Bret Stephens, who was hired by the New York Times in April to be a conservative voice for the newspaper, took a decidedly liberal turn today with his op-ed calling for the repeal of the Second Amendment in the aftermath of the mass shooting in Las Vegas on Sunday night.
After citing a litany of reasons why he thinks that more guns means more murder and less safety, Stephens says that Americans who are outraged by gun crimes should take make more fundamental and permanent change in our gun laws.
That means repealing the Second Amendment.
Repealing the Amendment may seem like political Mission Impossible today, but in the era of same-sex marriage it’s worth recalling that most great causes begin as improbable ones. Gun ownership should never be outlawed, just as it isn’t outlawed in Britain or Australia. But it doesn’t need a blanket Constitutional protection, either. The 46,445 murder victims killed by gunfire in the United States between 2012 and 2016 didn’t need to perish so that gun enthusiasts can go on fantasizing that “Red Dawn” is the fate that soon awaits us.
Some conservatives will insist that the Second Amendment is fundamental to the structure of American liberty. They will cite James Madison, who noted in the Federalist Papers that in Europe “the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.” America was supposed to be different, and better.
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. 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.
Since joining the Times, Stephens who is anti-Trump has taken great delight in criticizing conservatives who support the president and with his call to repeal the Second Amendment finds himself more closely aligned with left-wing filmmaker Michael Moore and reminds readers that he’s a faux conservative at best.