2nd Amendment: Past, Present, Future?
By Mark Mizell, Contributor
In the early days of the United States, it was obvious to our founding fathers that the current governing document, The Articles of Confederation, was not fit to dictate the nations laws or the government’s powers. In 1789 the Constitutional Convention was held to craft a new governing document, one that could adapt and withstand the test of time. At its conception, The Constitution only had ten amendments: The Bill of Rights. Over its 229-year history, it has changed drastically with seventeen amendments being added and others amended or repealed, such is its purpose: to conform and mold to the time period in which it is being interpreted. While many amendments, such as the first, pertain to basic human rights that will never fade or tatter with the ages, one amendment has begun to show its age and effects on Americans nationwide and has sparked a fiery debate over its existence. This brings us to the question: can we repeal the 2nd Amendment? The easy answer is yes. In 1919 the public demanded the ban of alcohol in the U.S., beginning an era known as Prohibition. In 1933, however, when public opinion shifted in favor of its repeal, the 21st amendment was ratified, nullifying the 18th . So, why is the 2nd any different? The difference is that many Americans feel that since it is a part of the Bill of Rights it would be unconstitutional or sacrilegious to repeal it. However, it is not explicitly stated in Article V of The Constitution that it would be, only that amendments can be ratified by a two-thirds majority in both houses or upon being ratified by the legislatures of thirty-eight states.
Now that the legality of the situation has been clarified the question remains, will the 28th amendment to the U.S. Constitution serve the sole purpose of repealing the 2nd? Public opinion has slowly shifted in its favor in recent years and more drastically in 2018 alone following the Parkland Fl. shooting and the March for Our Lives movement led by its survivors, which have brought gun violence into the public eye more than ever before, prompting many Americans to search for unorthodox solutions to the problem. In the face of the greatest “threat” to firearms in the nation’s history, NRA backed politicians are using the 2nd amendment to inhibit any form of meaningful gun legislation proposed by Democrats, in an attempt to make America’s streets and schools safer. This has brought the extent of the amendment’s influence into question, and it has been reviewed by state and federal judges on many occasions. Most recently, a federal judge ruled that the 2nd amendment does not protect AR-15 assault rifles, which allows them to be banned. But, do these minor discrepancies give the nations leaders grounds for repeal? In this matter, the decision is the people’s to make, with many of those at the forefront of anti gun violence movements saying they still support the 2nd amendment with limitations. Staunch conservatives across the nation detest the idea of repeal, they hold their right to own and carry a firearm to be just as important as their 1st amendment rights, but is that right more important than the life of another? That is the question they have been asked countless times in recent months and have responded in a variety of ways, all culminating to show that the conservative opinion on gun legislation or a 2nd amendment repeal has not changed in response to recent events. With national opinion so incredibly polarized, would it be right for Congress to press the matter of repeal? With hundreds of Congressmen and women up for reelection in November, the fate of the 2nd amendment rests on the American voters and the willingness of Democratic lawmakers to press its repeal or Republicans to oppose it.
Personally, I support its repeal. The 2nd amendment is an outdated piece of legislation that does nothing more than create obstacles to encumber attempts at passing meaningful legislation in response to countless school shootings and other forms of gun violence. The 2nd amendment was written when African-Americans were enslaved and counted as three-fifths of a person, a woman did not have basic human rights much less the right to vote, and the most common firearm in the world was the flintlock musket firing an inaccurate lead ball from a smooth bore. All this to say that it is time for a change, this nation is based on the unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and while those are set in stone, the right to bear arms is a remnant of a bygone age where violence and death were a fact of life, today in many ways the amendment does farm more harm than good for the American people.
However, despite my opinions, I recognize that it is highly unlikely the second amendment will be repealed, simply because of the overwhelming support it receives from a vocal demographic in America. Today, with our nation and government plagued with division and the chasm between us widening more each day it would be nearly impossible to accomplish any legislation on the scale of the repeal of an amendment, so we must strive for a compromise, the passing of comprehensive and common sense gun laws that protects American citizens while staying within the limitations of the second amendment. While it may be outdated, the second amendment stands as an amendment to The Constitution, as Americans, we may voice our opposition, but not until its repeal may it be renounced. In conclusion, regardless of your opinion on the matter, or your political alignment, if you can vote in November for it is the only definite way for your voice to be heard or opinion considered in Washington, and always advocate for what you believe for it is our duty as American citizens to dictate the terms of our government and by extension our Constitution.
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