Tag Archives: Second Amendment

Repeal the Second Amendment? Hey, let’s talk

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

— Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

I’ve got some idle time and I am wondering about a congressional proposal that would move Mother Earth, about an idea that would trigger a political earthquake like we’ve never seen in this country.

Have you wondered — as I have — whether anyone in Congress has the nerve to propose repealing the Second Amendment?

Mass shootings in schools, churches, movie theaters, at music festivals or shopping malls so far has failed to move anyone to propose such a thing on Capitol Hill. Seventeen more people died this week in Parkland, Fla., when a lunatic opened fire with an AR-15 assault rifle that he had purchased legally.

I’ve heard a bit of chatter from young Americans that maybe they would be the generation to get our politicians to do something truly dramatic to curb gun violence.

Repealing the Second Amendment would be, um, a seriously dramatic notion.

We all know this reality: It won’t happen. The Second Amendment is one of our Bill of Rights. It isn’t going to be repealed. Sure, we’ve repealed amendments before. The 18th Amendment calling for Prohibition was pulled back years later when it became clear that it wasn’t prohibiting Americans from swilling alcoholic beverages; Congress enacted the 21st Amendment repealing the 18th. So, the precedent for repealing a constitutional amendment has been set.

Do I believe we should repeal the Second Amendment? Full repeal isn’t possible, as near as I can tell. I do believe that there must be a legislative solution that allows Congress to enact laws that control the purchase and ownership of firearms without violating the principle behind the Second Amendment.

I don’t want the government to storm into my house and force me to surrender the two weapons I own: an heirloom 30.06 rifle and a .22-caliber single-shot rifle my father gave me when I was 11 years of age.

You see, I am not a nut job. I don’t have pent-up anger. I will never do harm with either of these weapons. That’s just me. I cannot speak for the actual nut jobs out there who possess far deadlier weapons and do intend to inflict maximum horror and misery.

It is long past time our elected representatives do something constructive about the individuals who purchase assault rifles and then unleash them against children or other innocent victims.

So, why not kick the discussion squarely in the a** by suggesting out loud that it’s time to repeal the Second Amendment?

Surely there must be a member of Congress — among the 535 individuals serving there — who has the stones to do such a thing.

When is it the ‘right time,’ Mr. Speaker?

U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan is showing his gutlessness yet again.

He said it is “too early” to discuss gun violence in the wake of the latest gun-related tragedy.

A gunman killed 17 people in Parkland, Fla. on Valentine’s Day. Seventeen lives were snuffed out by a lunatic with an AR-15 assault rifle. He bought the gun legally, according to authorities. OK. Let’s start there.

How does someone who exhibited some warning signs of violence purchase an assault weapon legally? Are there any legislative remedies available to prohibit someone from buying a rifle that is designed to inflict maximum casualties in a minimum amount of time?

The speaker says it’s too early to talk about that. What utter crap!

It’s not too early. It’s never too early. Our nation is grieving yet again after a massacre at a public school. I am sickened in the extreme at this news. What’s more, I also am sickened at the lack of our will among our political leadership to take this matter on in a forthright manner.

The president spoke to us this week about love and caring for the victims. He said the students who witnessed the carnage are not alone and “never will be.” I appreciate Donald Trump’s statements about the need to protect our students and to tackle the ravages of mental illness. He’s right.

However, the president hasn’t yet broached the subject of gun violence. He hasn’t offered any ideas on how we might legislate some solution, or begin to craft a path toward some remedy that doesn’t violate the constitutional guarantee of gun ownership.

Let’s talk about this, shall we? It’s not too early. If not now, then when is the right time?

Where is that solution to this violence?

I hate repeating myself. It frustrates me terribly when I find myself saying the same things over and over … much as I did to my sons when they were growing up.

Not to mention how frustrated they must have been. You know?

Thus, I am aghast at having to say once again: How in the world do Congress and the president find a solution to curb gun violence that doesn’t weaken one of our cherished constitutional amendments. I am referring to the Second Amendment, the one that guarantees gun ownership in this country.

