Sunday, February 10, 2013

THE SECOND AMENDMENT TO THE U. S. CONSTITUTION: REPEAL OR AMEND IT

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. 

And there it is, one of the most poorly constructed popular sentences in the English language. There are two major camps in the interpretation of this amendment: 1) those who think that it gives every person in the United States a constitutional right to own and keep firearms (usually without any limitations); and 2) those who think that the Amendment means that people have a right to own weapons if they are part of a "well regulated militia."

I personally think that the Second Amendment should be repealed; this would make our national discussion of guns a lot more objective and reasonable. But I don't really think the amendment will ever be repealed, so I offer the following rewrite, to be done as an amendment to the Amendment.

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, shall be maintained by the federal government. The right of the people to keep and bear arms, under a well-regulated set of laws and rules to protect the health and welfare of the people, shall not be infringed.

Can anyone seriously argue with that? My amendment to the Amendment allows the federal government to establish and maintain our armed forces (armed). My amendment to the Amendment also gives people in the United States the right to keep and bear guns, but within a well-regulated system that is structured to protect people (including the gun owners).

Why is this so important? Simple answer: the staunch anti-regulation folks (the NRA, other gun organizations, self-proclaimed gun rights patriots, and etc.) use the Second Amendment as a crutch for their argument against gun regulation. Read any and every statement by the NRA and anti-regulation folks and you hear the words "second amendment," "constitutional rights," "free society" and similar. One example in the newspaper today is a statement by Kevin Starrett, executive director of the Oregon Firearms Association, commenting about a recent poll on gun regulation: "What isn't important to me is how many people have decided to give up their rights." In other words, he dismisses the results that show what percentage of people favor more strict regulation of guns, based on his "fact" that we all have a constitutional right to keep and bear arms.

If we pull the Second Amendment rug out from under these gun death deniers, they will be forced to talk about real issues, and will have a much more difficult time dodging the reality of gun murder and mayhem in this country.

My next task is to look at the best way to start a national petition drive in support of my amendment to the Amendment.



2 comments:

gebloom said...

Messing with the ten amendments scares me as a precedent. There would be more support in three-quarters of the state houses for modiying the first amendment than any of the others. Beware of unintended consequences.

Paul said...

We have to decide if we're going to be chicken shits and do whatever the Gun Lobby says, or be bold and change our culture. There are 27 amendments now. One of them repealed another (prohibition) and some of them modified others (voting rights, etc.). The 27th was ratified in 1992 and implemented an amendment writen by James Madison. The Second is outdated, confusing, and just plain stupid, and it provides convenient cover for a culture of death and despair that is visited on a lot of innocent people, including children. I will not be a chicken shit; I will Bring It to the NRA!

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