Second Amendment: is the time arrived for constitutional reforms also in the US?

Gun-Control image

(This poster is one of the superficial propaganda made in this polarized period to support the right to bear arms)

 

Second amendment (as ratified by the States and authenticated by Thomas Jefferson, then-Secretary of State): 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.

 

Does it make sense to keep one law, even if from the founding fathers, that became obsolete being his deviated application quite dangerous after more than two centuries?

There are plenty of studies explaining how high gun ownership make countries less safe (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/18/gun-ownership-gun-deaths-study) and the US is probably the least safe country among the rich democracies of the ‘West’. Mass shooting here in the States are on the rise every year and as an interesting article few months ago on The Week clearly exposed (http://theweek.com/article/index/256692/ban-the-second-amendment) the argument for the second amendment today would be difficult to justify. But the tragedies created from the ‘sacred’ right to carry arms against a possible “Nazi government” (that actually would be much better equipped with drones and other weapons respect to few rifles of the people, that the reason of the existence of a militia is already unrealistic) are not pushing the majority of the American citizens to reflect on possibilities to change their Constitution, as other modern democracies did already several times.

 

The Constitution, as well as the Bill of Rights, are considered the base of American culture and change them would mean to change American identity, something so sacred that nobody can even think about it (see on this the recent article on http://www.theglobalist.com/need-u-s-constitutional-reform). But globalization is strong, even if its deep effects are slow, and sooner or later human beings all over the planet will have learned from  different perspectives that different cultures bring with them. This in the smallest village of Africa as in the culture of the ‘land of the free’.

 

Actually since a couple of years there is a ferment among some scholars and activists calling for a Second Constitutional Convention of the United States. Article V of the Constitution describes several ways in which the constitution itself could be changed, and three-fourths or 38 of the 50 states would be needed to ratify any change. But even if the US Constitution is “not a living document. It’s dead, dead, dead” as the only Italian American Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, Antonino Scalia, said recently, I doubt that any change in the second Amendment could happen in the next decades, given also the fact that southern states would never ratify it. As a matter of fact the southern states are radicalizing their position recently on the issue: Georgia for example since the first of July, with the new ‘Georgia Safe Carry Protection Act’, allow to carry guns to many new places like bars, parts of airports, government buildings, schools and even churches. And even if in the north eastern states of the US things seemed to start to change, in particular after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut in 2012 (the biggest mass shooting in a school in the US) and after the ex NYC mayor Bloomberg supported new guns control associations like Everytown for Gun Safety and Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the reality is that fifteen months have passed since gun legislation stalled on Capitol Hill and nothing moved until now.

 

And even if stricter laws doesn’t guarantee lower violence (as a recent research seems to demonstrate: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13504851.2013.854294#.U8RiSLHxfpf ) one thing is sure: as Obama said, America has to think sooner or later on how to solve this problems, being the only country where this kind of things happen daily. But if the powerful NRA (with all its money for lobbying in DC) keeps training millions of children every year (making the country not safer but the opposite: http://abcnews.go.com/US/teaching-kids-shoot-guns-make-safer/story?id=23916846) together with the ‘normality of violence’ everywhere in the US (from millions of video-games to millions of movies and TV shows) and the increase of spying attitude in every corner (from the social media end of privacy to the NSA ‘big brother’) the future of this country doesn’t seem very safe for innocent people who wants to live a normal and happy life. So how we protect the American dream, the simple desire of living a real free life, free not only from government invasions but also from violence and fears? How do we remain loyal to the unalienable rights at the base of the Constitution of this wonderful country: life, liberty and pursuit of happiness? Because a fearful and mistrustful society of all armed against each other doesn’t seem very compatible with neither one of these high human values.

 

This was actually the reason of creating a militia, to protect these rights of the people, the reason behind the right of the people (not the right of the individuals) as a whole to keep and bear arms: to guarantee the security of a free state. Nevertheless today the deviation of this right became the nightmare for “old immigrants” (Americans) and “modern ones” likewise, for all who come here to have a better and more free life. So who is betraying the funding fathers, who suggest to rethink and may be modify what they wrote, even in the sacred Bills of Rights, in order to respect what they really meant or who call it a sacrilege? And what if the Constitution would have in some way being misinterpreted with the time?

In fact, as an interesting recent book suggests (1) even a period instead of a comma in the Declaration of Independence seems to have changed the entire idea of the importance of the government in the life of the people in the United States. So why not the idea that the right to keep and bear arms is individual and not of the people as a whole,  for a well regulated militia, that could have deviated completely the intentions of the founding fathers?

As the Italian poet said: Ai posteri l’ardua sentenza (Posterity will judge)

 

(1) “Our declaration. A reading of the Declaration of Independence in defense of equality”. Danielle Allen, A Liveright book, 2014(http://books.wwnorton.com/books/Our-Declaration/) http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/03/us/politics/a-period-is-questioned-in-the-declaration-of-independence.html?_r=2

(For some more data on gun violence: http://billmoyers.com/2013/05/03/gun-violence-since-newtown/)

(Picture: one of the superficial analysis made in this polarized period to support the right to bear arms)

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