How are we to reconcile the current interpretation of the second amendment with the realities of an urban existence? The right to bear arms and the prohibition against government regulation seemingly put us in an intolerable bind.
The direct approach of repealing the second amendment and replacing it
with one that clearly restricts its application to citizens serving in
a well regulated military unit would probably make most sense. Such
an amendment should also specify that the militia involved be
operated under the authority of one of the States, in my opinion, and would be especially true to the founder’s intent by containing a clause
allowing a controlled process of secession. (The Civil War was more
about slavery than historians have come to think. The abolitionists weren’t going to be contented by merely washing their hands of the South.)
But accomplishing this may be too monumental a task.
That approach also suffers from the fact of hundreds of millions of
guns already in the hands of a general public having distorted ideas
about their rights and unreasonable fears about the intent of their
There’s an underlying belief that our freedom from oppression by the
Federal government is at stake. But, believe me, anyone who thinks his assault weapon is going to be an effective deterrent to the world’s most powerful military force is self-delusional.
The utter stupidity of it all is infuriating. It just makes you want to shoot some of the S.O.B.’s.
But that’s at the very heart of the problem. What was intended by the
second Amendment is unrelated to the purpose for which it is being
used today, namely to make all of us easily capable of carrying out the wish
just mentioned. And the wish to end an argument once and for all
resides deeply in all our hearts.
But I don’t see any way our utilizing that ease, even to off the major
proponents of the misuse of the second amendment, would do anything to
help make guns less readily available, or equally importantly, make
them less deadly.
Which hints at another possible route to a rational gun policy. Even
Scalia maintained that registering and licensing guns and limiting
what kind of weapons can be protected by the second amendment was
within the government’s authority. The process of getting guns,
especially handguns, off the streets will take many years to effect,
but a gradual approach seems to be our best hope of getting there.
Banning the sale or possession by anyone outside of law enforcement of
any gun capable of discharging more than five rounds without
reloading, and the same for clips or other devices having such
capacity, would be as effective a measure as we can hope for at the
In the meantime we must press for appointments to the supreme court
who are not ideologically driven. We have no place on the courts for
people who deeply hold opinions based upon their associations, not the
In addition, let us strive to retain the image of twenty children
standing less than hip height being slaughtered. Conjure up that image every time you see one of those living angels. Maybe that will help drive us to eventually end this insanity.