The debate is being joined once again in the wake — once again! — of horrific tragedy. Seventeen people died Wednesday in a horrifying massacre at a Parkland, Fla., high school. A former student is in custody.

He entered the school with an AR-15 assault rifle, a weapon he purchased legally.

I am not smart enough to come up with a legislative solution to this problem. I merely sit out here in Flyover Country, writing a blog and offering commentary on this and/or that issue of the day.

The issue of this day happens to deal with guns and the violence that comes from those who possess weapons with the sole aim of killing as many beings as humanely possible.

A shooter walked into the high school and killed a lot of people quickly. Does the Second Amendment guarantee a lunatic the right to purchase a weapon that the authors of that amendment never envisioned in the late 18th century?

Gun-rights groups say, “Yes, it does!” They add, “Not only that, don’t even think about watering it down.” Then they bully our elected representatives into supporting their view. Members of Congress back off. They flinch. They quiver. They don’t act.

They’re smart enough to know how to craft legislation that perhaps can make it just a bit tougher to purchase an assault weapon.

Yes, I know what you might ask: Would any law have prevented the slaughter in Parkland? My answer? I have no earthly idea.

I do believe that we cannot let our lack of assurance about the effectiveness of these laws prevent our elected lawmakers from seeking solutions.

Moreover, I also believe that the Second Amendment is written broadly enough to allow for some controls on the weapons we allow and on those who can purchase them. I know we have restrictions already on who can purchase these weapons. I also know those restrictions aren’t limiting the tragedy that keeps recurring.

Can’t we do better? I believe we can.

I also believe we must.

We may never solve this national crisis

One of my oldest and dearest friends has just posted a message on social media that I want to share in this blog.

Tim was my best man in 1971 and has forged a successful career in law. I admire him more than I’ve ever told him, until now.

Here is what he wrote:

In everything I do in my personal life, my professional life, my Rotary life, I am a “glass half-full” guy. I am an optimist. I believe that things can and, with determination, WILL get better. I believe in the inherent good in people in all walks of life. All of this is true in every area of my life but one: To those who plead, through eyes filled with horror and tears, that gun violence must stop, I say: It will never happen. This country, with orders of magnitude more guns and gun deaths than any other country in the world, is too far gone. The gun lobby is too strong. The pathetic “2nd Amendment” excuse is too widely embedded. Our legislators are too deep in the pockets of those who profit from death. Over and over and over again I hear “We must take action to stop this!” and that is the news for a week, maybe two, and then we are right back in the murderous gunsights, losing more people to gun violence each year than in the worst year of traffic deaths. And the hand-wringing and tears is as far as this will ever get. I am so ashamed of what went wrong in our country, and utterly without hope that it will ever, ever, ever get better.

The massacre today in Parkland, Fla. has scarred us all. Americans all across the land condemn gun violence. They call for something to be done legislatively to end it. Nothing happens.

I fear that my dear friend has encapsulated what many of us have feared all along. There is nothing we can do now to prevent this kind of slaughter from recurring … again and again.

It is to our everlasting shame.

The nation is still crying over this tragedy

This tweet was fired off today from a former White House secretary, Jay Carney.

He writes that his boss, President Barack Obama, broke down in tears over the news that came from Newtown, Conn.

A deranged madman gunned down 20 first- and second-graders and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The president, who is “normally stoic,” as Carney said, lost his cool. He cried.

So did Carney. Indeed, so did many Americans when they got word of what had happened. I was among them.

This tragedy occurred five years ago this week. It was supposed to be some sort of “tipping point” in the never-ending debate over gun violence and whether there were ways to legislate a remedy that could keep weapons out of the hands of lunatics, such as the monster who committed this dastardly deed.

The fight, as always, centered then on the Second Amendment, the one that guarantees the right to “keep and bear arms.” Gun-rights advocates argue that no law could have prevented the Newtown nut job from getting a gun, given that he got the weapon from his mother — who he also killed in his rampage.

The failure to act in the wake of that horrific event made the president cry yet again.

And … yes, there have been other such tragedies since that terrible December day: Orlando, Las Vegas, Sutherland Springs, to name just three of them.

When can we stop the tears?

