Repeal the Second Amendment

Plagued by rising levels of violent crime, in the autumn of 1976 the District of Columbia enacted one of the nation’s toughest gun control laws. The law effectively banned handguns, automatic firearms and high-capacity semiautomatic weapons. Police officers were exempt from the provisions of the law, as were guns registered before 1976. Over the following decade, the murder rate in Washington, D.C., declined, then increased, shadowing a national trend. Overall, however, the new law helped to prevent nearly 50 deaths per year, according to one study published in The New England Journal of Medicine. “We knew there were problems we couldn’t wipe out,” said Sterling Tucker, chair of the district council at the time, as he reflected on the law 22 years later. “But we had a little more control over it.”

On June 26, 2008, in a closely watched, far-reaching decision, the Supreme Court of the United States struck down the D.C. law, ruling that it violated the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which states: “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.” In the court’s majority opinion, Associate Justice Antonin Scalia wrote: “We are aware of the problem of handgun violence in this country, and we take seriously the concerns raised by the many amici who believe that the prohibition of handgun ownership is a solution.... But the enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table.”

Justice Scalia was right. Even those who subscribe to methods of constitutional interpretation other than Mr. Scalia’s brand of modified originalism must concede the basic point: The Second Amendment impedes the power of the government to regulate the sale or possession of firearms. Unfortunately, the grim consequence of this constitutional restriction is measured in body counts. The murder of 20 elementary school children and six adults in Newtown, Conn., in December was merely the latest in a string of mass shootings: Virginia Tech, Fort Hood, Tucson, Aurora, Oak Creek. In the last 30 years, there have been 62 mass shootings (each leaving at least four people dead) in the United States. Since the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School in Columbine, Colo., there have been 130 shootings at schools; nearly half involved multiple deaths or injuries.

True, stricter gun laws would not have prevented all these tragedies. But it is very likely that stricter measures could have prevented at least some of these incidents and could have minimized the number of casualties involved. Two facts should be kept in mind. First, the easier it is to get a gun, the easier it is to make use of one. Second, a violent act involving a gun is far more likely to result in fatalities or multiple casualties than a violent act involving some other type of weapon. The notion, therefore, that there is no meaningful correlation between the nation’s relatively lenient gun control laws and the extent of the nation’s gun violence simply defies common sense. It also contradicts the empirical evidence. Experts at the Harvard School of Public Health found that when gun availability increases, so do gun homicides. In the United States, there are approximately 300 million guns in civilian hands, the highest per capita rate in the world (88.8 guns per 100 residents, well ahead of Yemen, No. 2 with 54.8). Though the United States represents less than 5 percent of the global population, Americans own 40 percent of the world’s civilian-owned firearms.

Each year in the United States, approximately 30,000 people, or 80 per day, die from gun violence. True, guns do not kill people; people kill people. In the United States, however, people kill people by using guns. The murder rate in America is 15 times higher than in other first-world countries; the majority of these murders are committed with guns. As for the notion that guns are necessary in order to defend oneself from an intruder with a gun: One study of three U.S. cities revealed that injuries involving guns kept at home almost always resulted from accidental firings, criminal assaults, homicides and suicides by the residents, not self-defense scenarios. In October the American Academy of Pediatrics reminded us, “The safest home for children and teens is one without guns.”

The facts, however, do not appear to shake a deeply held American belief in the near-unconditional use of force as a means to an end. The culture of violence in America has spawned a deadly syllogism: Guns solve problems; we have problems; therefore, we need guns. Yet consider the tragedy in Aurora. Imagine if just 10 other people in that movie theater had been carrying guns. In the confusion of the onslaught, would fewer people or more people have died when those 10 other people opened fire in the dark? More important, is this really the kind of world we want to live in, a world in which lethal power can be unleashed at any moment at any corner, in any home, in any school?

We do not have to live in such a world. Both Australia and Britain, for example, experienced gun massacres in 1996 and subsequently enacted stricter gun control laws. Their murder rates dropped. Yet in the United States, the birthplace of pragmatism, our fundamental law proscribes practical, potentially life-saving measures.

Americans must ask: Is it prudent to retain a constitutionally guaranteed right to bear arms when it compels our judges to strike down reasonable, popularly supported gun regulations? Is it moral to inhibit in this way the power of the country’s elected representatives to provide for the public safety? Does the threat of tyranny, a legitimate 18th-century concern but an increasingly remote, fanciful possibility in the contemporary United States, trump the grisly, daily reality of gun violence? The answer to each of these questions is no. It is time to face reality. If the American people are to confront this scourge in any meaningful way, then they must change. The Constitution must change. The American people should repeal the Second Amendment.

We acknowledge the gravity of our proposal. The Bill of Rights enumerates our most cherished freedoms. Any proposal to change the nation’s fundamental law is a very serious matter. We do not propose this course of action in a desultory manner, nor for light or transient reasons. We also acknowledge that repeal faces serious, substantial political obstacles and will prove deeply unpopular with many Americans. Nevertheless, we believe that repeal is necessary and that it is worthy of serious consideration.

