On Tuesday's episode of MSNBC's "Deadline White House," host Nicolle Wallace said the Second Amendment was intended to help fight against "foreign militias," not to create an "armed population" while interviewing gun-control activists.
Wallace used New York Times columnist Bret Stephens recent op-ed calling for the repeal of the Second Amendment as a jumping-off point while interviewing John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety, and actress Julianne Moore. "A conservative wrote a piece last week that got a lot of attention about maybe opening up the conversation about the Second Amendment," Wallace said. "His name is Bret Stephens, and he said the intellectually honest way to have this debate is to say that this isn't what was intended, that we're an armed population. This was a right to bear arms against foreign militias."
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Stephens, however, does not claim in his column that the Second Amendment was not intended to mean America should be an armed population or that it doesn't protect a right to arms. Stephens instead recognizes the right and argues that the protection of it should be repealed. "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," Stephens wrote. "My guess: Take the guns—or at least the presumptive right to them—away."
Additionally, though the Second Amendment says "a well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State," it does not mention "foreign militias." Instead, it specifically reads "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
Feinblatt responded to Wallace's question by saying he believed the Supreme Court should reconsider its 2008 ruling in Heller vs D.C., which confirmed the Second Amendment's protection of individual gun ownership, and pointed out that the Court stated certain regulations of gun rights remains constitutional.
"Look, there's no doubt that I think the Second Amendment decision ought to be looked at but we also ought to look at the decision itself," he said. "The NRA tries to characterize it as an absolute right but Rehnquist went out of his way in writing that decision that says it's actually the Second Amendment is subject to reasonable regulation."
Justice Antonin Scalia wrote the opinion for the Court in that case, not William Rehnquist. William Rehnquist's tenure at the Supreme Court ended three years earlier when he passed away on September 3, 2005.