What should the United States of America do to the Second Amendment in light of Las Vegas? It’s a question with surely the most laconic answer ever.
Stripping the right of every average Joe to bear arms seems, perhaps now more than ever, an essential cause even if there are no immediate practical routes that would not be devastatingly inflammatory or insulting to the American identity.
Outside the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave, conclusions are easy: do not just bother ‘regulating’ gun ownership with background checks we say – anyone who wants to purchase something capable of shooting down a helicopter is probably beyond help – just the ban the things outright.
Bid a staunch farewell to the adolescent period of your history and join the rest of us here on the ‘Hey, how about we don’t give citizens weapons of mass destruction?’ side.
The problem is most of us are just Twitter users with 512 followers and not legislators with the power over a nation. What’s more, we wouldn’t really know where to start if we were thrown through the doors of the Capitol tomorrow.
Would we doorstep Alex Jones and physically take away his guns? Drive into a Chicagan ghetto and say ‘Hand them over’ and expect no red-splattered fallout? Troupe up all the military grade weapons across all the States into a box and dump them in the Pacific?
The reality of pinching the arms off a country of 320 million is fundamentally flawed.
Look at the amendment in full, as per the Constitution:
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.
And as per the US Supreme court:
The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.
Weighing up the number of gun owners and gun-related deaths, the majority of Americans are what NRA chief Wayne LaPierre referred to as ‘good’ in his ‘The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun’ moment following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newton, Connecticut, when Adam Lanza killed 20 children between the ages of 6 and 7 years old and six adult members of staff before turning the gun on himself.
But as proven on Sunday night, this can sometimes be near-impossible. 64-year-old Stephen Paddock had stationed himself in a hotel room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay and picked his targets from the distance of a quarter-mile. It was only by his own doing that the massacre came to an end.
At the time of writing, Paddock’s motives are not known. He was, leading up to the Las Vegas shooting, on paper, ‘a good guy with a gun’. A law-abiding Mesquite resident with a taste for gambling. So how do you look out for or stop these horrific occurences?
A blanket ban on amendments has been done before, most notably the Eighteenth Amendment (Prohibition) in 1933.
For the Second Amendment to be repealed, every requirement of Article V of the Constitution would have to bet met.
They are as follows:
The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress;
Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.
Simply, to amend a part of the Constitution it has to reflect the will of the people and not the State.
The Second Amendment is interpreted by most as a means to protect themselves from government should anything go awry. So for the government to decide among itself that no citizen should possess a gun would be more than counter-intuitive.
The US remains the insurgent of the world. A concept removed from religious or dynastic oppression. In short: free. Not free from persecution but free to persecute.
A Redditor recently went viral for sharing his beliefs on why Americans, although horrified by death stats, cannot part ways with their guns.
The user wrote:
Keep this principle in mind: The government serves the people, to those on the left: the vote ensures that. To those on the right: the ability to resist ensures that. Gun ownership and its defenders fall back on one principle: the government must always be afraid of its own people in order to prevent it from overstepping its bounds and infringing on the supremacy of the individual.
To put it bluntly, many in America hold very close to their beliefs that Americans withhold the right to overthrow the government at any time. This was an argument at the heart of the Civil War.
Addressing why citizen continue to be seemingly unphased by gun violence, he added:
How many more Columbines? How many Sandy Hooks, Virginia Techs, Las Vegas? How many people have to be murdered until we begin to trust our own government with what many view; as absolute power? Never, maybe. I can’t in good conscience say that gun laws as they are make sense, or that who is getting them should have any access at all, but this isn’t as simple as ‘take the guns away’.
I suppose if I had to hazard a guess, many would argue that the more dangerous (armed) a group is, the less likely it is to be targeted. I don’t personally agree with that since it doesn’t address the far more real ‘lone wolf’ attacks that have become the mainstay of mass shootings.
There is a 99.9% chance that a coast-to-coast pilfering of arms in America would first lead to the resignation of thousands of authority figures not willing to enter the homes of obsessed gun owners, and secondly another civil war. The casualties of which would arguably outnumber the amount of those killed by guns in the last decade.
Ultimately it’s up to Americans to decide what they value most: patriotic literalism or people being shot dead watching country music.