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Common-Sense Gun Laws Are Not Enough

March 6, 2018

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Common-Sense Gun Laws Are Not Enough

Photo by: Bobby Brown

Photo by: Bobby Brown

Photo by: Bobby Brown

Weeks ago, Nikolas Jacob Cruz walked into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida and murdered 17 of his schoolmates with an AR-15.

In June 2016, Omar Mateen entered Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando Florida and killed 49 people. It was the deadliest shooting in U.S. history until it wasn’t.

In October 2017, Stephen Paddock opened fire on a crowd of people attending a country music concert in Las Vegas, killing 58 people and injuring 500 others.

That is to say nothing of Sandy Hook Elementary, or Columbine.

What should be extreme outliers are instead extreme norms, an extreme problem. Mass shootings seem to grow in numbers, in ambition, in insanity, every year.

An extreme problem calls for an extreme solution. I think it’s time we talk about rewriting the Constitution and banning most, if not all, guns.

The Parkland teens are advocating for the very same things the mainstream Democratic party line is: an assault weapons ban, raising the age to purchase firearms, and universal background checks. Most of these proposals are very popular.

I see this as a jumping off point. Would raising the age to buy firearms from 18 to 21 have stopped 64-year-old Stephen Paddock or 29-year-old Omar Mateen? Would an assault weapon ban have really stopped Paddock, who utilized bump stocks to modify and transform his  weapons?

I endorse all of the Parkland teens’ demands. I endorse them as the starting point, the opening door.

The problem is not merely assault weapons or bump stocks or background checks. The problem is the NRA, our gun culture, and our Second Amendment, which we have interpreted over time to mean near limitless access to guns.

I am calling for radical changes to our gun laws, the catalyst for which must be amending the Constitution, and rewriting the Second Amendment. While the text does refer to both a “well regulated militia” and “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms,” room for interpretation remains.

That ambiguity must be expunged.

The Second Amendment must be rewritten to reflect an America where guns are now far more dangerous than muskets ever were.

In doing so, the government should fully ban assault weapons and limit Americans to one handgun per household, under strict lock and key. A buyback program, like the one used in Australia to curb gun violence, should be instituted to pull guns out of circulation in exchange for cash.

Guns should be voluntarily given up, and then ultimately confiscated.

I don’t deny that it’s a big ask. I’m asking for a dramatic expansion of the powers of the state. Rewriting the Constitution requires a two-thirds vote in both Houses and ratification by at least 38 states: numbers that simply don’t exist at this time.

Many would criticize a proposal like this for being impractical and impossible and therefore useless. If it can’t be done, why bother talking about it?

But bold aspirations and radical solutions are the foundation this country was built upon. Overthrowing the British with a well-regulated militia was a radical solution to an extreme problem.

This country’s gun laws must be turned upside down. For the 17 kids who died at Stoneman Douglas. For the 49 gay men and women who perished at Pulse Nightclub. For the 58 concertgoers who were murdered by Stephen Paddock.  

We can’t afford petty incrementalism and fake solutions. It’s time for the left to make the case for drastically limited or eliminating gun rights in this country. Someone has to.  

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