Our proposal is in keeping, moreover, with the spirit in which the Constitution was drafted. The Bill of Rights belongs to a document that was designed to be changed; indeed, it was part of the genius of our founders to allow for a process of amendment. The process is appropriately cumbersome, but it is not impossible. Since its adoption in 1787, the American people have chosen to amend the Constitution 27 times. A century ago, leaders like Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson raised serious questions about the Consti-tution. Amendments soon followed, including provisions for a federal income tax, the direct election of U.S. senators, women’s suffrage and the prohibition of alcohol. The 21st Amendment, which repealed prohibition, established the precedent for our proposal.

Yet that kind of thoughtful, critical engagement with our fundamental law, the kind of spirited debate that characterized early 20th-century America, is not evident in contemporary American discourse. In the national imagination, the Constitution is too often thought of as a kind of sacred text. Yet neither our founders nor our forebears held to that view. The Constitution is mere human law. It is excellent law, but it is not divine law; it is not revelation. We should be wary of amending the Bill of Rights. We should also be wary of idolizing it. The Constitution is the man-made law of a self-governing people; the people, therefore, are entitled to ask basic, critical questions about it. In our time, is a given constitutional provision a good law or a bad law? Does it promote the common good? The secular dogma of constitutional immutability must yield to careful, critical inquiry.

In the most comprehensive statement on gun violence to come from the U.S. bishops’ conference, in 1975, a committee identified “the easy availability of handguns in our society” as a major threat to human life and called for “effective and courageous action to control handguns, leading to their eventual elimination from our society” with “exceptions…for the police, military, security guards” and sporting clubs. While this course of action, as the District of Columbia discovered, is constitutionally proscribed, reasonable restrictions on handguns are morally licit in the Catholic tradition. Indeed, we may have a moral duty to enact such laws.

In a recent interview, Tommaso Di Ruzza, the expert on disarmament and arms control at the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, explained that an individual does not possess an absolute natural right to own a lethal weapon: “There is a sort of natural right to defend the common interest and the common good” by the limited use of force, but this applies more to nations with an effective rule of law, not armed individuals. In the wake of Newtown, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan said that “the fight for greater gun control in the country” is a pro-life position. “The unfettered access to assault weapons and handguns, along with the glorification of violence in our ‘entertainment’ industry…is really all part of a culture of death,” Cardinal Dolan said.

Repealing the Second Amendment will not create a culture of life in one stroke. Stricter gun laws will not create a world free of violence, in which gun tragedies never occur. We cannot repeal original sin. Though we cannot create an absolutely safe world, we can create a safer world. This does not require an absolute ban on firearms. In the post-repeal world that we envision, some people will possess guns: hunters and sportsmen, law enforcement officers, the military, those who require firearms for morally reasonable purposes. Make no mistake, however: The world we envision is a world with far fewer guns, a world in which no one has a right to own one. Some people, though far fewer, will still die from gun violence. The disturbing feeling that we have failed to do everything in our power to remove the material cause of their deaths, however, will no longer compound our grief.

The Supreme Court has ruled that whatever the human costs involved, the Second Amendment “necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table.” The justices are right. But the human cost is intolerable. Repeal the Second Amendment.

Carlos Orozco
4 years 3 months ago
The Editors are arguing in favor of a political goal of a shrewd dictator. Theirs is a recipe for disaster: disarm the people just as the federal government grasps for contra-constitutional powers. Remember this is the government that in the last two administrations, directly or indirectly, caused the death of over a million Iraqis (ORB survey) based on lies; that was caught selling THOUSANDS OF FULLY AUTOMATIC ASSAULT RIFLES to Mexican drug cartels and blocked a congressional investigation (Operation Fast and Furious); that supports Al-Qaeda affiliate groups to destabilize the Middle East (Libya and Syria). Wake up! How long will it be before the same government fully turns on its own citizens? First argue for disarming the fiercest and most powerful of criminals.
MATTHEW LEINGANG
4 years 3 months ago
No, they are arguing in favor of repealing the second amendment. But congratulations on your Strawman.
James Richard
4 years 3 months ago
Repealing the 2nd amendment is akin to placing a sign on every lawn in front of every home in America, "this house is unarmed." How many want thieves and murderers to know that as fact about their home situation ? I had a home invasion years ago, and it took the cops 20 minutes to get to my house. Luckily, after my wife screamed and the guy ran, I had a loaded shotgun in my hands in case he decided to return. Only the naive would remove the right of the people to defend themselves. Remember, a 6'2" 220 home invader doesn't need a gun to kill you and if he knows you are unarmed, his apprehension about making his decision, is greatly reduced. Jim
Jim Giancola
4 years 1 month ago
Ok Jim, Let's see if I can follow your logic. So we repeal the second amendment and we all place signs on our lawns saying "this house is unarmed". The intruder came , your wife screamed and the thief ran. She didn't load your shotgun, she screamed. This act of screaming detered a 6'2" 220 lb man from stealing your items. She didn't die, you lost nothing from your house, and all she did was scream. Those are the facts correct? So why did you need a shotgun? Oh thats right, to protect the house and your family in case this intruder came back. So in your case you were not able to scream or use your shotgun because you were not home at the time right? That is how it will be for everyone. Most people will probably be off at work while the thieves roam the cities and suburbs looking for stuff to steal. Oh wait you have homeowners insurance right? So anything that is stolen will be replaced. Ok. let's look at another scenario. Lets say the intruder went into the house anyway and your wife died as a result of the intrusion. How would that be any different from if the intruder shot your wife to death. The logic dosent hold. If no one and that includes possible criminals and law abiding gun owners have guns there would be a less likely hood of death. Look at muggings, people dont die normally from muggings. They may get beat up or hospitalized but they usually dont die. and if you bothered to actually read the article it is more likely that you would kill your spouse or your self than if you were there when a robbery took place.
Kevin McGrath
3 years 4 months ago
The strange thing reading through these posts is the way that so many people take the suggestion of repealing your Second Amendment as meaning that there would necessarily be a ban on guns. But the argument made in the editorial is rather different. It is that the existence of the amendment restricts the ability of states to introduce such regulations about gun ownership as their citizens might wish to see introduced, even where these might be as helpful to responsible gun owners as analogous laws affecting the use of motor vehicles. I'm writing from England, where thank God virtually nobody thinks they need guns to protect them from their neighbours or the government. I recognise you've got a different culture and a different history. But a lot of the posts here seem obsessive and even crazy. And a long long way from anything I would see as Catholic.
Leonard Villa
4 years 3 months ago

