Repeal the Second Amendment

Repeal the Second Amendment April 30, 2019
The Bill of Rights, twelve articles of amendment to the to the United States Constitution proposed in 1789, ten of which, Articles three through twelve, became part of the United States Constitution in 1791.

I published the below post last May. I am republishing it because Tuesday, April 30 we had our third mass shooting in four days.

Saturday, a man killed one and injured three in a shooting in a San Diego, California, synagogue.

A day later, a gunman killed one and injured seven when he fired into a cookout in Baltimore, Maryland.

And Tuesday, a gunman injured two and injured four in in Charlotte, North Carolina.

I’ve written about gun violence and mass shootings before before, whether Trump connected, or not. But more and more, it all seems to be connected to President Trump. In the below post, I call for the repeal of the Second Amendment. I stand by that, the only difference being, I believe this more now than I did then.


I am going to politicize a tragedy.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas has gotten more than $360,000 from the National Rifle Association over the years, making him the gun rights group’s biggest recipient of campaign cash. Friday, May 18, Dimitrios Pagourtzis, seventeen, exercising his Second Amendment rights, murdered ten of Sen. Cruz’s constituents and injured ten more.

I woke to news of the mass shooting, at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas, following knee surgery Friday morning. My initial reaction: stand by for (1) thoughts, (2) prayers, and (3) blaming everything except actual firearms.

As an example of (3), in an astonishing bit of blame-shifting, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said Santa Fe High School had too many doors: “There are not enough people to put a guard in every entrance or exit,” Mr. Patrick said, as quoted in The Independent, adding, “maybe we need to look at limiting the entrances and exits into our schools so that we can have law enforcement looking at the people who are coming.”

The National Rifle Association, following its usual MO, will be silent for a few days, then it will trot out its bought-and-paid-for politicians to downplay the impact of gun laws; to blame everything but guns (while Lt. Gov. Patrick blamed too many doors, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott blamed mental illness and slow background checks); and mobilize its base to do the dirty work of blaming gun control advocates.

“They don’t argue with people,” American historian and author Roxanne Dunbar-Oritz told Quartz following February’s Parkland shooting. No, the NRA sees a benefit only from “proselytizing to their base,” she said, “and it works like a charm.”

All of which will lead to: (4) the next mass shooting.

It’s the guns

The Atlantic reports that American high school-aged children are “82 times more likely to die from a gun homicide than 15- to 19-year-olds in the rest of the developed world.” Also, so far in 2018, more U.S. school children have been killed than in all the nation’s combat operations worldwide.

And that’s not counting all mass shootings, not just those in schools. The likelihood of dying by gunfire in America is not just higher than in other developed countries; it’s exponentially higher. Our rate of death by gun violence—3.85 deaths per 100,000 people in 2016—is eight times the rate in Canada and twenty-seven times the rate in Denmark. It is fifty-five times the rate in the United Kingdom.

Including Santa Fe, counting only mass shootings with ten more or fatalities, going back to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012, 230 people have been killed in gun massacres, with 998 injured.

That’s quite the butcher’s bill. And you can blame the usual scapegoats all you want: troubled teens, mental illness, toxic masculinity, “or possibly the crisis of meaning and identity in the secularizing modern world.” But there is only one, real culprit: guns. Not all of these mass shootings involve AR-15s or other military-style assault weapons (the Santa Fe shooter was armed with a shotgun and a revolver), but all of them involved firearms.

Repeal the Second Amendment

Which brings me to the point of this article: repeal the Second Amendment. Alongside the “more gun laws won’t solve anything” chorus we hear after every mass shooting, we get the “we need more gun control chorus.” I think the call for more gun control is well intended, but I don’t think it would by itself be effective.

Even though assault weapons bans in a handful of states have survived federal court challenges, meaningful gun control is severely limited by Supreme Court cases, chiefly District of Columbia v. Heller, which for the first time in American history held that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to own guns irrespective of service in a militia.

We also must consider the fanaticism of gun enthusiasts. They don’t care about your children or loved ones; they love their guns more. Consider this guy, for example. And for all their faux patriotism, gun lovers love their guns even more than their country. They routinely threaten armed insurrection whenever they perceive a threat to their gun rights.

