Cheap Seats 2018
The Heart of the Matter - 04/04
By Rich Trzupek
Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens inadvertently – or maybe intentionally? – hit the nail on the head last week. He observed that if you want gun control in America, then you have to repeal the Second Amendment.
Repealing the Second Amendment is a terrible idea, one that would ultimately destroy America as we know it, but it’s the only way to go after people’s guns. That’s a discussion that pro-gun advocates (like yours truly) should welcome.
It should be obvious that any attempt to repeal the Second Amendment would enflame about half of the country and most of that half happens to own firearms. Life in the United States would get very, very messy, very, very quickly.
Not that there is one chance in hell of repealing the Second Amendment in the foreseeable future. Doing so would require two things to happen, one highly improbable and the other virtually impossible.
Short of a Constitutional Convention, the only mechanism for removing an amendment is to pass another amendment that removes the unwanted amendment. This has occurred once in United States history: When the 21st Amendment was ratified to end the Prohibition error by eliminating the 18th Amendment.
Step one in passing an amendment is securing the approval of two-thirds of the members of both Houses in Congress. As currently constituted, no move to repeal the Second would stand a chance of reaching that threshold in the House or in the Senate.
There may come a time when Congress shifts far enough to the left to make step one feasible, but I suspect that day is a long way off.
Step two in the process is securing the approval of three-quarters of the state legislatures. That’s a minimum of thirty eight states. Or, put another way, thirteen states voting against would kill the proposed amendment. Between the Great Plains states, the Rocky Mountain states and most of the southern states it would be virtually impossible not to get thirteen red states that would vote against repeal of the Second Amendment.
So, the one thing that people who want to take away your guns could legally do cannot be done. Do Stevens and other gun control advocates understand this? I think not, at least in most cases. It appears to me that gun control advocates come in two types: academics and the naïve.
Stevens is a prime example of the former: An academic who believes that he knows what is right for the country. The masses are largely dunderheads in Stephens’ world, thus requiring a firm guiding hand from the old and wise – like him.
The naïve mean well for the most part, but – like so many on the left – they haven’t thought the issue through. They believe, and I recognize that many of them believe sincerely, that it would be possible to remove firearms from private possession throughout the United States, if only we had the will to do so.
It’s a pipe-dream. The United States is not the United Kingdom. We live in a vast country with porous borders, not a small island with a relatively few points of entry. If every firearm in the United States were to magically disappear tomorrow, a flood of new firearms would come across our northern and southern borders to fill demand. Unfortunately, the bad guys would undoubtedly be first in line in that situation.
But, by all means let’s all talk about the Second Amendment. That’s the conversation everyone who supports a citizen’s right to bear arms should yearn for. If liberals go down that path, they’ll find it’s a dead end – the Second Amendment is here to stay. Once they realize that, maybe then we can get together and take some actions that would actually matter.
For, my friends, the way to reduce gun violence in America is not about the guns, it’s about the violence.