Sunday, April 23, 2023

All together now: the second amendment must be repealed

It has been two years since I first called for the repeal of the second amendment.  (Someone has to be the first.)  It seems like a complete no-brainer to me that we need to at least say the obvious truth that the second amendment is a relic of the past and has no place in a modern technological society, if for no other reason than to start moving the Overton window for future generations.  It has worked spectacularly well for abortion prohibition, so why would it not work equally well for guns?

At long last someone else has stepped up to the plate.  Kirk Swearingen over at Salon has published a piece aptly entitled "The Second Amendment is a ludicrous historical antique: Time for it to go."  So kudos to Kirk.

Unfortunately, despite the assertive title, he gets a little bit mamby-pamby about it.

We're not supposed to even whisper such things because the NRA and right-wing extremists have sensible Americans — including many gun owners — so bullied and cowed that we feel we are only allowed to hope for sensible gun-safety legislation around the edges of their highly profitable assault on American lives.

 It's true.  But this has to end now.  The second amendment is quite literally an existential threat to American lives.  More Americans are killed by domestic firearms every month than died on 9/11.

Say it with me.  Say it loud.  Say it often.  Repeal the second amendment.  Repeal the second amendment.  Repeal the second amendment.  Repeal repeal repeal.  Repeat repeat repeat.  The lives of our children literally depend on it.


coby said...

I don't disagree, but there is a much more politically plausible and probably just as effective halfway-there solution: just get a sane SCOTUS interpretation of the second amendment that reflects its obvious intent. It is a right for states to have their own armed militias, not an individual's right to possess military grade weapons.

Ron said...

@Coby: I don't disagree, but the reason for chanting Repeal is not because repeal is a politically viable outcome, it is because "Repeal the Second Amendment" is a snappier slogan than "get a sane SCOTUS interpretation of the second amendment that reflects its obvious intent". The former is only four words. It fits on a bumper sticker. The shortened version is only two syllables. It's easier to rally behind.

The goal is not to actually get the 2A repealed (though that would be a great outcome) it is to move the Overton window so that we are more likely to get a sane SCOTUS again.

So: Repeal. Repeal repeal repeal repeal. Lather, rinse, repeat -- but mainly repeat.

Ron said...

Oh, forgot to add: if the intent of the 2nd amendment were obvious we would not be having this conversation. It might be obvious to *you* that the intent was not to guarantee an individual right to bear arms, but it is not obvious to supporters of the 2nd amendment, and, more saliently, it is not obvious to a majority of the current members of the supreme court.

In fact, it is not even obvious to *me* that you are right about this, and I'm as sympathetic an audience that you are likely to find. The Bill of Rights explicitly distinguishes between rights granted to the states and rights granted to "the people." For example, it specifically calls out "the right of THE PEOPLE peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances" and that is obviously (!) an individual right. By way of contrast, the Tenth Amendment reserves unenumerated rights "to the States ... OR to the people". So if the intent of the 2nd amendment was to grant a right to the states, it would have said so.

coby said...

Understood about the window thing, no objection on that from me.

I did think the "the people" had a different implication in other places, I'm not that familiar with the exact text of the US constitution, so I concede on "obvious" even if it was intentionally a flip characterization.