Which is fine. The United States spends more on its military than the next seven countries combined. Have fun against that with your pea shooters, gun enthusiasts.

But though many Americans consider the Second Amendment a core element of American identity, really, what about is so great? The so-called “right to bear arms” is an invention of 19thcentury, Enlightenment deists. And why they invented it is even worse: to protect slavery.

Why would any liberty-loving American, especially Catholics, what to be associated with that?

Repeal the Second Amendment. And I can anticipate the objections.

The objections

“But Sean, they’ll totally ban all gun ownership.”

No, they won’t. It’s logistically impossible. Also, no other countries have a Second Amendment, but all of them allow gun ownership. It’s highly restricted, yes, but in none of them will you find an outright ban.

“But Sean, that means tyranny.”

Where? Ask a Brit if his or her freedom is restricted by gun control. Ask a Japanese person, whose country has some of the word’s tightest gun regulations. Ask anyone from Australia, which enacted strict gun control laws and a gun buyback in the 1990s, if they live under a tyranny or if their freedoms are curtailed. Be prepared for an answer you don’t like.

“But we won’t be able to defend ourselves.”

We’re doing a great job now? America is armed to the teeth, and just yesterday a seventeen-year-old shot twenty of his schoolmates, killing ten. See the list of recent mass shootings above. See the stats on the likelihood of dying from gun homicide in American vs. the rest of the world. Did you ever pause to consider that the solution may be fewer guns, not more?

“But this is just unpatriotic. You hate America.”

First, as I already wrote, it’s the gun enthusiasts who threaten armed violence, even insurrection, at any perceived risk to their gun rights. Second, the Constitution provides for changing it as needed. The Second Amendment, as the name implies, is itself a change to the Constitution. Not only is amending the Constitution perfectly American, there’s even precedent for repealing an amendment, when the Twenty First Amendment was ratified to repeal the Eighteenth (Prohibition).

“But what about hunters and people who shoot for competition? Collectors?”

Again, repealing the Second Amendment does not mean a complete ban on firearms. It means opening the way for reasonable restrictions that will save lives and that can’t be challenged in court. An amendment to repeal can be written to grant state legislatures the authority to regulate gun sales and ownership—similar language was written into the Twenty-First Amendment.

“Repealing the Second Amendment won’t solve anything.”

Ask anyone in any other country in the world with strict gun control laws how many mass shootings, in schools or otherwise, they have. Regular mass shootings are strictly an American phenomenon.

It’s long-past time to end the American blood bath. Repeal the Second Amendment.

"And what, Chari, do you call your male parent? Just wondering."

Fr. C. John McCloskey, Opus Dei, ..."
"Ask a Venezuelan if his or her freedom is restricted by gun control."

Repeal the Second Amendment

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  • You can trust your government from now on.

  • Scaevola

    The United States spends more on its military than the next seven countries combined. Have fun against that with your pea shooters, gun enthusiasts.

    Ask a Brit if his or her freedom is restricted by gun control. Ask a Japanese person, whose country has some of the word’s tightest gun regulations. Ask anyone from Australia, which enacted strict gun control laws and a gun buyback in the 1990s, if they live under a tyranny or if their freedoms are curtailed. Be prepared for an answer you don’t like.

  • (((J_Enigma32)))

    This makes no sense. You already trust your government. You trust them to defend you with the military. You trust them to get your mail to you on time. You trust them to ensure that the water is safe to drink, food safe to eat, and public safety standards are met (they aren’t always successful, but nothing is perfect, and every time they catch a problem, it means the system is working as intended).

    You already trust the government, because you are the government. That’s how things work in a democratic society.

    Unless you’re using some unhinged conspiratorial definition of “government” whereby you’re referring to shapeshifiting lizard people who run the country or that the country is actually controlled by the Communist Jews and their international cabal, in which case you don’t need to be anywhere near a gun anyway.

  • Touma

    I am not the government. The government has done things like lock people in camps because of their heritage, preserving the “right” of people to own other people as slaves, etc.

    Let’s not forget the bombing of innocent men and women around the world by the same government. They are not my government. They may be your government. But what does that say about you? You willingly align yourself with an evil, anti-Christ government?

