Repealing Second Amendment Is Like Screaming at the Sky
One year after Donald Trump was elected President of the United States, anti-Trump protesters in 18 cities across the country gathered to literally scream at the sky in protest of the stunning election results. How the sky is responsible for the results is unknown, but the action is symbolic of the kind of useless rhetoric that has become standard over the last year.
Your Right to Bear Arms
There is no place where this is seen more than in the call to repeal the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which reads:
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.
First proposed by James Madison as part of the proposed Bill of Rights in1 789, several cases have been litigated before the U.S. Supreme Court as to what constitutes “the right of the people to keep and bear arms.”
The most significant of these came in 1939 in United States v. Miller, when the court upheld the individual right of citizens to keep and bear arms. The court has affirmed this right since the Miller decision, most recently in District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago, where the court ruled that laws which banned individual’s rights to own firearms were unconstitutional. The court declared that the right to bear arms was as essential as one’s individual right to free speech and, thus, should not be infringed.
Tragedies Spark a Renewed Call
Since Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords was shot by Jared Loughner in 2010, calls for greater gun restrictions and for repealing the Second Amendment all together have grown louder. Six people were killed at the shooting in Tucson, and Giffords was one of 22 that were wounded.
Since then there have been several mass shootings that have horrified the nation, including:
- July, 2012: James Holmes opened fire in a crowded Aurora, Colorado theater, killing 12 and injuring 58.
- December, 2012: Adam Lanza kills 20 at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
- September, 2013: Aaron Alexis kill 12 at the Washington Navy Yard.
- June, 2015: Dylann Roof kills nine at a Charleston, South Carolina church.
- December, 2015: 14 were killed and 22 injured when 28-year-old Syed Rizwan Farook and 27-year-old Tashfeen Malik opened fire at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino.
- June, 2016: Omar Marteen kills 49 and injured 58 more at an Orlando, Florida nightclub.
- October, 2017: 59 were killed and more than 500 wounded when Stephen Paddock opened fire from a Las Vegas hotel at a concert venue below.
- November, 2017: 26 are killed by Devin Patrick at a church near San Antonio, Texas.
After each of these incidences, the call for stricter regulation became deafening. These tragedies also bring out the same list of Hollywood types who wish to see the right to bear arms done away with. This includes Rosie O’Donnell, Liam Neeson, Russell Simmons, Alyssa Milano, Tom Arnold, and Michael Moore.
Screaming into the Air
While it may seem logical to these Hollywood types and others that the second amendment should be repealed, the truth is that this call is a complete waste of time. There is absolutely no way that this will ever happen. This is important to restate – there is no way that this will EVER happen. The process for repealing an amendment ensures that this cannot occur.
The only way a constitutional amendment can be repealed is through the passage of another amendment. That’s what happened in 1933, when the 21st Amendment was ratified to repeal the 19th Amendment, which was the one the made the nationwide prohibition against the sale of alcohol the law of the land, at least temporarily.
There are two steps in the repeal process. The first step is to propose a constitutional amendment. This can be done in one of two ways, through a motion passed by two-thirds majority vote in both houses of Congress, or through the passage of resolutions calling for a constitutional amendment approved by two-thirds of the state legislatures. (Note that constitutional amendment resolutions do not require the approval of either the president or the governors of the states proposing the resolution.)
In order for either party to propose a constitutional amendment through the congressional method, 290 votes would be needed in the House of Representatives and 67 votes would be needed in the Senate. The last time either party had this majority in Congress was 1939, when the Democratic party held sway over the nation. (Of course, there were only 48 states back then, but the ratios remain the same.)
Right now, however, the Republican Party controls both houses of the Congress, but neither party has the votes to push through a constitutional amendment that would cancel out or modify the Second Amendment. More importantly, the Republican party – the party that is closer to that goal – has made the right to bear arms one of the staples of its national platform, making it impossible for repealing the amendment to even be considered. That eliminates any chance of repealing the Second Amendment through the Congress.
The other method for proposing a constitutional amendment requires the legislatures of 34 states to pass motions to that effect. This has never happened in the history of the United States. Right now, the Republican party controls 33 state legislature while the Democrats control only 17, making it impossible for gun control advocates to get a gun control amendment proposed unless they can convince 17 REPUBLICAN state legislatures to switch sides and vote to cancel the Second Amendment.
Once the constitutional amendment has been proposed, gun control proponents need 38 state legislatures to approve the measure, which means that the Democrats would need to convince 21 Republican legislatures to switch sides.
The other arguments advanced by gun control advocates for the repeal of the Second Amendment waver between the ridiculous and the hypocritical. In 2012, on Piers Morgan Tonight, Moore called for the repeal to end the violence in the country. His argument was that at one point in history, doctors used leeches to heal sickness, but that is no longer the case, just as there is no longer a need for people to have guns to protect themselves.
This argument boarders on outright insanity. The use of leeches ended because of scientific and medical advancements. Medicines, procedures, and improved knowledge created an environment where it made sense to stop using this practice. However, the last anyone knew, there are still people breaking into homes, still those that would seek to do harm to others, and many who use guns to provide food for themselves. The correlation between the two is absurd.
That actors and actresses would call for gun control also seems quite hypocritical. Many of them use security services that employ agents who carry guns to protect their charges. Actors and actresses call for the end of gun violence, but star in films where the use of guns is central to the story. Neeson starred in three films (Taken, Taken 2, and Taken 3) where guns played a significant role in the success of his character.
One must also consider that there are over 100 million people in the country who have one or more firarms. That sounds like a minority, but when you consider that about 25 percent of the population, or about 85 million are under 18 and cannot purchase guns, this means that a little over 40 percent of adults have firearms. Take away about 40 million who have been convicted of a felony and can no longer legally own guns, and the ratio is about 50-50 at that point. This makes the idea of repealing gun ownership rights a non-starter.
There Is Common Ground
While repealing the second amendment is not going to happen any time soon, the truth is that there are issues where most Americans would agree. Gun control does have supporters on both sides of the issue.
It seems logical that the vast majority of citizens do not need automatic weapons. No one needs an AK-47 or an M-16 to hunt deer because the deer can’t shoot back. Banning m- or tightly controlling these fully automatic weapons makes sense to many gun owners. As we have seen, however, even the semi-automatic versions of these firearms can be quickly and cheaply converted into fully automatic firearms, raising questions about the civilian ownership of this type of rifle.
It also makes sense to limit the number of rounds that a magazine can hold. In the most recent shootings, the shooters were able to kill so many victims was because they had clips that could hold 40 to 100 rounds or more. This allowed them to shoot continuously for nearly a minute instead of a few seconds, which increased the carnage greatly. Additionally, no one needs multiple magazines to have fun shooting targets and, since the deer don’t shoot back, hunters don’t need multiple magazines either.
These are good starting points for common sense firearms control that doesn’t impinge on the Second Amendment, but is not intended to be an exhaustive list. What is important is that there are points of common ground where the majority of Americans would agree that there can be sensible gun control measures that can be implemented so that these kinds of mass shootings no longer come along with the death tolls that recent shooters have been racking up.
Sadly, this is not where the argument is heading. Too many people are focused on repealing the Second Amendment, something that many hold as a sacred right they will not forgo. As a result, no real legislation will be enacted and mass shootings with obscene numbers of victims will continue. This will bring out the celebrities, who will flock to the cameras to voice their disgust that nothing is being done. In essence, they will be screaming at the sky once again.