How Do You Feel About Repealing the Second Amendment?
Following last month's fatal shooting at a Florida high school, and as a movement rose out of the shooting, the national gun debate surged — once again — into the spotlight.
Inspired by student survivors of the February 14 Parkland massacre, an estimated 200,000 protestors gathered in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, March 24th, to push for gun control.
Just a few days after the passionate demonstration, retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, in admiration of the movement, responded in a provocative New York Times op-ed last Tuesday, calling for a complete repeal of the Second Amendment.
He then urged the demonstrators pressing for stricter gun control to do the exact same.
Rarely in my lifetime have I seen the type of civic engagement schoolchildren and their supporters demonstrated in Washington and other major cities throughout the country this past Saturday.
These demonstrations demand our respect. They reveal the broad public support for legislation to minimize the risk of mass killings of schoolchildren and others in our society.
These demonstrations most certainly demand our respect. Our society has been numbed by the number and frequency of shootings in the all-too-recent past.
But revoking and completely erasing our constitutional right seems a little extreme, right?
His bold proposal has prompted many questions about whether such a fundamental change to the U.S. Constitution is legally, let alone politically, possible...
The Problem With That Is...
The idea of removing the Second Amendment and reforming America into a statist utopia, where the government has an absolute monopoly on the use of force and where nothing bad ever happens, is an incredibly naive fool's paradise.
Not to mention this country was specifically established and designed to allow its people to have and maintain the power to protect themselves against a corrupt government if the necessity ever arises.
However, Justice John Paul Stevens, a man who helped rule over the highest court in the land and who knows the Constitution like the back of his hand, believes the Second Amendment has run its course and that it's time to do away with it completely.
That support is a clear sign to lawmakers to enact legislation prohibiting civilian ownership of semiautomatic weapons, increasing the minimum age to buy a gun from 18 to 21 years old, and establishing more comprehensive background checks on all purchasers of firearms.
But the demonstrators should seek more effective and more lasting reform. They should demand a repeal of the Second Amendment.
Meanwhile, here in the real world, upstanding and liberty-loving Americans believe that if they like their Second Amendment, they can keep it.
The repeal of any constitutional amendment is indeed possible, but highly unlikely. Although Stevens certainly believes it wouldn't be that difficult to achieve.
Overturning that [Heller] decision [establishing an individual right to keep and bear arms] via a constitutional amendment to get rid of the Second Amendment would be simple and would do more to weaken the N.R.A.’s ability to stymie legislative debate and block constructive gun control legislation than any other available option.
That simple but dramatic action would move Saturday’s marchers closer to their objective than any other possible reform. It would eliminate the only legal rule that protects sellers of firearms in the United States — unlike every other market in the world.
Experts say there are two ways to go about repealing a constitutional amendment.
The first process requires that any proposed amendment to the Constitution be passed by both the House of Representatives and the Senate with two-thirds majorities. It would then need to be ratified by three-quarters of the 50 states, or 38 of them.
The second option for repealing an amendment is to hold a Constitutional Convention.
In that case, two-thirds of state legislatures would need to call for such a convention, and states would write amendments that would then need to be ratified by three-fourths of the states.
That's no easy feat to accomplish, especially in today's political climate. And historically, that's proven nearly impossible.
In the history of the United States, the only amendment that's ever been repealed is Prohibition.
It would make our schoolchildren safer than they have been since 2008 and honor the memories of the many, indeed far too many, victims of recent gun violence.
I call bull on this one.
The supposition that removing the right to keep and bear arms would make schoolchildren, or anyone else, for that matter, safer defies history, logic, and common sense.
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A Fresh Perspective
Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-North Dakota) felt compelled to respond to the Washington march just as Justice Stevens did, but her message came as a complete surprise.
At a podcast recording for Women Rule in Los Angeles, Heitkamp launched a staunch defense for the Second Amendment and pushed back on all calls for reform.
"I think sometimes people have a diminished sense of the Second Amendment," she told her audience.
Noting the political climate in California regarding guns and gun control, she persisted. Even when the audience notably questioned her reasoning.
But standing firm, the senator explained that she has "a real kind of visceral reaction to the lack of appreciation, or understanding, about how people feel about the Second Amendment."
Heitkamp compared her opinions to those of abortion rights supporters: "Restrictions on your reproductive rights — think about how strongly you feel about evaluating those restrictions. That's how strongly people in North Dakota and Indiana and other places feel about restricting their Second Amendment."
Breaking from many in her party, Heitkamp has long resisted restrictions on gun ownership. She opposed legislation that would have expanded background checks for online firearms sales and at gun shows, and she previously received an A grade from the NRA.
On the Women Rule podcast, Heitkamp also denounced calls for restrictions on gun ownership for people with mental health issues, saying it would strip citizens of civil liberties in the same manner that unrestricted searches and seizures would.
She put it this way: "You're going to take away someone's rights just by saying we think you have a diagnosis of mental health challenges, so we're going to take away your gun rights without due process."
She also knocked the push for a law mandating a universal background check, saying, "If you look at all these cases, an enhanced background check would not have changed, and would not have prevented anyone from getting a gun."
When asked what sort of gun reform she would support, Heitkamp responded with "no fly, no buy." A bill she floated by Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) would prevent individuals on no-fly lists from purchasing firearms.
This Option is a No-Brainer
In order to bring about the change our society so desperately craves, we need to work smarter, not harder.
Justice Stevens' call to action to repeal the Second Amendment would definitely be the "working harder" alternative.
What if I told you there was a foolproof way to combat gun violence, terrorism, stabbings, or any other form of mass destruction that is currently available under our noses and doesn't require stripping us of our constitutional rights?
Rest assured, with this revolutionary technology, Democrats and Republicans alike can rejoice together!
The safety of the public will no longer be jeopardized, and the Second Amendment can remain perfectly intact just the way it is.
This technology, the brainchild of a small Canadian company, can discretely scan for concealed weapons as people pass by in places like schools, hotels, casinos, stadiums, malls, airports... the possibilities are literally endless.
My colleague, Alex Koyfman, recently discovered this company and its technology and has compiled an entire presentation on this life- and right-saving technology.
It doesn't matter which political party you subscribe to.
This technology will save generations of lives, without the endless political headaches.
Trust me, you're gonna want to hear what he has to say about this.
Until next time,
A 21-year veteran of the newsletter business, Briton Ryle is the editor of The Wealth Advisory income stock newsletter, with a focus on top-quality dividend growth stocks and REITs. Briton also manages the Real Income Trader advisory service, where his readers take regular cash payouts using a low-risk covered call option strategy. He also contributes a weekly column to the Wealth Daily e-letter. To learn more about Briton, click here.
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