Does gun control doom 2nd Amendment? Um, no!

I believe we can start debating gun legislation now in the wake of the Sutherland Springs, Texas massacre. Correct?

It has commenced and there now appears to be some indication of public support for stricter gun laws.

A Gallup Poll reveals that 51 percent of Americans now favor increased regulation on guns purchases. Wow, man! Imagine that. Most Americans, according to Gallup, think the nation needs to legislate some remedy to keep guns out of the hands of madmen, such as the guy who opened fire at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs.

Most want gun control

I am acutely aware that this is a complicated problem that requires a finely nuanced legislative solution. I am a supporter of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution; I also own firearms. I need no lecture on how the Second Amendment has been interpreted by the courts.

The Sutherland Springs tragedy also brings to mind a monumental failure by the U.S. Air Force to report the gunman’s criminal history to the FBI, which could have prevented him from getting the weapon he used to slaughter those people in the church sanctuary.

The complications, of course, become evident when bad actors acquire guns from family members, or friends, or some fly-by-night gun seller looking to make a few bucks. I do not know how you prevent those crackpots from obtaining guns.

Is there a legislative solution that remains faithful to the Second Amendment? I believe one can be found. Somewhere. By someone. Somehow.

If the Gallup Poll is accurate — and I tend to believe it is — then our elected representatives have been given a chance to do what they’ve been unwilling to do in the wake of other horrific tragedies.

Of course, it would be a no-brainer were it not for the existence of that political powerhouse called the National Rifle Association.

Parsing the founders’ language in the 2nd Amendment

Of all the amendments to the U.S. Constitution — all 27 of them — the one that gives me the most serious case of heartburn is the Second Amendment.

Here is what this amendment says. It’s brief, but it’s so damn confusing in my humble view: A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.

Americans are talking yet again about this amendment. Events in Las Vegas over the weekend have thrust this issue to the top of our minds once more. We’re talking about gun violence, gun control. We’re even debating whether we should be debating this issue at this time. I believe we should.

But I want to look at the Second Amendment’s sentence construction. I’ve read it thousands of times over my many years on this good Earth. I don’t understand what it’s saying.

The founders were smart men. They did a good job of developing a fairly cogent and concise bill of rights that are contained in the first 10 amendments to the Constitution. The Second Amendment, though, seems to make two points that are not connected to each other.

Indeed, the first 12 words preceding the comma seem to be lacking an ending. It refers only to a “well-regulated” militia and the necessity to have one to maintain “the security of a free State.” That’s it!

The following clause could stand as a complete sentence in that it contains a subject, some verbs and a predicate.

Those who favor stricter controls on firearms point to the first clause as their rationale. Those who oppose such controls look to the clause after the comma as their rationale.

My sense is that here is where the debate over this amendment seems to break down. Those on opposing sides of this mammoth chasm place their emphases on separate clauses. One means something different from the other one.

I know that courts have ruled countless times that the amendment means that Americans can own firearms, that it’s protected in the Constitution.

The Bill of Rights was ratified Dec. 15, 1791 and thus, the Constitution was established to form a framework for our representative democracy.

The founders got it mostly right when they crafted that framework. They wrote the Bill of Rights almost without exception with sentences that make sense; nine of the 10 amendments comprising the Bill of Rights were constructed in ways that make sense to laypeople such as yours truly.

The Second Amendment, though, gives me heartburn.

By all means, let’s talk about guns

Part of the debate in the wake of the Las Vegas massacre has spun into a discussion about the timing of a debate over gun violence and whether we need more laws to control the ownership of firearms.

Donald Trump believes it’s premature to talk about such matters.

The White House echoes the president’s view on the timing of that discussion.

Others, meanwhile, have kicked that debate into first gear and are shifting into higher gears quickly.

To be honest, I am with those who want to start the discussion now.

I am not dishonoring the victims of the gunman’s horrific act. I pray daily for the 59 people killed and for the 500-plus victims who were injured. I pray for our country and hope we can return to some semblance of sanity.

Moreover, I do believe we can enact some additional controls on the flow of firearms without dismembering the Second Amendment guarantees of firearm ownership. I won’t engage in that debate here.

