Could gun rights ever REALLY be eliminated in America?
This is the hot topic of the times, and it's not going away anytime soon. It's another wedge that seems to have divided the country so politically. There's a lot of talk on this subject, but not many get into the nitty-gritty of COULD this ACTUALLY happen?
That's what I intend to do here. Before we get started, let me just state I'm not going to make this a political thing. I'm not a fan of the Democratic or Republican parties. I'm not going to mud-sling.
We'll not get into the mess of rights to carry concealed or open or any of that stuff. Let's just look at the logistics of what would ACTUALLY have to happen in order to legally make the basic rights of owning a firearm a thing of the past.
The Second Amendment is pretty much bulletproof (pun intended).
This is one of the most common things I see. People always talk about the Second Amendment as if it is always in immediate peril. But contrary to many popular beliefs, an amendment can't simply be tossed aside like yesterday's garbage.
It all starts with Article Five of the U.S. Constitution. In short, Article V is the process by which amendments can be altered. And there is only way to do that. That's to pass another amendment. And this is where things get complicated.
There are multiple ways to propose a new amendment. One of these is a two-thirds vote by Congress, the House of Representatives or the Senate. Another would be an Amendments Convention by two thirds of the state legislatures.
So there's multiple ways an amendment can be proposed, but this shouldn't scare you. It shouldn't scare anyone quite frankly because the amendment doesn't become part of the Constitution until it is ratified. And this is very difficult to do.
The biggest hurdle being a proposed amendment can only be ratified by three-fourths of the states. What does that mean? It would mean a most unlikely scenario where 38 of 50 states would have to support an end to the Second Amendment.
While there are gun-friendly and not so gun-friendly states out there, can you honestly imagine a scenario where more than half the states in the U.S. decide to eliminate the second amendment? I certainly can't. And it would be political suicide for every politician who went along with it, no matter their background.
Has an amendment ever been repealed?
You bet. But it's only happened once. The twenty-first amendment effectively eliminated the eighteenth. If you need a refresher in history, the eighteenth amendment was the one that established prohibition of alcohol.
In a way, prohibition serves as a good example of what could happen were the Second Amendment ever repealed. For 13 years, prohibition proved almost impossible to enforce. That is, if it was enforced at all. Law enforcement was overwhelmed and many people either hoarded supplies of alcohol or turned to more illegal means of obtaining it.
Therein is another problem of repealing the Second Amendment. It would immediately make millions of previously law-abiding citizens criminals and put a huge strain on police and other law enforcement officials. One can only imagine what would happen if guns were suddenly illegal.
Gun confiscation will likely never happen.
I'm not saying that this kind of thing has never happened anywhere in the world, but Constitutional issues aside, a mass confiscation of firearms is unrealistic in the U.S. based on several factors.
First, the government can't just show up to your door and seize your guns without a warrant because that would be a violation of the fourth amendment protecting against illegal search and seizure. If the government starts violating the fourth amendment, it's likely we'll have bigger problems on our hands besides gun rights.
Second, you'd have to get a large number of police, military or other federal officials to go along with such a scenario. That's without taking into account how many are also gun owners and might be unwilling to go along with such a plan.
Third, they'd have to organize what would likely be the biggest government operation of all time. There's an estimated 300 million or more firearms in the U.S. Just think about the logistics of going door-to-door and the time, money, manpower and resources that would be needed in such a scenario.
Just the sheer number of firearms here makes such a scenario all but impossible. There are more guns per citizen in the U.S. than anywhere else in the world. Rooting every single one of them out of the more than 100 million households? Good luck with that.
Gun restrictions are more likely.
While I don't believe the right to bear arms will ever be eliminated completely, there is the possibility of more severe restrictions on them in some areas. In fact, it's already happening.
If you haven't been paying attention to California in recent years, they've passed some of the most restrictive firearms laws in the country. In just under a week in fact, magazines with a capacity over 10 rounds will become illegal there.
Many semi-automatic rifles will also now be classified as "assault weapons" under California law and will have to be registered. Once that is done, the firearm will not be able to be sold or transferred to another owner. That means the gun must be destroyed when the owner dies.
Gun makers found a way to circumvent the "assault weapon" classification with a loophole called the "bullet button" that made it slower to release the magazine. Lawmakers quickly changed definitions so bullet button guns also had to be registered as assault weapons.
It will certainly be interesting to see how this back-and-forth between gun makers and lawmakers evolves over time. In the end, I think they'll keep changing and evolving firearms technology with the laws as they go. That brings me to my last point.
Basic gun rights will likely never be eliminated.
"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
Let's face it, you ask ten people what this means and you'll probably get ten different answers. No one can ever seem to agree. Even I'm not totally sure what the founding fathers meant.
The point I'm trying to make is that the debate over the meaning of 2A will likely outlast any attempts to dismantle it. I'm not saying you shouldn't be concerned over new and changing gun laws. But the sheer number of guns, and the strength of the second amendment and gun culture in the U.S. will likely ensure the right to firearms for generations to come.