Despite its many amendments, the U. S. Constitution has suffered from two major flaws that have threatened to tear our nation apart. One was its failure to deal with slavery and its consequences. The Civil War was the result, and yet to this day, the issue of inequality among the races remains far from being resolved.
The other serious flaw is the Second Amendment, which says, “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.”
The Constitution of the United States became effective in 1789, about 232 years ago. It has served our nation pretty well and become a model for other nations to try to emulate. The first ten amendments, known as the Bill of Rights were ratified two years later. These provided specific guarantees of personal freedoms and rights.
While the 2nd Amendment once made practical sense, it is now obsolete and serves no purpose in modern America. In fact, the 2nd Amendment defeats the very purposes of the Constitution. It undermines “domestic tranquility,” does not provide for “the common defence”, and it threatens rather than promotes “the general welfare.” It does nothing to “secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.” Outrageously, the 2nd amendment actually tends to eliminate posterity.
The concept of militias, whether well-regulated or not, is also obsolete.
These words were crafted in a time when today’s modern arms were unimaginable to James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay, the principal authors. Even one hundred years later when territories of the Unites States were still being assimilated and tamed, ordinary rifles and guns were an essential tool for survival.
Why do we Americans need a “right” to own a gun, when we don’t need a “right” to own a car, a house or a washing machine?
If the Constitution were being written in this century, no one would think to include the contents of the Second Amendment. Instead, a gun would be treated like any other domestic appliance or recreational gear. Those who would feel safer having a gun in their home would buy one. Others wouldn’t. Owning a gun would be like owning a fishing rod or a car, which you need a license to use. You might need to take a test to show you know how to handle it.
But because of the 2nd Amendment, none of this is possible.
Guns have been regulated under Federal laws since the 1930s. Since then, the laws have been amended, strengthened and weakened too many times to keep track. Plus, each state has its own regulations. Confusion, complexity and loopholes lead to poor enforcement and consumer awareness.
In America, defenders of the 2nd Amendment revere not just their right to own a gun, but the right to fire it. Otherwise, what’s the fun of just owning a gun? Target practice aside, the point is to be able to use it to kill something, whether it’s a grouse, moose or a person. Wounding barely provides any satisfaction at all.
One big problem with the 2nd Amendment is that for many Americans, it is the most important sentence in the entire Constitution. For those folks, so long as you have the unmitigated right to own guns, as many and as powerful as you want, the rest of the Constitution is just window dressing. So much for the free speech, freedom of the press, and due process guarantees of the Constitution. Not for nothing did Samuel Colt’s six-shooter in the 1840s get called the “great equalizer.” Settling scores becomes easy. For the malcontent, loser and otherwise stupid guy, a gun can make a big man out of you in an instant.
If we don’t feel safe in our own community, then having a gun at home may make us feel better. But, in practice it’s not very workable. I have always wondered why in a mass shooting, no one ever fires back. I guess that’s because the family pistol is back home in the sock drawer, and you didn’t think you’d need it at the mall.
The proscription afforded by the 2nd Amendment of meaningful, effective regulation of firearms has resulted in massive proliferation of weapons. Anyone who wants a gun bad enough can get one illegally, and they do. In the big cities, daily multiple shootings and killings of young Black men should make us cry, but it doesn’t. Mass shootings of innocents, which used to shock our sentiments nationally, are only noteworthy until displaced by the next mass shooting.
We struggle to know why. The media lead attempts to uncover the killer’s motivation, an utterly fruitless exercise. We hear the “if-onlys.” If only he had had counseling in school; had better parenting; his friends had reported his anger; hadn’t been released from jail; had been deported, ad nauseum.
The utter randomness of road rage incidents and stray bullets killing children amounts to plain terrorism. Recently, gunfire occurred outside a mid-day Washington Nationals baseball game. Panicked fans ran to the exits. Players dove into the dugouts and the game was ended. I live in a safe urban neighborhood, but at night is it fireworks we hear, or are they gun shots that are not uncommon? In either case, there’s nothing to be done.
Repeal of the Second Amendment will imitate the 18th amendment, which abolished prohibition, and will read as follows:
“The second article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by conventions in the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.”
Why would this work?
First, because guns will still remain available to anyone eligible to buy them. The difference will be that the federal and state governments will be able to regulate and tax their purchase, import and use like any other product with self-evident danger to consumers, like pesticides, electrical appliances, extension ladders, vehicles, medications and cigarettes. We accept and expect such regulations; no big deal. Second, because most Americans will want it.
This means we will see the end of mass murders with automatic weapons no longer being some sort of inalienable right to nullify life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness of others. I know this will disappoint all those who have hoped to commit suicide by taking a lot of innocent by-standers with them. But there are plenty of high bridges around that can attract on-lookers. Also, a dramatic drop in gunplay on our streets will ensue, restoring domestic tranquility.
As for hunters, deer season will remain the same.