In a recent New York Times op-ed, retired United States Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens had a clear message: Repeal the Second Amendment.
Moved by the March for Our Lives movement, Stevens said: “Rarely in my lifetime have I seen the type of civic engagement schoolchildren and their supporters demonstrated in Washington and other major cities throughout the country. These demonstrations demand our respect. They reveal the broad public support for legislation to minimize the risk of mass killings of schoolchildren and others in our society.”
Stevens believes that repealing the Second Amendment is the clearest path to addressing gun violence in America. On an average day, 96 Americans are killed by guns. For every person killed, two others are injured. Even though most firearm casualties are from handguns, military-style rifles have become the weapon of choice for mass shootings. AR-15 style rifles were used in the deadly shootings such as Las Vegas and Parkland. Those are the weapons of legitimate concern.
It defies common sense to argue that there is no correlation between our lenient gun laws and recent high-profile incidents of gun violence. Stricter gun laws may not have prevented all of the recent tragedies. Still, it is highly probable that more stringent gun measures could have prevented some of these incidents and/or minimized the number of casualties.
Guns don’t solve problems; arming teachers won’t stop gun violence in our schools. Even if it did, is that the kind of world we want our kids to live in – one in which the people who educate our children are ready and able to unleash lethal power at a moment’s notice?
What will it take to agree on common-sense gun control? Is it by repealing the Second Amendment as Stevens advocates? Is it replacing the Second Amendment with a 28th Amendment as Michael Moore is proposing? The Constitution isn’t perfect. In fact, it has been amended 27 times since its’ inception in 1787. It is not easy to amend the Constitution, nor should it be.
I don’t think the Second Amendment will be repealed anytime soon. I’m not naïve enough to think that even if it was, we would have a world free of gun violence. However, I do believe a 28th Amendment is a viable alternative, one that “would guarantee everyone the right to be free of, and protected from, gun violence (i.e., the public’s safety comes ahead of an individual’s right to own and fire a gun).” This would include a “ban [on] automatic and semi-automatic guns and no gun or clip could hold more than six bullets.” At the very least, it should be seriously considered.
What I do know is that we can’t stop talking about gun control; we can’t stop writing about it. We need to work on common-sense solutions if we are to confront mass shootings in a meaningful way. That begins with insisting on comprehensive background checks, mandatory training and licensing for owners, and keeping guns out of the hands of mentally ill individuals. I don’t think anyone can argue that a world with far fewer guns can only create a safer future for our kids.
What do you think?