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In 1823, Charles Sumner, one of the leading thinkers of the American Enlightenment, noted that if the population of the United States "like that of Europe, chiefly consisted of an unarmed peasantry" it would be conquerable.

"That decision - which I remain convinced was wrong and certainly was debatable - has provided the (National Rifle Association) with a propaganda weapon of enormous power", wrote Stevens, who served from 1975 until he retired in 2010.

Repeal of the Second Amendment wouldn't come easy.

But just 1 in 5 Americans support Stevens' call to repeal the amendment, according to a survey conducted in February.

The debate over the Second Amendment centered on a dispute over who should control the militia, the federal or state governments.

"Even relatively popular ideas with a big head of steam can hit the wall of the amendment process".

The Second Amendment is a sticking point because, for most gun owners, the debate is not necessarily about guns but about the right to own a gun that is explicitly enshrined in the Constitution.

The NRA was the target of attacks during last week's March for Our Lives protest in D.C., where gun control advocates called out lawmakers for accepting donations from the group. Given the power of the gun lobby and its grip on the Republican Party, the political likelihood of the repeal of the Second Amendment (or any modification of it that would reduce the gun business) is slim to nonexistent.

Only one amendment to the Constitution has ever been repealed: in 1933, the 21st Amendment was added to the Constitution, effectively repealing the 18th Amendment, which instituted Prohibition.

Michael Schwarz says the Second Amendment is a necessity.

"It's hard enough for gun control legislation to be passed now in the Congress which requires simply a simple majority", he said.

"I would never say it's impossible", but "it is very hard to enact a constitutional amendment", he said. He also said that he is a great fan of the NRA.

Of course, like any right, the Second Amendment is subject to reasonable regulation to protect the community from unsafe abuses.

As ABC News reports, the 45th president appears to have been spurred on by a Tuesday editorial that appeared in The New York Times.

The former associate justice contends the Second Amendment was motivated by a concern that a national standing army might pose a threat to the security of the separate states.

He said such demonstrations "demanded justice" as they make it evident that the people are in favour of laws to minimise the danger of mass killings.

But proposing a full repeal of the Second Amendment goes beyond what many activists - including key Democrats in Congress - have considered advisable or publicly admissible.

"This is proof, my friends", he said of Stevens' op-ed, noting many have called him "crazy, pushing conspiracy theories, paranoid" for making such a claim.