Will not a repeal of the 2nd Amendment only make the lives of the law-abiding more unsafe because the criminal element will always be able to get guns (original sin/money to be made) and they will know that the likelihood of a law-abiding person having a legal gun will be close to zero which will make the criminal even bolder? Just as the Church in her teachings allows for defensive war against unjust aggressors so the citizen should have that same right (5th Commandment right of self-defense) against criminal-elements with deadly force especially since the police are usually only on the scene after the fact. Another factor is that the gun-issue is being used as cover to advance Leviathan-government and intrusion into the life of the people in favor of statist ideology. You see it all over the place from so-called liberals: they want to regulate what you eat, drink, things like plastic, styrofoam, sugar, your relation with your doctor. What you really should go after is the disregard for human life that is an outgrowth of the abortion/euthanasia proponents, for example, Planned Parenthood. PP feeds off the public trough and propagates the view that people have a right to declare a pre-born human without value and hence can be eliminated. The envelope is being pushed for late-term abortions (Gov Cuomo is worried about guns while promoting late-term abortions!) including partial-birth abortion. The envelope is being pushed for euthanizing the handicapped and elderly. (Statist health-panels will decide who can get medical care) All this sound familiar? A corrupt national media promotes this as their secular sacrament as they wring their hands about guns I would look at this ideology to see how the human life of the already born is being cheapened and threatened and to the pols that are promoting this many of whom claim they are Catholic educated by XYZ Catholic college/university.

