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Will The Repeal of the Second Amendment Solve Our Problem?

2nd Amendment, gun control, guns, firearms

We the People

Sequel to the recent increased shootings in the country, there have been clamors for the repeal of the second amendment which begs the following questions:

  1. What is the reality of rectifying the constitution?
  2. Will annulment of the second amendment put an end to the recurrent lost of lives?

The possibility of rewriting the constitution after the just opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, which led to the death of 17 students and staff, saw school children stormed the streets across the U.S protesting for the nullification of the second amendment which empowered individuals not associated with the militia to keep and bear firearms. It goes without saying that before the second amendment can be abolished, a constitutional rectification must be in place and there are two ways by which the legislature can go about this:

The first procedure requires the proposed amendment of the constitution to pass through both the House of Representatives and the Senate with two-thirds majority vote that would then need to be ratified by three-fourths of the 50 states that is 38 states. Aside that, the constitution can be improved by a Constitutional Convention called by two-third of the state legislature and each state would write amendments that would then be authorized by three-fourth of the states or 38 states.

Although the constitution can be reformed by either of the two ways, the likelihood of modifying the constitution through the first process is not only exhausting but also difficult. Of all the proposed constitutional amendment over the past 230 years, only one had successfully passed through (The 21st amendment of 1933 which canceled the 18th amendment that prohibited the making, transportation and sale of alcohol). The second mode of amendment only exists on paper as there have never been, in the history of the U.S, a Constitutional Convention.

In the same vein, America is a country where so many citizens own guns as this is evident from a research conducted in 2018 that the Country possesses about 46% of the entire global stock of firearm owned by civilians. It will therefore be almost impossible for a nation that cares so much about gun ownership to annul the second amendment which guarantees their right to individual possession of firearms. As a result, the matter of gun ownership has received huge support in large part of the country especially the South, West and Midwest, making it nearly unrealistic to effect a gun control amendment.


The Second Amendment which was sanctioned in 1791 is one of such reformations that form the bill of rights. The amendment posits that "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." stirred dissenting views as to what was intended as at the time it was enacted. Prior to the Supreme court ruling in District of Columbia V Heller, there was no much contention as to the wordings of the second amendment due to precedents cases ruling that the right of individual citizens to bear arms only existed through being a member of an organized militia. However, the supreme court in 2008 gave the Gun Right Advocate legal backing by overturning the precedents and ruled that the second amendment protects an individual right to possess firearm without being a member of the militia so long as the purpose for such possession is lawful such as hunting and defending oneself in the face of danger. This legal decision has given the Gun Right supporters good backing to support their claim that the second amendment referred to individual right to possess firearms. The Gun Right advocates also do cite the phrase "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms" in the amendment as being a constitutional right for the citizens to keep and bear firearms in other to protect themselves and any legislation prohibiting the execution of such right is a violation of their human rights.

Gun Control advocates advanced the collective rights and they backed their view with the phrase "a well-regulated Militia," because they were of the view that when the amendment was made, the right of individual citizens to bear arms only existed within the context of participation in the militia, that is a state right to self-defense without being restricted by the federal government. A militia is an army of non-professional soldiers who came together with the aim of protecting their communities, town, colonies during the revolutionary war and upon the attainment of independence in 1776, they were in charge of protecting the states. Thus, the amendment did not refer to an individual right to keep and bear firearms rather a well organized groups of militias and restrictions on individual gun ownerships by the government cannot be said to violate constitutional rights. Moreover, with the increased rate of mass shootings coupled with opened fire in the school, the most recent mass shooting in Las Vegas which resulted in the death of 59 people and left almost 500 people injured, there have been more protests for the repeal of the amendment.

Should the view of those in support of stringent gun control be adopted? Most people in support of the invalidation of the second amendment, when asked, would say, ‘take away these guns and the shootings would stop. There is no doubt that more than 75% of these criminals who are guilty of unjust killings obtained their guns legally; this does not mean the repeal of the amendment would end the loss of lives if they no longer have easy access to guns. The question is, would the Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock had stopped his plan to commit the deadliest mass shooting in the U.S history simply because he had no access to arms and ammunitions? It was evident from the scale and outcome of the shooting that it was well planned and it must have taken the shooter several months to draft out the plan to murder people of such magnitude. The mere lack of access to firearm wouldn’t have stopped him from moving on with the suicide mission as he might have sought other illegal means of obtaining the gun when the legal means had been truncated. Similarly, lack of access to gun wouldn’t have stopped the Virginia Tech shooter from carrying out the massacre if there is ample time to plan and also possible to obtain a gun through unlawful ways. Hence, these criminals would surely find other illegal means through which they can obtain firearms to carry out their objectives.

The gun control advocates made reference to other countries like England, Australia, Japan, Germany etc. that have lower violent crime rates due to strict gun controls as opposed to the United States. This isn’t true because according to studies, the rate of violent crimes in the U.S has been on the decline. As at 2017, report of violent crime dropped by 48% from what was recorded in 1990 (all this happened as the number of privately owned firearms was on the increase), and according to a report this year by BBC news, the violent crime recorded by police in England and Wales has risen by 19% in a year; although Americans believe the contrary. Thus, the repeal of the second amendment will not only fail to put an end to the shootings but would also bring about an increase in the rate of violent crimes because disarming the law abiding citizens would render them helpless in the hands of the bad guy who would still find a way of obtaining firearms illegally.

On the flip side, the advocates of gun control and the annulment of the second amendment argued that the second amendment made guns available to almost anyone. The Virginia Tech shooting had been cited as an example where the shooter, 23 years old Seung-Hui Cho who had formerly been declared as mentally ill by a judge was allowed to purchase guns which was later used in carrying out the killings.

However, since the shooting in 2007, the legal loopholes that had previously allowed individuals to be declared as mentally ill or unfit to purchase guns without being detected has long been sealed. Furthermore, the ruling of 2008 was not absolute, it left intact many of the restrictions in place at the federal and state level, such as restricting a felon's right from keeping a gun, and banning assault weapons with capacity of over ten rounds and sawed-off shotguns. Also, all weapons must be registered with the police department and background check be conducted before the sale is approved;since the Florida school shooting, the legal age for the purchase of a firearm had been moved to 21.

Summarily, the process of amending the constitution is almost impossible because throughout the whole American history, the constitution had only been amended once. Aside that, not only does the repeal of the second amendment put no end to these shootings as the shooters would devise other illegal means of obtaining firearms, but there will also be an increased rate of violent crimes as previous studies have pointed out. In any case, taking away the rights of the people to own firearms would not solve these unjust manslaughters.

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