Repealing the Second Amendment

A Civil War reenactor poses with his musket on the eve of the anniversary of the First Battle of Bull Run in Manassas

The Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States is no more relevant today than was the 18th Amendment of 1919, which was repealed in 1932.

The Second Amendment reads: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of the free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.

It bases its very purpose, as the Supreme Court has concluded, on the need for a militia. It was good for that time in the late1770s when we had just recently fought ourselves out from under the heavy boot of England’s tyrannical King George, and feared there might be a return to that form of government again.

In the almost 300 years of our existence as a country, we have had no such need of a militia. This amendment is used as an excuse to “bear and keep'” the most atrocious people-killer guns as thousands of people now rush to buy automatic weapons after a Bushmaster killed 26 people in a few seconds in Connecticut in December 2012.

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In two cases, The Supreme Court (Washington, D.C., vs. Heller, 2008, and The United States vs. Miller, 1939) had the opportunity to define which guns were protected by the amendment, but the court did not do so, leaving our country with its present horrendous controversy.

Heller was the first time in our history the Supreme Court struck down a gun control law, claiming the right to own a gun for self-defense, countering the Washington, D.C. ban on handguns.

The decision concluded that the Second Amendment “guarantees the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation.”

However, the court stated that the Second Amendment only protects the right to own certain weapons, and that it “does not protect those weapons not typically possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes, such as short-barreled shotguns.”

The court also concluded that the “historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of ‘dangerous and unusual weapons’ limits the right to keep and carry arms.”

Heller did not specify the type of weapons that qualified as “dangerous and unusual,” but the court stated it would be “startling for the Second Amendment to protect machine guns.”  Since Heller was decided, every circuit court to address the issue has held that there is no Second Amendment right to possess a machine gun. Yet the Supreme Court has not so held.

Congress defines “machine gun as any weapon which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading by a single function of the trigger … The machine gun was first widely used during World War I when ‘it demonstrated its murderously effective firepower over and over again.’” (Thinkprogress Justice.)

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In perusing the Founding Fathers’ discussions of the Second Amendment before its adoption, we learn that George Washington was the only one who indicated the type of weapon that would be protected, referring to shotguns and pistols. As muskets were the guns of their day in 1791, and the only guns of the day, the idea of the Founding Fathers even imagining a machine gun is preposterous.

Short of the Supreme Court revisiting the gun ownership controversy on their own, an issue dividing our country to the point of threats of civil war, we citizens should vote to repeal the Second Amendment as no longer viable. Or a suit could be brought against the Supreme Court, if they agree to be sued, for its failure in both Heller and Miller, to define the types of guns protected by the Second Amendment.

A person or group bringing such a charge has to have “standing,” i.e. have been harmed by the action or inaction of those being sued. In this case “standing” rests with every parent of those 20 small children massacred in Newtown, Connecticut, by a gun the Second Amendment permitted by virtue of the Supreme Court’s omission in its decisions in 1939 and again in 2008.

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Our beloved country is on the verge of becoming violently divided over an obtuse amendment, as was the country after the 18th Amendment that went into effect in 1920, outlawing he manufacture, sale, and distribution of alcohol.

Within months, there was a rapid advance of gangster killings over territory, and the rise of a new group of so-called “rum-runners” delivering outlawed liquor to “speakeasies” on a scale similar to today’s drug-runners, flaunting the law and its failed Drug War as they deliver unlimited drugs under cover for sale in the United States.

Nevertheless that 18th Amendment was appealed because it was determined to be detrimental to our country, though the repeal took 13 years. The Second Amendment is proving to be detrimental to our country.

Let us imagine the impossible, have faith in the rightness of our conviction. The Constitution belongs to all of us, even to six and seven year olds who have the right to pursue happiness.

 

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About June Stephenson

June Stephenson is the author of 20 books about women’s issues, parental responsibility, the humanities, philosophy, comparative religion, music, architecture, parenting, sexual abuse, child abuse, spousal abuse, incest, crime, women’s studies, aging, tyranny, family, marriage, and divorce. The accomplished author has a degree from Stanford in economics and a Ph.D. in psychology with 25 years of teaching experience in history and English. Stephenson’s well-researched and documented approach combined with an easy-to-read style, offers readers enrichment and enjoyment. She also is an award-winning artist with many red ribbons from juried art shows throughout California. Stephenson has two daughters and two granddaughters, and lives in Palm Desert, California, with her Labradoddle named Happy.

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