don sykes
4 years 3 months ago
Well said Leonard. I have always wondered why so called tolerant and humanitarian Liberals completely disregard the rights of alive and living humans inside the womb. 55 million innocent and defenseless humans who have been killed in this country via abortion are ignored with nary a peep from the narrow minded left.
Jim Giancola
4 years 1 month ago
It is funny how many so called christians use the bible to further their causes. Let's take your first point. If the repeal of the second amendment goes through. One thing will certainly happen ALL GUNS will be removed from the public that means criminals and law abiding citizens. Only the military, national guard, the reserves, and police will be alowed to carry. Those are well regulated militias. We have a duty and a right to keep them armed and well regulated. Guns will not be available for sale so no criminal elements will have access to them and if they do the police will quickly round them up. Point 2. You stated the church gives us the 5th commandment( right of self defense) I believe you are wrong there the 5th commandment says "thou shall not kill". In Mathew 5-21 and 22 it also says "You have heard that it was said to the men of old, "You shall not kill: and whoever kills shall be liable to judgment." But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment." Your 3rd point as best as I can decern it is that big brother is after you or liberals at least. I cant really understand the logic behind that point because you have the power to vote whomever you wish into office and do your bidding. If you are angry at the government you can only look to your self for blame for it it is the lobbist of this country that have sway over your politicians. Get rid of lobbists and politicians will once again do what the people want. Point 4 I dont know how you went from guns to PP but I will bite. I am an athiest. I believe in the golen rule and many other aspects of christian teachings. But I dont belive religion has a place in the womb of a women. Neither you or I can say with any factual basis that life begins at conception thru birth. Only after birth can you factually say that a baby is born. Did you know that in many cultures born babys up to 2 years of age are not considered human? think on that the next time you wave your bible around professing to the world that you know better than thou. It is arrogant and ethno-centric.
MICHAEL GRIFFIN
4 years 3 months ago
Bravo. Great editorial! So happy I subscribe.
James Boorman
4 years 3 months ago
There is evidently much that you folks do not understand about the Second Amendment of the US Constitution, including the reasons that our forefathers added the amendment to begin with. The Second Amendment has nothing to do with hunting or sports or even home defense ... it is a "Militia" clause extending to every able-bodied man (and now woman) in this country which automatically forms this country's militia against oppression from without OR within ... a measure to ensure that NO government can become tyrannical. Of course those in our government (and there are many) with those designs in mind would want the confiscation and elimination of personally owned firemarms (of which registration is the first step) especially any that could actually be used in a militia sense (militia style firearms such as assault and battle rifles which not only fire a lot of rounds but also fire military style rounds that tend to cause less damage than hunting rounds and do so in a reliable manner under severe conditions). I fully expected that if America magazine editorialized this issue that IT would at least get it's facts and history straight ... I was dissapointed. May God Bless you all in the future with fully intelligent rebuttals that I have come to expect from America.
Stanley Kopacz
4 years 3 months ago
An AR-15 will not begin to defend you against our military capability. I haven't heard of a drone being shot down by ground fire. A military composed of drafted soldiers who don't want to be soldiers is your best defense against tyranny. Our present huge professional army IS a threat to our freedoms. Our overmilitarized police is another. Nevertheless, perhaps there is something that is needed before measures like America is proposing can be accomplished. And that is the establishment of social democracy.
John Beier
4 years 3 months ago
You are thinking about the problem from the wrong point of view. It is not about overthrowing the government so much as it is about resisting tyranny. Imagine that you are a despot intent on inflicting some grave injustice against your people, such as removing all the food from a productive agricultural province, as happened in the Ukraine under Stalin, or rounding up all the undesirables and Jews for extermination, as happened under Hitler. Would your task be possible if the bulk of the population were armed? Arms in the hands of the general population makes this kind of tyranny impossible. Disarming the population makes this kind of tyranny almost inevitable.
Stanley Kopacz
4 years 3 months ago
I just ran that little scenario with me as a despot. Bottom line: you and lots of yous with popguns, not a problem. As long as I have artillery and drones and armor vehicles. And that is now. In ten years, thanks to R&D funding, insectoid mini drones disable you with muscle relaxants or worse. Guns are obsolete except for shooting other civilians. Of course, Hollywood fantasies are fun. Enjoy yours.
John Beier
4 years 3 months ago
You are talking about insectoid drones dispensing muscle relaxant, and I am the one with Hollywood fantasies! The government will always be able to concentrate overwhelming force at a certain number of discrete targets, but suppressing an entire population must be done on the retail level. They would have to be stronger everywhere, which will always come down to a soldier with a rifle. Look at the trouble we are having pacifying Afghanistan, where fewer than a million guns are in private hands. Multiply that problem by 300 for America. I do not fantasize about opposing the government. I never want that to happen. That is why I want to make sure that the government never has a monopoly on power, so they will have to continue having to persuade rather than resorting to force.
Stanley Kopacz
4 years 3 months ago
You are obviously unaware about the capabilities and developments in high technology. Your problem, not mine. Look how our imperial government projects power via unmanned drones. Ever see one of those treaded weapon platforms with a remote weapon station on top? In the meantime, the real power lies in monitoring everything about us via the internet. I'd worry more about that big monitoring and data storage facility they're building out in Utah. That's where the real power is. Bottom line, I think America Magazine's editorial is a misplaced effort. The real path forward is rebuilding the interconnections, solidarity and trust between people in society that 32 years of aggressive capitalism and hyperindividualism have destroyed. Besides, the developing climate catastrophe is the biggest threat to the point that anything that steals energy from addressing that problem is a waste.
Peggy Meyer
4 years 1 month ago
