AP Photo/Michael Conroy
From time to time, some gun control supporter will start off by saying something like, “I support the Second Amendment, but…”
Of course, the moment they say the word “but,” most gun rights advocates brace themselves for the inevitable call for restricting people’s Second Amendment rights. There are exceptions, but not many.
While we routinely call any gun control measure an attack on the Second Amendment, there’s been a growing movement that really is trying to attack the Second. Some want to repeal it. Others want to change the text so that it specifically allows gun control to pass Supreme Court scrutiny.
A revised Second Amendment could spell out the relationship between public safety and private rights in more detail. It could give clear safeguards for people with no history of legal trouble or mental instability to continue to own guns while giving more authority to the government to guarantee that only people unlikely to misuse guns would have them. The precise details would have to be worked out through negotiations, but the general approach — rights for safe users, prohibitions or heavy regulations for others — could work.
Critics might argue that the prospects for success are too low or that the process would take too long, but one must ask, “Compared with what?” The nation has been arguing over gun regulation since the dramatic rise in handgun crime in the 1960s. No amount of public pressure or circumstance has compelled gun owners to give in. Nor will it: Ordinary people who don’t misuse their guns have no reason to agree to give up their security or their hobbies to satisfy someone else’s theory about how to combat gun violence. This fact is not going to change, making legislative changes difficult even if Heller were overturned.
Of course, the reason critics argue the prospects for success are too low is that if you can’t even get gun control to pass in Congress, just how in the hell are you going to pass a constitutional amendment?
Anti-gunners are typically so convinced of their righteousness that they can’t imagine losing. They’ve set up the NRA as a boogieman primarily because then they have someone to blame for their failures. They’re oblivious to the fact that large numbers of people don’t agree with them.
Further, they don’t understand how those people are distributed.
You see, they love polls that claim most people want some degree of gun control. What they fail to understand is how the American population is distributed. For a constitutional amendment, that’s an important fact. The majority of the American population are centered in a handful of states. Really, a handful of large urban centers, when you get right down to it.
So, in a world where Congress is fairly evenly split between both parties–no one has more than a slim majority in their respective chambers of Congress–it’s virtually impossible to get the two-thirds majority in both chambers to advance an amendment, but let’s say that it happened. That’s when that population distribution thing becomes an issue for anti-gunners.
Ratifying an amendment requires three-quarters of the states to vote in favor of ratifying it. That means that while California, New York, and New Jersey will be thrilled to vote for such a measure, it’ll need 35 other states to vote in favor of ratification in order to become an Amendment.
This is where the anti-gunners delusion comes into play.
In their mind, that’s precisely what will happen. Somewhere in the neighborhood of half the states that voted for President Trump in 2016 will somehow decide to vote in favor of a constitutional amendment permitting gun control simply because.
“Tom, if it’s not going to happen, why are you wasting time writing about it?” you may ask.
Or not. Whatever, I’m going to answer anyway.
I’m writing about it because it betrays the level of self-delusion that exists within the anti-gun movement. They’re so convinced that they’re on the “right side of history” that nothing can really stop them indefinitely. They forget that they’re highly concentrated in a few places while pro-gun voices are distributed throughout the nation. There are more pro-gun states than anti-gun ones, and that alone would defeat any effort to amend the Second Amendment.
Anyone with half a brain can see that this is a lost cause, but anti-gunners actually think this is a good idea.
Yet we’re supposed to believe they know what they’re talking about?