-counsel to attorney Alan Gura in the landmark case of District of Columbia v. Heller, blasted Stevens’ assertion that repeal would be simple as “a fantasy.”
“Two-thirds of both houses of Congress would have to craft the repeal,” Levy detailed, “which would then have to be ratified by three-fourths of the states. That’s inconceivable in a country that has more guns than people, and laws in 44 states that permit open carry, even though the Supreme Court has never ruled that such a right is compelled by the Second Amendment.”
CNN was careful to note up front that “The views expressed in this commentary are solely” Levy’s.
“What makes the Stevens manifesto especially irresponsible is that it would rupture the social fabric in this country — leading to turmoil, lawlessness and violence. Considering the fervor of many gun-rights advocates, it’s quite possible that not even reversal of Roe v. Wade would incite such rage.”—Robert A. Levy, Cato Institute
Levy put the lie to a long-standing myth perpetuated by the gun prohibition lobby about the “easy access to guns.”
“(G)uns,” he noted, “are our most heavily regulated consumer product. Handguns can’t be purchased outside the buyer’s state of residence. Retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers all require federal licenses. All dealer sales must be preapproved by federal or state authorities.”
Levy is not the only person to publish a recent Op-Ed on guns. CNN law enforcement analyst Josh Campbell weighed in several days ago in a piece that suggested the National Rifle Association had gone crazy with its opposition to gun control laws.
“One tactic the organization uses to foment anxiety within its ranks,” Campbell asserted, “is to perpetuate the notion that the government is attempting to seize the weapons of law-abiding citizens, and so any compromise would represent a slippery slope toward a total ban on firearms.”
But there actually have been suggestions by public officials about banning and confiscating guns. Hillary Rodham Clinton even alluded to Australian gun confiscations on the campaign trail.
And there is the language in Initiative 43, filed last week in Oregon, to ban so-called “assault weapons.” As noted by the Salem Statesman Journal, “Filed by an interfaith religious group in Portland, Initiative Petition 43 would also require legal gun owners to surrender or register their assault weapons or face felony charges, according to language released Tuesday.”
That’s as close as it comes to “attempting to seize the weapons of law-abiding citizens.”
Some estimates put the number of American gun owners at 80-90 million, and that may be conservative if one presumes that a third of the population owns guns. Some estimates on the number of guns in private hands go as high as 300 million-plus.
A little math is all that is necessary to underscore Levy’s remarks.