Dear Stanley, Well said! Thanks for bringing interconnectedness into the dialogue as well. Very Catholic of you, though many might be shocked at how often the Church teaches in this vein...and against violence as a means to peace. I've often been tempted to satirize the argument that we need guns to fight off tyrannical governments by taking it to its logical conclusion: clearly citizens have a constitutional right to easily access tanks, drones, stealth bombers, and nuclear warheads. But what if someone took my satire seriously? Perish the thought...or the world.
TM Lutas
4 years 1 month ago
The history of political assassination in this country makes tinpot would be tyrants cautious about going too far so long as arms are widely available. The second amendment works every time a politician who would disarm the people to enslave them shows their hand and gets thrown out of office. No hint of violence has to actually be deployed in the vast majority of cases the 2nd amendment works. Politicians here do not dare pull the kind of "you'll keep voting until you get it right" nonsense that happens in the EU all too frequently. I actually agree with you about overmilitarized police as do most 2nd amendment supporters. You might want to consider some cross party bridging on that subject.
William Burrows
4 years 2 months ago
It's paranoia to think that the government will start coming after us if we don't have weapons, and it is only slightly less ludicrous to think we'll have an uptick in home invasions. By the text of "America's" editorial the government would only have the power to pass laws to regulate weapons, not eliminate them.
pale horse
4 years 1 month ago
Yes, its paranoia! Just ask the 200 + MILLION people slaughtered by their own government in the 20th century. They were so paranoid. LMAO. Thanks for the historically retarded comment.
TM Lutas
4 years 1 month ago
The wonderful thing about a federal system is that you can find just about any policy idea put in practice somewhere in the US. There is a small, but growing number of jurisdictions that make gun ownership mandatory. They generally have an immediate drop in crime of about 50% after passage. Those would be the smart criminals moving on. There is no appreciable increase in gun incidents. The government currently has the power to pass laws to regulate weapons. For example, we haven't had widespread machine gun ownership in private hands since the 1930s. There is a web of laws and regulations, most of which are obeyed by ordinary people and ignored by criminals. If regulation is all that is up for discussion, there is no need to change the Constitution.
Marie Rehbein
4 years 1 month ago
I daresay the Second Amendment was included not due to fear that the US government would become tyrannical, but due to fear that the US would be made a colony again. Keep in mind that the US was not a superpower when this amendment was added.
Maurice Dufilho
4 years 3 months ago
"Justice Scalia was right." Or so the editors have said. Perhaps it should be said that the harm he rendered has not been horribly corrosive to constitutional law. Or perhaps it should be said that the entirety of the Second Amendment has seldom if ever been understood since that day when both the second and third presidents of this country together confronted the glory of God on the Fourth of July. It is a shame that the amici curiae Baron, Bailey and Kaplan, confused absolute construction with any kind of clausal construction that might come to mind. Perhaps, if any of these friends from academia had had strict discipline in Greek and Latin, whether it were koine Greek and vulgar Latin or Lysias and Cicero, they would have had a neoclassically-minded schoolmaster, rod in hand, beat them until they fully understood both genitive and ablative absolutes without reference to their mother tongue. They would have known that causal, temporal, circumstantial, or whatever clauses in that mother tongue would only approximate the meaning of the original Latin or Greek. And young eighteenth century scholars would have never referred to an absolute construction as a clause. If they had, young English scholars would not have gotten a C of E living as clerics. Thomas Jefferson may have been ridiculed by Sally Hemings but he could fall back on his money or creditors. John Adams may not have passed muster on his path to the bar. Keep in mind that Justice Scalia's father was a linguist. But Justice Scalia in his rare discussions of his paternal heritage never showed any signs of pride in his Dad's abilities. So when confronted by this grammatical conundrum which historians should be confident that Jefferson and Adams had not been puzzled by since their early teens, he denied its existence and banished "a well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state" to the Never Never Land of Defined Clausal Regulation. But had the Founding Fathers written the Bill of Rights in Latin (as their great grandfathers may have done), how would we here in 2013 Anno Domini be translating this Second Amendment? Surely, it should carry the import of "under the circumstances of the need for a well regulated militia". Therefore, since these are no longer the circumstances under which good Americans live, despite the claims of whatever posse comitatus, (all of whom are self-regulated, if that), the Second Amendment as written is moot. Regulation of weaponry of whatever kind falls to the States or to the People. We turn to Sir Walter Scott who, standing on the cusp of modernity, wrote: "O what a tangled web we weave When first we practice to deceive" And then to the wag who followed up: "But when we've practiced quite a while, We find we've quite improved our style. It is a very tangled web, indeed. And Justice Scalia is indeed a great stylist.
Alden Guillory
4 years 3 months ago
Our forefathers, with all of their great gifts of mind and insight, were blind to the gift of foresight due primarily to their own environment of the wilderness that they lived in. Little did they know of how we would turnout regarding Cain and Able traits. So... it would be NICE if we could have GOOD SANE laws that would be ENFORECABLE .. However ... we will NOT get those until (I'm sorry to say) family members of the lawmakers/gun toters are taken using gun violence. To Bad... until then ... our children will continue to die.
James McLaughlin
4 years 3 months ago
Honest question: Have the editors at America ever proposed a consititutional amendment extending the Bill of Rights to the unborn?
Stanley Kopacz
4 years 3 months ago
Maybe your nonchalance about the killing of the born should have been applied after 9/11. After all, more humans than died in the Twin Towers are aborted every day. And the Muslims have at least some restrictions on abortion. We should have surrendered.
TM Lutas
4 years 1 month ago
You would voluntarily have entered into a state where your ability to proclaim the gospel was heavily restricted by the government? Are you aware, at all, of what dhimmitude would actually do to the Church? No, we would give up far more than we would gain. And you really should educate yourself about muslim abortion theology. They are fairly tolerant of the practice with theological tolerance of first trimester abortions (as with most things in Islam, it kind of depends on the imam).
Charles Selker, II
4 years 3 months ago
