The mass murder of innocent children is the price we pay for our constitutional system. And that price is too high. Mass murder, now horrifyingly routine in this country, should be a political problem. But it isn't. Whenever and wherever the most mild gun control law gets passed it immediately gets litigated, sometimes, as in the 2008 case District of Columbia v. Heller, up to the Supreme Court. All of us take it for granted that the Second Amendment says something important about gun "rights" and all of us know that the Second Amendment isn't about to be changed. Or is it? Even though in the face of deranged men with assault rifles we have allowed constitutional law arguments to eclipse our common sense, our learned helplessness is by no means absolute. Americans are capable of saying "No, gun control is a political issue that must be fixed."
If that means getting rid of the Second Amendment, so be it. For those who feel this may be too much to ask an interim step could be to Amend Article Five, thus making further Amendments to the Constitution an easier, more straightforward and more democratic process. But unless and until we get rid of the Second Amendment no gun control law can escape remorseless, caustic litigation. Mass murder will remain a perpetual threat. And we will remain mired in helplessness.
Indeed, we defer far too many questions to constitutional law when we should be asking, at every opportunity, what kind of society do we want to live in? Where is the moral justice in what we do? How can we live fulfilling political lives without being in thrall to the dead hand of the past?
If the children of Sandy Hook could ask "Why?" they would not be wondering about the so-called "Bill of Rights."
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