Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens is calling for the repeal of the Second Amendment to allow for significant gun control legislation.

The 97-year-old Stevens wrote in an op-ed for The New York Times on Tuesday that a repeal would weaken the National Rifle Association's ability to "block constructive gun control legislation" and be a more "effective and more lasting reform."

"Concern that a national standing army might pose a threat to the security of the separate states led to the adoption of that amendment, which provides that "a well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." Today that concern is a relic of the 18th century," wrote Stevens. 
 

In his essay, the former justice embraced legislation that would ban semiautomatic weapons, increase the minimum age for buying a gun from 18 to 21 years old and establishing a "more comprehensive" background check system on all purchases of firearms. 

Stevens was on the losing end of a 2008 ruling in which the high court held that the Second Amendment gives individuals the right to own a gun for self-defense. He had previously called for changing the Second Amendment to permit gun control.

Stevens said the decision in that case, District of Columbia v. Heller, "has provided the N.R.A. with a propaganda weapon of immense power." Stevens retired from the court in 2010, after more than 35 years.

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