Proposed: A Twenty Eighth Amendment

As parent, I can’t bring myself to look at the pictures. I can’t imagine the grief all those families in Connecticut are going through tonight; the families with children — kindergartners, first-graders — massacred today by a lunatic with guns, and the parents of those who survived who will live with the scar forever. Can’t imagine any of it, can hardly bear the thought of it.

The one thing I can imagine that might possibly help is to stop all our talking and commit ourselves to something truly serious, lasting, and impervious to challenge — an amendment to the Constitution which explicitly allows the Congress and the states to regulate gun ownership and gun sales as they see fit, and that makes clear the Second Amendment does not grant an explicit, personal right to own a gun. Just as the Constitution doesn’t give us the right to own a car, or a bike, or any number of other things.

When our country really wants to do something serious, to right some wrong and to end some massive injustice, we pass an amendment. Go see “Lincoln” if you haven’t already and you’ll be reminded of that lesson. We did it with slavery (13th amendment), citizenship and due process (14th amendment), the right to vote for women (19th), the voting rights (24th amendment) and right for 18-year-olds to vote.

An amendment to the Constitution would be the clearest, most unambiguous, and most permanent way we could stop this madness. An amendment to the Constitution would allow Congress and the states to take any real, concrete action necessary to stop the scourge of guns. Without such an amendment, we run the risk of wringing our hands for decades to come, of being held hostage by the Supreme Court and the vagaries of the Second Amendment. An amendment would establish the will of the people, and make that clear to legislators and the people like the NRA who seek to intimidate them.

I appreciate Mike Bloomberg being so vocal about his support for gun laws. But, to paraphrase his statement today, we need more than just “statements” about other people’s statements. We need action. He is a wealthy man, and has billions of dollars at his disposal. If he’s really serious, perhaps he might consider championing this cause, doing something bigger, bolder and far more audacious than pleading for more gun control laws.


8 thoughts on “Proposed: A Twenty Eighth Amendment

  1. “Just as the Constitution doesn’t give us the right to own a car, or a bike, or any number of other things.”

    Your argument is that guns are given special sanctuary in the Constitution over cars and bikes. If the purchase of cars and bikes were regulated, this argument would make sense.

    The question is if more regulation will actually make things safer. I got a chuckle from this quote: “So making guns illegal will take them off the streets? We should make heroine and meth illegal too!”

    • You’re kidding, right? Because we absolutely regulate cars and bikes. We make laws about what kinds of gas you can use, the amount of emissions that will be tolerated, the average mileage that a fleet should achieve. We require drivers to have licenses, and set strict rules on speed and safety for both cars and bicyclists. The point of a new amendment isn’t just to have more regulation; it’s to embed into our constitution the notion that we can regulate your ability to bear arms, that it is a legitimate function of government to regulate this, to outlaw some weapons and ammunitions if necessary, to confiscate some weapons if they pose an outsized threat (automatic weapons for a starter). And on a day like today to use that quote about heroin (no “e”) and meth is outrageous and offensive. Last time I checked, 20 kids weren’t killed by a madman wielding a meth pipe.

  2. forlibertysake says:

    This is absolutely absurd! Really? Amend the Constitution to make one of its original articles null and void. I would encourage you to analyze why our founders included that amendment in the first place. Also, please understand that thousands of people have died in defense of the Constitution that everyone (for some reason) wants to destroy. We’ve nearly lost all of our liberties with the Patriot Act… what else do you want?

    • Do you know anything about the Constitution or our history? Apparently not. Many amendments were about undoing wrongs written into the original document (c.f., the 19th amendment).

      Also, really — do you think owning a Bushmaster is going to protect you if the government decides to take away your liberty (our government)? Should we each have our own drones and nukes?

      Tell me specifically what liberties you lost, by the way, with the Patriot Act. I’d love to know.

  3. “An amendment to the Constitution would allow Congress and the states to take any real, concrete action necessary to stop the scourge of guns.”

    I’m reminded of the moderately famous cartoon of the scientist at a blackboard covered in equations leading to a cloud with the label “Miracle Happens Here.”

    Secondly, the folks who banned alcohol thought they were ridding the country of the scourge of alcohol. They were wrong also.

    Thirdly, your proposal to have an amendment would carry more weight if you included language. The rubber must meet the road. This post contains not a proposal or an amendment, but only a hallucination of a result.

    I understand why this seems like something. Every time pols pass a bill they take credit for all the promises of the bill as if the law had already accomplished them. This is, of course, nonsense that only fools only those who want enough to be fooled.

    I’m not against amending the Constitution. I propose 10, in detail, “The Next 10 Amendments.” Here: http://bit.ly/bdnwgC

    You, however, are simply proposing a result, identifying a miracle to happen somewhere.


  4. Pingback: A Twenty-Eight Amendment: Part II « MHALLVILLE

  5. I warned people in Demons of Democracy the government was headed in the wrong direction. Demons discusses, with examples, how lawyers and legislators are undermining America. Guess what, that is exactly what Obama is doing now. Demons of Democracy should be required reading for anyone with an ounce of brains left in America. Mark Davis MD, platomd@gmail.com

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