  • Touma

    UK is actually severely restricted, to the point that knives are even restricted. Yes, even kitchen knives. You see, interesting thing, they heavily restricted guns there and people went from shooting to stabbing and cutting throats. One politician has even called for putting GPS in the all knives.

    As for the Aus. gun buyback wasn’t quite the success that people make it out to be. For one, gun deaths were already decreasing dramatically prior to the buybacks.

  • Touma

    Using the same logic, we should repeal the 1st amendment. No protection for religion, especially Catholicism, which the author holds too. After all, if there was no 1st amendment, and no protection for Catholicism, then we would have less traumatized children because there would be no priests to molest them! Repeal the 1st Amendment, highly regulate Catholicism and save children!*

    *I don’t actually believe any of that. Just mocking an ignorant article.

    As a side note: How do you propose enforcing sweeping gun control? Well, as with any law, they are enforced by men and women with guns. IF you do not obey those laws or those who enforce them, guess what? You are forced into a cage against your will, or you will be shot by those people.

    So you really don’t believe in curbing gun violence. You are fine with it, so long as your god, the State, is the one performing it.

  • MorganHunter

    I think there are serious left-leaning arguments against gun control that you’re not dealing with here.

    1) If you deprive individuals of the ability to defend themselves against violent crime, you’re expecting them to rely entirely on the police to protect them. Given the extremely justified skepticism about the quality of policing in minority and working-class communities, this seems like a problematic idea.

    2) Somewhat similar is the case of women, who are generally physically weaker and so in significant danger from an unarmed attacker. Given the documented frequent inability of the police to protect women from domestic violence, stalking, and sexual assault, depriving them of the ability to defend themselves also seems problematic.

    3) Finally, there’s the issue of the increased ‘criminalization’ of working-class and minority communities that gun control will produce. New York’s infamous “stop and frisk” law was primarily deployed to catch those with unregistered guns, after all. Is giving the police more excuses to arrest working-class black people (which is what gun control will amount to in practice) really a great idea?

    This is *not* to defend the NRA, who as many have correctly pointed out seem largely uninterested in protecting the rights of non-white or female gun owners (witness the deafening silence on the Right about the killing of Philando Castile, or the Florida woman sentenced to a decade in prison for firing a warning shot at her abusive husband, who was threatening to murder her at the time.)

  • (((J_Enigma32)))

    I am not the government.

    If you are American, you are a citizen in a democracy with the power to vote and, ideally, the ability to run for office. You are the government. That’s just how this works. It’s increasingly not working like that, but that’s in part because of memes like this and the idea that the government and politics are something separate from the day-to-day experience of the average individual. If you want to shirk that responsibility, move to China or North Korea. Otherwise, help us push back against the oligarchs and stop pretending like you’re separate from the greater society and the government that serves it. It’s all hands on deck for this.

    The government has done things like lock people in camps because of their heritage, preserving the “right” of people to own other people as slaves, etc.

    No. The people have done this, with the tacit support of other people. And it’s been morally reprehensible every time it’s happened. But every time we isolate this from ourselves, we allow it to happen again. It is my government that’s throwing children into cages at the southern border. And because it’s my government, I’m fighting as hard as I can to change that.

    They are not my government.

    And yet, unless you live in Somalia or parts of the underdeveloped world, you benefit from large scale government actions all the time. They may not be “your” government, but without them your life would not have anywhere near the quality that it has right now.

    You willingly align yourself with an evil, anti-Christ government?

    This is a reductionist and childish way to view things. It’s fundamentally toxic and unhelpful. When everything is always absolutely good or bad, there’s no middle ground, and there’s no degrees of either. And more importantly, it sets aside the idea that people could be within the system pushing to make it better. It just makes it all the easier to shirk your responsibility as a citizen, doesn’t it?

  • (((J_Enigma32)))

    to the point that knives are even restricted

    The British law is not especially onerous, and in Scotland, 16-to-18-year-olds can by cutlery. It’s illegal to sell a knife with a blade more than three inches to someone under the age of 18, and it’s illegal to have locked knives in public. And the list of illegal knives doesn’t include kitchen cutlery, it includes things like balisongs and kusari — i.e., actual weapons and swords. Furthermore, there’s exceptions, as there should be (via https://www.gov.uk/buying-carrying-knives).

