The public discourse on guns

The demand for action following the latest public horror by a mass murderer is understandable.

But a moment or two of reflection ought to slow the rush to take precipitate action.

No one seems to have spent much time on the notion of what might actually be effective in preventing the horror from being repeated.

A short perusal of the list of mass murderers and school massacres on the internet shows quickly that they occur and recur through history and across geography. They occur in countries with tough restrictions on firearm ownership and in countries with few restrictions on firearm ownership. Evil men do evil deeds. There is no evidence that human nature has changed over time at all.

If one could wave a magic wand and cause all nuclear weapons to disappear from the planet, I suppose that would be a good thing. But it wouldn’t stop war – or genocide.

If one could wave a magic wand and cause all guns to disappear from the planet, it might at first seem to be a good thing – but a few minutes continuing the thought experiment should give us pause. Thousands died at the hands of soldiers, brigands, & thieves long before the invention of the gun. Cain killed Abel with a rock.

It can be plausibly argued that the handgun as prevented far more violence (and murders) than it has caused.

Colt AdAs Samuel Colt said, “God made them all. Colt makes them equal.”

Be that as it may.

IF (and its a very big “if”) a large enough majority of US citizens are of the opinion that the ownership of handguns, or of semi-automatic rifles, or of all guns ought to be severely regulated, or even outlawed, then there is a mechanism for them to achieve their ends.

Those who drafted and ratified the US Constitution were aware that it is impossible to create a perfect charter of government. They recognized that there would be defects in the Constitution that might become apparent over time. They provided a mechanism to correct any perceived defect. The process to amend the constitution is relatively straight-forward, though it takes some time and political capital. Its been done five times in my lifetime.

Here’s what you need to do:

    1. Pass the proposed amendment in both houses of Congress by a 2/3 vote.
    2. Have 3/4 of the states ratify the amendment.

That’s it. It’s that simple.

What’s that you say? There’s no way to get 2/3 of both the Senate and the House to vote to repeal or alter the 2nd amendment? And no way to get 3/4 of the states to ratify?

Then perhaps there’s not the requisite consensus on what we should do about guns.

Feel free to continue to make your case and try to persuade the body politic that the constitution should be amended. The first amendment guarantees your right to do so. It also guarantees the right of those opposed to repealing or altering the 2nd amendment to present their case.

But until you have the requisite political capital to amend the constitution, please, let’s not have talk of executive orders or even new laws to infringe on the 2nd amendment.

Because abandoning the Constitution would put all of us in far greater peril that all the evil done by all the mass murderers in our history.

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