As a Franciscan Friar and Catholic priest, I was neither shocked nor astounded at this piece from America Magazine. I will not go through the Scriptural tradition of our Christian faith or the corpus of Catholic Social teaching. I need not stoop to that level. I am utterly amazed that any organization or individual would choose this path to obscure and even ignore the essential problem which is not the Second Amendment, its historical or cultural context which the Founding Fathers of the United States envisioned. I believe their deepest passion was in keeping these United States free and to gift for ever the greatest possible sense of freedom that they could offer at that time to its people. One must look somewhere else. The greater issue is not the false sense of security that this editor used as their lens which is blurred with liberal buy-in, but is mental illness and the role that it has played into each of these horrific events. This piece, which I simply refuse to give up 5 minutes of my time to read, begs only one question which gives me pause and it is not whether the Second Amendment should be appealed, but whether I cancel my subscription to the medium of this piece and simply mark them as spam? Truly, CRS2
Dan Slaby
4 years 3 months ago
Isn't the paranoia driving the absolute position for universal unimpeded gun ownership a form of mental illness? If you listen to the NRA LaPierre and the Gun Owners of America, one would get the impression that America is a nation of sociopaths. The Constitution was amended 27 times; it was wrong about slavery and denying women the right to vote, among other shortcomings. When the Constitution is wrong, it is the right of the people to change it. The 2nd Amendment, designed to prevent the return of British Colonial rule, and prevent the decimation of an slave based economy by suppressing escape and revolt, now functions as the lynchpin for the overthrow of the American Republic by intimidation and reprisals of elected officials all to the benefit of an arms industry that stands to profit from the militarization of the population. The Constitution places the President as the Commander of Chief of the state militias when called into national service, and provides Congress with the power to call up the state militia to put down insurgency. Use of the state militias to suppress the Whiskey Rebellion against federal taxation in 1791 during the Presidency of Washington is the first example refuting the NRA claim that the militias have a right to overthrow the government if the disgruntled vigilante groups disapprove of majority decisions. Gun control from pistols to nukes is the abolitionist movement of the 21st Century; 2nd Amendment: change it or repeal it.
Michael Kent
4 years 3 months ago
Repealing the rights enumerated in the Constitution will not -- and, by definition, cannot -- have the effect of abrogating those rights. They exist naturally and thus cannot be repealed. Your reference to the Whiskey Rebellion misses its mark. We have a natural right to resist tyranny, taking up arms against it if necessary. But that is very different from a supposed right to take up arms in response to any old act of government we happen to disagree with. To wit: "When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them...." President Washington fully understood that distinction. Indeed, General Washington had lived it.
Dominick Ahrens
4 years 1 month ago
Dan Slaby - The 2nd Amendment, designed to prevent the return of British Colonial rule, and prevent the decimation of an slave based economy by suppressing escape and revolt,
Sorry Dan, but your revisionist history is showing. Before you attempt this latest trick of the leftists (equating 2A to racism, much in the way that any question of Obama was answered with the race card), you might want to consider that as far back as 1751, the French Black Code required Louisiana colonists to stop any blacks, and if necessary, beat "any black carrying any potential weapon, such as a cane." If a black refused to stop on demand, and was on horseback, the colonist was authorized to "shoot to kill." Louisiana didn't become part of the US until 1803. And you might want to consider what some black people who aren't beholden to the (D) establishment have to say: "As we have seen, the first public expression of disenchantment with nonviolence arose around the question of "self-defense." In a sense this is a false issue, for the right to defend one's home and one's person when attacked has been guaranteed through the ages by common law." Martin Luther King, Jr., Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?1967 It was several states that chose to remove the possible application of the 2A to blacks, not the federal government and certainly not the founders.
After the Civil War, many southern states went to extensive measures to try to prevent or restrict black gun ownership. Since they could no longer abridge the Second Amendment rights based on race, as with voting, they sought to institute fees and a permit system that would deny blacks the ability to carry a firearm for all practical purposes. In fact, as late as 1941, a justice in the Florida State Supreme Court noted the history of such a gun control law:
“The original Act of 1893 was passed when there was a great influx of negro laborers in this State drawn here for the purpose of working in turpentine and lumber camps. The same condition existed when the Act was amended in 1901 and the Act was passed for the purpose of disarming the negro laborers…The statute was never intended to be applied to the white population and in practice has never been so applied.” (Watson v. Stone)
So for most of the nation’s history, abridging the Second Amendment was understood to encroach on the rights of blacks in particular to defend themselves and their property when they could not count on the police to do so."
Harry R. Jackson, Jr. Is the NRA the Best Advocate for Black Family Safety? Townhall Daily 3/16/13
TM Lutas
4 years 1 month ago
Lying about the origin of the history of guns in America did not work out well in the end for Bellesiles and your made up history will end no better. The 2nd amendment recognizes that a state that has a monopoly on violence is a state that is a danger to the freedoms of the people. If the President were to call up the unorganized militia, he can. The last time an unorganized militia call up happened was WW II when it was done early on for coastal defense. Whether they will answer is a different question and one that has been a barrier for war, something that I would have imagined the Jesuits might have considered. The people have the right to overthrow the government if the government overthrows the constitutional order, such as canceling elections, or imprisoning the Congress and the Supreme Court so the President may rule by decree. That would be a task made much more difficult if the people were disarmed, and a task so easy for an assassin's bullet to accomplish if the people are armed that no US President in their right mind would do what so many governments have done to the south of us time and again. This is a great improvement in governance and we would risk it if we were to rid ourselves of our arms. No militia will ever win a field engagement with the US military in a straight up fight. But that's not what the militia is for. It never was. It is a bulwark against tyranny and disorder and deploys, unofficially, after every really nasty storm with people in lawn chairs quietly keeping an eye on things with a rifle nearby. That there is no paperwork filed does not nullify its good works.