    The “Reason” article that this myth comes from was, unsurprisingly, alarmist in its rhetoric.

    One politician has even called for putting GPS in the all knives.

    And he was mocked ruthlessly in the media for it and it went nowhere, from a legislative perspective. Don’t pretend like the UK has a monopoly on politicians who say stupid and clueless stuff. One need only look at Trump’s twitter feed to know that.

    For one, gun deaths were already decreasing dramatically prior to the buybacks.

    This doesn’t contract the idea that the buyback wasn’t successful. But here’s four reasons that it was (via https://www.factcheck.org/2017/10/gun-control-australia-updated/)

    “While 13 gun massacres (the killing of 4 or more people at one time) occurred in Australia in the 18 years before the NFA, resulting in more than one hundred deaths, in the 14 following years (and up to the present), there were no gun massacres.”

    “In the seven years before the NFA (1989-1995), the average annual firearm suicide death rate per 100,000 was 2.6 (with a yearly range of 2.2 to 2.9); in the seven years after the buyback was fully implemented (1998-2004), the average annual firearm suicide rate was 1.1 (yearly range 0.8 to 1.4).”

    “In the seven years before the NFA, the average annual firearm homicide rate per 100,000 was .43 (range .27 to .60) while for the seven years post NFA, the average annual firearm homicide rate was .25 (range .16 to .33).”

    “[T]he drop in firearm deaths was largest among the type of firearms most affected by the buyback.”

  • Ame

    Just a reminder, the U.S. is only a democracy insofar as we democratically elected representatives and our executive chief to make laws and execute them on our behalf. Some municipalities might let us vote on local matters. Thus, we are democratic congressional republic. And yes, it matters to make a distinction as more and more U.S. citizens call on the government to do things it’s not supposed to do because they’re ignorant of the Constitution.

  • (((J_Enigma32)))

    U.S. is only a democracy insofar as we democratically elected representatives and our executive chief to make laws and execute them on our behalf.

    And a triangle is only a triangle because the angles in a normal Euclidean space add up to 180 degrees, no more, no less. Outside of a Euclidean space the angles can be anywhere from 180 to 270 in sum, but non-Euclidean geometry is situational. It’s not the rule most people know as common knowledge.

    Likewise, a representative democracy is the general rule for a democracy. There are exceptions, but like a triangle with three right angles, they’re rare and even knowing about them requires special circumstances and specialized knowledge. Circumstances most normal folks don’t know about.

    What I’m saying here is you just defined what a basic democracy is. It’s not “insofar as” anything. That is what a democracy happens to be. All other instances — like the anarchic direct democracy — are specialized instances most people are not aware of and need to be examined independently.

    call on the government to do things it’s not supposed to do because they’re ignorant of the Constitution.

    Such as?

    See, here’s my problem with this: the Constitution is not the final word on the law; it literally cannot be the final word, because if it were, there would be no mechanism in place to change it. Since there’s a mechanism in place to alter it, I can only conclude that it was never intended to be the final word on anything. It’s the starting point; it’s the thing that begins and frames the conversation that takes place within it. To treat it as if it were the final word on the law, and as if the Constitution itself were some sacred thing that could never be altered or violated, runs directly contrary to both the intention of the document and with the literal centuries of Constitution jurisprudence that have sprang up in the wake of the birth of this republic.

    I don’t know what you mean by “things it’s not supposed to do,” because, in theory, the government has an infinite number of responsibilities that are enumerated only as the need arises, designed by intention because the framers could not have possibly foreseen, for instance, the ways in which the Internet and Free Speech intersect with Intellectual Property. Or, indeed, the IP and the Internet would exist at all.

  • Scaevola

    The OP made a remarkably stupid retort to the post; I merely drew attention to the multiple ways the post itself already addressed this idea that the 2nd amendment is somehow necessary to protect against potential tyranny.

    Which, incidentally, makes *your* reply a total non-sequitur.

  • I was using the second definition.

  • johnnysc

    Well if it’s the instrument that is the problem, I look forward to your call to control forceps, scalpels and any other instrument used in the killing of innocent human life through abortion.

  • skippytheterrible

    Ask a Venezuelan if his or her freedom is restricted by gun control.