Repeal and Replace the 2nd Amendment?

Anti-gun activists are getting downright delusional with their efforts to disarm Americans. Thwarted by the Supreme Court, a growing number of them are now demanding that we the people amend the Constitution and repeal the right to keep and bear arms entirely.

Over the weekend, Bowling for Columbine director Michael Moore offered up his nutty take on repealing and replacing the Second Amendment with a new 28th Amendment to the Constitution chock that would declare the right to keep and bear arms is no more. If Moore were the only one making this suggestion we probably wouldn’t have made it the topic of today’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co, but sadly he’s not alone. On Monday, USA Today ran a piece from Carli Pierson, an attorney in New York and a member of the paper’s editorial board that also demanded the repeal of the right to keep and bear arms.

We must repeal the Second Amendment if we want this country to ever be safe again.

Whether it’s killings by police, like the 60 bullets fired into Jayland Walker, or by civilians like in Highland Park, Illinois, Uvalde, Texas, or Buffalo, New York our national record on gun violence is an international embarrassment. It can’t be reformed without doing away with guns entirely.

Two quick points here. First, when does Pierson think this country was safe? If we’re going to be safe “again” then we must have been safe at some point in the past, right? When was that, and why didn’t the Second Amendment get in the way of our safety back then? I mean, it’s not like gun ownership is some new quirk of American life. It’s been a feature since before the United States came into existence.

Secondly, Pierson is apparently operating under the idea that if guns are banned the 400-million or so guns that are currently in the hands of 100-million Americans are just going to disappear. There is no way to do away with guns, even if you make them illegal. You’d think Pierson would at least be able to recognize that fact since she uses Prohibition and its repeal as an argument for scrapping the Second Amendment.

Much like we did away with the 18th (prohibition) when it no longer served us, it’s time to do away with the archaic constitutional amendment holding Americans hostage in their own country.
It’s time to say, “Hey, hey, ho, ho, the Second Amendment’s gotta go.”
Why did we do away with the 18th Amendment? Because it was an abject failure. It didn’t stop Americans from drinking copious amounts of intoxicating spirits even though it was illegal to do so. It ended up encouraging lawbreaking on the part of large numbers of average citizens, helped to create a system of organized crime that long outlasted Prohibition itself, and even led to the needless deaths of thousands of Americans thanks to the anti-alcohol zealots who pushed to poison denatured alcohol despite knowing that at least some of that supply was going to be illegally diverted and consumed on the illicit market.

By the mid-1920s, shit was hitting the fan, and hospital ERs were routinely stuffed by those who were suffering from poisoning via denatured alcohol. New York City and its more than 30,000 speakeasies served as ground zero to the soaring number of poisonings, as “1,200 were sickened by poisonous alcohol; 400 died” in 1926, and 700 died the following year. A flashpoint was finally reached over the Christmas holiday in 1926, when more than 60 people were poisoned and 23 died over the course of two days. Wayne Wheeler, the political influence-wielding leader of the Anti-Saloon League, which had successfully galvanized support for Prohibition at the end of the 1910s, responded to the deaths with a particularly callous disavowal of empathy, saying the following per Okrent:

“The government is under no obligation to furnish the people with alcohol that is drinkable, when the Constitution prohibits it,” Wheeler said to the press. “The person who drinks this alcohol is a deliberate suicide.”

Pierson’s attempt to compare the repeal of the Second Amendment with the repeal of Prohibition gets it exactly backwards. The prohibition movement of the late 19th and early 20th century, like today’s gun control movement, promised an end to all kinds of societal ills if we’d only take “reasonable” steps to remove a deadly temptation ripe for abuse from the public’s grasp. Of course, when the prohibitionists finally got their way, it didn’t work out quite like they expected, which is why just twelve years after our experiment in forced sobriety began it unceremoniously ended with the enactment of the 21st Amendment.
I’ve been covering the fight over our right to keep and bear arms since 2004, and I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve heard the calls to repeal the Second Amendment, especially since the Supreme Court issued its ruling in Heller in 2008 striking down Washington, D.C.’s ban on handguns as a violation of our right to keep and bear arms. And yet, in all those years I’ve never once seen any individual or organization do anything other than talk about their desire to do so. There’s been no real attempt to amend the Constitution and excise the Second Amendment, just a lot of bloviating about why we should do so. In her closing argument, Pierson accidentally reminds us of one reason why that’s the case.
I am not the only lawyer to point to the obvious solution. After 14 students and three staff were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland in 2018, none other than the late Justice John Paul Stevens called for repealing the Second Amendment in an opinion column in The New York Times.
It took five decades of campaigning for conservatives to get the constitutional right to abortion overturned in the Supreme Court. Repealing the Second Amendment may look like a long shot today, but if progressives and moderates show up in full force to vote the right people into office over the next couple of decades, nothing is impossible.
The next couple of decades? Is that supposed to inspire the same anti-gun activists who are demanding Democrats nuke the filibuster and pack the Court in order to overturn HellerMcDonald, and now the Bruen decision even though the votes aren’t there do it?
Amending the Constitution is difficult, but it’s not impossible, clearly. It’s been done 27 times in our nation’s history. But because it takes more than a simple majority to do so, any successful amendments must have broad support across the country, and that’s just not the case when it comes to repealing the Second Amendment. The votes aren’t there in either Congress or state legislatures, and that’s after decades of activism of the part of the gun control lobby. Granted, for most of that time gun prohibitionists simply pretended that the Second Amendment didn’t protect a real right, so there was no need to repeal it, but even that argument failed to achieve their goal turning the right to keep and bear arms into a privilege of the favored few.
I don’t think Michael Moore or Carli Pierson can do any better, but honestly, I’d love to see them try. Maybe a high-profile face plant is what it will take for the left to finally start treating the Second Amendment like a real right, though that’s probably some wishful thinking on my part. There will always be those who refuse to recognize our right to armed self-defense, which is why we can’t stop our efforts to strengthen and secure that right wherever we can.
Aug 18, 2022 5:30 PM ET