Michael Kent
4 years 3 months ago
What's particularly disturbing is that these Jesuits obviously have no comprehension whatsoever of the Constitution's basis in natural law. They think rights are created by government. Thus, any right can be as easily "repealed" as it was "granted" in the first place.
pale horse
4 years 1 month ago
Not a very divine viewpoint, is it? LOL. Much more of a government (man) viewpoint. Hmmmm.
Mary Sweeney
4 years 3 months ago
Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan said that “the fight for greater gun control in the country” is a pro-life position. “The unfettered access to assault weapons and handguns, along with the glorification of violence in our ‘entertainment’ industry…is really all part of a culture of death,” Cardinal Dolan said. So, will Catholic parishes begin signing up today to participate in The Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath Weekend in a month's time? http://036e423.netsolhost.com/WordPress/2013/02/02/the-power-of-prayer-march-8-10-is-gun-violence-prevention-sabbath-weekend/
TM Lutas
4 years 1 month ago
Bless his heart, but if Cardinal Dolan thinks that we have unfettered access to assault weapons and handguns, he is profoundly ignorant of the law. There are a number of models that are simply not accessible in the civilian market. There are restrictions on purchase and possession in every state. The question is what good do these tools do and what evil do they do and how can we manage them so that more good is done and less evil is done. That makes them like most other things that can be used for good or ill. Where we have a proper gun culture, gun violence is mostly a matter of self-defense and not a major societal problem. Where we have thug culture that glorifies the gun and encourages offensive use, the problems multiply as the laws proliferate and disarm the law abiding but not the criminals. We desperately need a different approach but repealing the 2nd amendment won't do it.
Vincent Gaitley
4 years 3 months ago
If the editors really believe that tyranny is a remote idea in our times in America, it is because they live tax-free by the grace and goodness of donors. The rest of us are under thumb paying, paying, paying, and getting very little back. The police are quite good at arresting perps after crimes are committed, law-enforcement is not, after all, pre-crime protection, and that is the problem. Free people insist that liberty includes self-defense. If you want to fix a national scourge, plead for the confiscation (yes, the C word) of unlawful, unregistered guns. This includes the daring but lawful proposition to get warrants and go door-to-door demanding the surrender of illegal weapons. Start in urban areas where violence prevails, and if that offends your sensibilities and sense of due process, well then, tough.
Roy Van Brunt
4 years 3 months ago
The 2nd Amendment, most people seem to forget, sanctioned a private right to bear/own arms that was linked to "a well-regulated militia". Such regulation certainly envisioned training. No one - or at least not many - would object if gun owners were part of such a part of the nation's trained defense force, perhaps its reserves, and therefore eligible to be sent to places where the use of those arms "for the security of a free state" is appropriate. It is fantasy to read, as Nino and others do, that the intent of the founders was to sanction a proliferation of private and unregulated hand-guns - one of which, by the way, they never saw. The weapons of their day were single shot rifles. Allowing them, I suggest, and in the contest of a regulated militia, is a good place to start the road toward gun control. Recreational shooting, though loved by many as a hobby, was never the intent of the amendment.
scott roberts
4 years 3 months ago
try again, handguns were VERY common at the time of the Revolution and creation of the Constitution. Washington and Jefferson and many others of the founding Fathers had large collections of guns including handguns and there was lots of tinkering going on in trying to make guns with more fireing capacity. This argument that the 2A is limited to single shot muskets is laughable. As the SC said in MILLER the 2A protects "arms in common use at the time". That is not in common use by civilians, but in common use by the miliita. In 1787 when the Constitution was adopted arms used by civilians were exactly the same as carried by the army, indeed as members of the miliita the civilians were expected to bring their own arms when called for duty. So, today, when called for duty the civilians should report carrying at least a semi-automatic rifle like the AR-15 if not (and a GOOD case can be made for it) an M-16 (an AR-15 capable of fully automatic fire). "The sword and every other terrible implement of war is the birthright of an American". Look up the quote.
Elmer Stoup
4 years 3 months ago
With all due respect, Roy, check the grammar of the 2nd Amendment. There's no limitation on the right to keep and bear arms because of the dependent clause's reference to a militia. In any event, the 2nd Amendment doesn't grant the individual's right to keep and bear arms; it says this right shall not be infringed. Please consider whether the people in the 2nd Amendment are different than the people in the 1st Amendment? They are the same people exercising their individual rights. As for single shot rifles, are you saying the 1st Amendment doesn't apply to the Internet because the Founding Fathers didn't know about the Internet in 1790?
pale horse
4 years 1 month ago
Not only were pistols common, you obviously have no idea what the militia is. The militia, much to you freedom-haters chagrin, is defined in the federalist papers as "Every able bodied man aged 18-45" However, the amendment doesn't say the right is for the militia. It explicitly states the right " OF THE PEOPLE" to keep and bear arms. That body of armed people are to comprise the militia. And they do, if you accept your responsibility. Its actually the government army that is illegal. No standing army was to exist in this country, which is why funding for it expires every two years. Its this evil offensive government force the founders never envisioned or intended, not an armed citizenry.
Livia Fiordelisi
4 years 3 months ago
"Disarm me Lord, and disarm them." This is reported to have been the daily prayer of Dom Christian De Cherge, prior of the Cistercian community of Our Lady of Atlas, one of seven monks assassinated by terrorists in Algeria in 1996. His words have become my daily prayer. When we look at Christ on the cross, we see God disarmed. It is the power of this vulnerable love that transforms death and lives in us. To many, it can be frightening to walk unarmed and vulnerable into the world, but that is the way Christ walked among us. As disciples, I believe we are challenged to do the same.
TM Lutas
4 years 1 month ago
You do that Livia, and we'll keep on trying to keep you safe.
Bonnie Carniello
4 years 3 months ago