I do want to deal briefly with the notion that we can have that discussion while mourning the loss of life in Las Vegas. It’s not too early. I am mystified at the idea that it is inappropriate to seek measures to protect us against this kind of heinous act.

TV talking heads are grilling politicians about gun control. Some of them are hedging. Others are willing to engage — right now — in that discussion.

The carnage that spilled on the floor in Las Vegas has prompted yet another national debate over how — or if — we can ever protect humanity from gun madness.

Do I have confidence that this moment will produce any action? Consider this: If the deaths of those 20 innocent children and six of their teachers, who were slaughtered in Newtown, Conn., couldn’t get politicians to budge, does anyone believe they’ll move as a result of the Las Vegas massacre?

Their likely refusal does not make a national discussion any less important.

‘Even the loons’ deserve to have guns?

Bill O’Reilly isn’t on TV much these days but he still has quite a following around the nation.

I feel the need, therefore, to challenge an assertion that the former TV host made in a blog post he wrote about the Second Amendment, the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of Americans to “keep and bear arms.” He said the Las Vegas massacre this weekend is the “price of freedom” and said the “Second Amendment is clear that Americans have a right to arm themselves for protection. Even the loons.”

Even the loons?

No, Bill. The loons might have that right currently, but they do not deserve the same rights to own firearms for protection.

This cuts pretty close to the heart of a debate that’s going to rage across the nation in the wake of the Las Vegas massacre that killed 59 people and injured more than 500 others. The gunman opened fire from the 32nd floor of a hotel onto a floor filled with concert goers who were listening to a concert performance by country music star Jason Aldean.

The debate over the Second Amendment has commenced, despite what White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said today about it being “too early” to have this national discussion.

Price of freedom?

I have no specific answers to the changing the status quo. I do believe in the Second Amendment. I believe Americans’ right to own firearms should remain. However, I continue to believe that there must be some additional controls placed on those who purchase firearms to do something to keep them out of the hands of people like the Las Vegas gunman.

There are limits on certain elements of the First Amendment; you can’t yell “fire!” in a crowded theater, nor can you slander or libel someone. Yet, there are those who contend that the Second Amendment must remain untouched from what the founders wrote in the 18th century. 

I won’t accept that notion. Surely there can be a way to craft reasonable restrictions on the purchase of firearms that seek to keep them from nut jobs like the guy who opened fire in Las Vegas.

And, no, I am acutely aware that no additional law is going to deter every single monster from obtaining a weapon, just as laws against murder haven’t eliminated that crime from occurring.

As we move forward with this discussion, my hope is that we can find a way to keep this debate as calm as possible and look as dispassionately as we can at alternatives to the status quo.

Another tragedy likely to ignite another debate on guns

Americans awoke this morning to horrifying news.

At least 58 people are dead, hundreds more injured and a nation is shaken to its core because of gun violence. This time is occurred from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nev.

A gunman opened fire with a fully automatic rifle from high over the ground floor where revelers were enjoying a country music festival.

What in the name of all that is supposed to make sense do we think about this?

The shooter is dead; he reportedly took his own life as police were closing in on the room where he was holed up. The FBI is assisting local police in investigating what drove this monster to do what he did. The president of the United States, Donald Trump, called this an act of “pure evil,” which it most certainly is.

Somehow, in a macabre sort of way, any discussion of what to call this dastardly act seems pointless so early as we have become consumed by our national grief. I’ll call it what I believe it is: an act of domestic terrorism. I will let others debate how this should be labeled; I won’t join that debate.

Make no mistake, too, that this act is going to spawn yet another “national conversation” about gun violence and how — or if — we can ever enact reasonable, tighter gun control laws that do not infringe on people’s constitutional guarantees to the ownership of firearms.

I’ve long believed the Second Amendment is not wholly sacrosanct. I believe there can be restrictions placed on weapons of the type used in the Mandalay Bay massacre. That debate will be joined in due course.

Meanwhile, I am going to collect my breath and say my prayers for a nation that has been thrust into mourning once again by the insane act of a gun-toting madman.