dissassembling or replacing shifter handle ('92 Eldorado)

The shifter handle on our 1992 Eldorado is regularly dropping the spring and lever, as well as the little button that drops them.
I can manually actuate whatever the enabling device is called with a finger or a thumb, though that is uncomfortable.
Possibly as a consequence of this (or possibly the cause), the top of the handle now flops a bit upwards, hinging from the left side.
Do I need to cut the leather stiching to get at the handle, or is there something I'm missing? At the moment, I'm not seeing an alternative other than replacing the whole assembly :(
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