Gun violence in the United States is a pandemic and rooted in the 2nd amendment of the Constitution.
More than 30,000 people will be killed with a bullet in the US this year. There are 400 million guns in America.
After every tragedy, you hear whispers about gun laws. After a few days, the whispers fade and the status quo is reaffirmed.
The National Rifle Association is the most obvious target for pro gun regulation advocates, like myself, Moms Demand Action and others. The NRA is definitely a problem, but the root cause of our gun violence disease is the 2nd amendment and how the NRA has twisted it to mean something other than what is written in the Constitution.
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.
That’s the 2nd amendment. It’s 27 words. The purpose of this amendment to the Constitution is stated quite clearly. It’s in the first four words – “A well regulated Militia.”
In 1791, when the Bill of Rights was ratified, the US didn’t have a large standing army. If the country was attacked by a foreign invader like England, armed citizens would form or activate citizen militias to defend the country.
Citizen militias are unnecessary now. We spend about $700 billion a year on a professional military to protect the country.
The 2nd amendment says NOTHING about hunting, personal protection or that it’s meant to give the people the power to violently overthrow the government.
That last one has always annoyed me. While there may be extemporaneous comments made by Jefferson or Hamilton about the people overthrowing the government, it does not state that in the Constitution. It would have been very strange for the founders and framers of the Constitution to put in a mechanism for the people to take up arms and overthrow the government that they just created. To allow for some sort of civilian coup would be strange. It’s just not in there.
In fact, the Constitution we have now was largely in response to violent uprisings that took place under the Articles of Confederation. The view was that the federal government was too weak under the Articles. The Constitution created a much stronger federal government that would be more resistant to overthrow.
That leaves hunting and personal protection. Those activities are not detailed in the Constitution either.
But here’s where the NRA comes in.
At some point, the NRA stopped caring about gun safety, which was sort of its thing when it started. The organization realized that if they could shape the 2nd amendment in the minds of potential gun owners, they could help gunmakers sell more guns.
For gunmakers, the reality is that they’re only going to sell so many guns to hunters and gun hobbyists. But if the NRA could convince people that owning a gun was their way of defending their freedom, that’s something different. Patriots own guns. Protect yourself from the jackbooted US government thugs who want to round everyone up and put them in FEMA concentration camps to be slaughtered.
Now owning a gun is an emotional activity. It becomes part of people’s identity. It’s gun identity politics. It’s something to die protecting.
And so, when 20 babies are slaughtered in their elementary school, that’s just considered the cost of freedom. There’s nothing we can do about it because if we did, it would now be seen as violating a gun owner’s god-given right to own an assault weapon.
In 1994, in response to school shootings, Congress passed, and the president signed an assault weapons ban. That lasted for 10 years until President George W. Bush let it expire.
That was also before the 2008 Heller Supreme Court ruling. In it, the Supreme Court ruled that personal ownership of guns was protected by the 2nd amendment.
It was a landmark decision that specifically said that gun ownership did not require membership in a militia. Those on the right who squeal about activist judges interpreting the Constitution, thus creating new rights that aren’t spelled out in the original text of Constitution were silent on Heller.
This isn’t over though.
Gun rights advocates need to focus some of their effort on repealing the 2nd amendment.
Gun ownership has got to be considered a privilege, like driving a car. Until that happens, enacting meaningful gun laws is impossible.
Until the 2nd amendment is repealed, we’re just nibbling around the edges with duct tape and bubble gum.
The 2nd amendment has got to go.
The 28th amendment, or 29th if the Equal Rights Amendment gets ratified before this one, could read like this.
The second article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed
And like the Equal Rights Amendment, many people will say that it can never happen. But they’re wrong. It can happen if we demand it. It might take generations to ratify it, but if we will it, it is no dream.
The Equal Rights Amendment was first introduced in 1921. On May 30, 2018, Illinois ratified the Equal Rights Amendment. Just one more state has to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment to make it part of the Constitution that we’re all equal.
And don’t just listen to me, former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens thinks the 2nd amendment should be repealed. If you agree, tweet this story, post it on Facebook. Or write your own story about why the 2nd amendment has got to go.