How would you like to reduce gun violence in the USA?

08 March 2018

Everyone knows that there has been terrible carnage in America, caused by heavily armed shooters massacring unarmed citizens, including, tragically, school children.  America leads the world in gun violence (among nations not engaged in civil war), and the number of deaths is terrifying, and terribly, heartbreakingly sad.

We have the Second Amendment to the Constitution, contained in the Bill of Rights.  The Second Amendment reads as follows:  “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.”

It is not a model of clarity, since the first part (“a well-regulated militia…”) doesn’t seem to directly tie in with the second part (“the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”) There has been litigation about how to interpret the Second Amendment   (See District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008), for example); and legislation passed to protect gun makers from being sued.  See Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), 15 U.S.C. §§ 7901-7903.

The issue of the right to keep and bear arms is divisive and polarizing the nation. 

Recently, in a letter to the editor, the Washington Post put forward a bold suggestion:  Amend the Constitution.  Peter M. Storm, “Amend The Constitution To Restrict The Flow Of Guns,” Washington Post,  February 22, 2018. 

As he wrote,

Perhaps it’s time to recognize the Constitution for what it is: a user’s manual for organizing a government. It has served us well, but we have made many needed changes over the years. Many were bitterly opposed, and some may have been a mistake that had to be righted, but they were made and the nation survived. Now is the time to make a needed change in the types of weaponry one may legally possess.

The letter did not specify what language to the amendment the author had in mind.  Maybe to link the right to bear arms to some form of well-regulated militia; maybe simply language that would remove high capacity semi-automatic rifles such as the AR-15 from the hands of civilians.

Other options are available.  Congress could repeal its immunity for gun makers who negligently let their guns fall into the hands of unsafe, untrained users.

The law could require that guns be treated like cars:  Owners must be trained, tested, licensed and insured.

Anyway, here is the question of the day (Hint: It’s a one-question survey):

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