Maybe, a database for mentally violent people who are currently or have had past psychiatric care could be put in place to know where they are along with the pedophiles, terrorists and criminals!

If more people had guns, there would be less crimes. A bad person can buy a gun on any street corner in America for cheap. Criminals are not breaking into homes they know have guns unless they know they are not home. There are 400,000 registered sex offenders and 80,000-100,000 are missing!

If someone comes into my home to do me or mine harm, I will shoot to kill!

People should take a Course on the Constitution before they seek to destroy it! The Amendments were done for our protection, not the governments!

If our new monarchy can send a drone to kill Americans without warning, I have the right to protect myself from evil!

Dan Slaby
4 years 3 months ago
The Constitution was amended 27 times; it was wrong about slavery and denying women the right to vote, among other shortcomings. When the Constitution is wrong, it is the right of the people to change it. The 2nd Amendment, designed to prevent the return of British Colonial rule, and prevent the decimation of an slave based economy by suppressing escape and revolt, now functions as the lynchpin for the overthrow of the American Republic by intimidation and reprisals of elected officials all to the benefit of an arms industry that stands to profit from the militarization of the population. The Constitution places the President as the Commander of Chief of the state militias when called into national service, and provides Congress with the power to call up the state militia to put down insurgency. Use of the state militias to suppress the Whiskey Rebellion against federal taxation in 1791 during the Presidency of Washington is the first example refuting the NRA claim that the militias have a right to overthrow the government if the disgruntled vigilante groups disapprove of majority decisions. Gun control from pistols to nukes is the abolitionist movement of the 21st Century; 2nd Amendment: change it or repeal it.
scott roberts
4 years 3 months ago
The NRA doesn't claim there is a right to overthrow the gov't. The right to throw off a tyrannical gov't is a natural right as expressed in the Declaration of Independence. It exists for all people at all time. Anyone who says otherwise should be construed as a very dangerous person. Much more dangerous than any gun-owner I've ever know.
john andrechak
4 years 3 months ago
great post, Dan thank you. The unspoken part of this debate is the paranoid delusion of the NRA and tea baggers, etal of a government just held at bay by their AR 15s. Fantasy. And where were these types when trillions was transfered to the 1%? And let me guess, all these ranters are pro-life and supported the IRaq War
Dan Slaby
4 years 3 months ago
Repeal and Replace the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution It is the intent of the Congress of the United States and the states enjoined therein to define the meaning of the right of the people to bear arms and enable the Congress to regulate the international and interstate commerce of firearms in this amendment to the Constitution of the United States. b. All citizens have a duty to serve in the defense of the nation. The right to bear arms is the right of the people as a collective to come to the defense of the nation against all its enemies, foreign and domestic, as a member of a militia (National Guard) organized under law in a state of this union. No self-appointed vigilante group of persons can claim the right to bear arms as a lawful militia. b. Congress shall pass laws necessary to regulate the international and interstate commerce of firearms to insure domestic tranquility and prohibit the use of firearms for unlawful purposes or in public places of national interest. Congress shall have jurisdiction regarding the transport of firearms across state boundaries. c. Every entity engaged in the interstate and international commerce of firearms shall obtain a license from the federal government, and provide a report on product safety and sales. Manufacturers of firearms shall not be held harmless for defects and lack of features necessary for safe handing and operation of their product. Firearm manufactures shall maintain adequate product liability to compensate persons injured or killed during their use. d. Congress shall identify those conditions which limit or prohibit the sale of firearms to persons.The commerce of firearms and ammunition that defeat personal protection is prohibited. e. Congress shall maintain a national clearinghouse database, including a network of integrated state databases, for the purpose of conducting background checks, reporting incidents of firearm related accidents, injuries and crimes, and support research toward improving public safety and the emergency medical treatment and training of first responders and rehabilitation of gunshot trauma. f. The right to peacefully assembly prohibits the carrying of firearms, and the use of firearms against any such peaceful assembly is prohibited. g. States shall pass laws necessary to regulate their lawful militias (National Guard) and proscribe requirements and conditions, within federal guidelines, to include firearm safety training, by which resident persons may acquire and carry personal firearms within the jurisdiction of their state. Persons may keep legal arms in their personal property for self-defense; the carry of concealed weapons in public places is banned. Cities may petition the state to regulate firearms within their jurisdiction. h. The President shall be Commander in Chief of the state militias (National Guard) when called into service of the nation. i. Congress shall pass laws necessary to regulate the state militias (National Guard) in defense of the nation.
Michael Kent
4 years 3 months ago
It is the purpose of the Constitution to affirm, not proscribe, rights. If you really want to give that much power over to government, you're living in the wrong country.
David Schmidt
4 years 3 months ago
I've been reading your posts and am confounded by your ignorance. If you really believe what you are writing then your teachers failed you miserably. I'm getting on in years yet I remember well when every high school in New York City had a rifle team and a firing range in the school. somehow we didn't have school shootings nor did anyone get riled when a high school student carried his/her rifle on the subway. What has changed is not the application of the second amendment, but the foolish scholarship reflected in this article and in your commentary. I expect nothing from Jesuits, they spend too much time arguing about pinpricks to ever get major issues correct. But what is your excuse?
James Cadden
4 years 3 months ago
So the undeniable fact that Murder has been reduced by 54 percent, according to the FBI stats, in the last 20 years and is still dropping...that doesn't phase your opinion at all? You still want to dissect the constitution?

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