“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Those sage words of wisdom from philosopher George Santayana are as true now as they were over 100 years ago. This is a warning for Second Amendment Defenders to be historically aware of the dangers lurking in the law.
So, what historical event must be remembered to become aware of something that may threaten us in the future?
Please read on for a moment because what I’m about to tell you ought to send shivers down your spine. Second Amendment Defenders everywhere need to understand the urgency and the tantamount importance of the dire need to win the hearts and minds of Americans throughout the country.
Until recently, I thought the Second Amendment was untouchable because, as part of the original Bill of Rights, it stood on sacred ground; high on a pedestal and enshrined in the National Archives along with the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. These three important documents are knows as the Charters of Freedom and they form the foundation that supports everything that the United States has become.
Recent decisions by the Supreme Court have only seemed to strengthen the Amendment by confirming the gun ownership rights we claimed to have all along; Heller, decided in 2008, said the Second Amendment was an individual right, unrelated to a militia, which allowed for the ownership of firearms for self-defense and McDonald, in 2010, which incorporated the Second Amendment into the 14th Amendment’s “due process clause” prohibiting States and their political subdivisions from passing legislation infringing on our Second Amendment rights.
In a previous article, I expressed my opinion that an effort to repeal of the Second was unlikely and that the greatest danger and more probable threat to the Amendment would or could come from a future liberal Supreme Court, staffed with activist Justices, whose decisions could reverse these gains.
I was wrong. I now believe that the 28th Amendment, yet to be written, represents a clear and future danger to the 2nd Amendment, by repeal.
The possibility of that occurring should scare us all. To fully appreciate the gravity of the situation, we need to heed Santayana’s warning and remember the past. I am referring to the past historical record of Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, in particular, the ratification of the 18th Amendment prohibiting the manufacture, sale and transportation of intoxicating liquors, and the 21st Amendments which repealed the 18th. With an understanding of what transpired with those Amendments, we can easily see how the next Amendment could be written to put the Second Amendment in serious jeopardy.
Here is some helpful background information. By the late 1800s, prohibition movements had sprung up across the United States, driven by religious groups who considered alcohol, specifically drunkenness, a threat to the nation. Alcohol was evil and those who drank it were vilified. This should sound familiar to anyone who has followed the news in the context of firearms and their use in school shootings.
In the early 1900s, public pressure was intense and growing stronger and the Eighteenth Amendment was officially proposed in the United States Senate on August 1, 1917 and went to the states for ratification on December 18, 1917. There was strong bipartisan support for the Amendment. In addition to prohibiting the sale of alcohol the Amendment also gave the Congress and the States concurrent power to enforce the Amendment by appropriate legislation. And finally, the Amendment gave the States 7 years to ratify it, virtually ensuring its ratification.
Today, we see the same wave of prohibition movements sweeping across the nation, only the commodity to be banned is not alcohol, it is firearms.
If the 18th Amendment can ban alcoholic beverages, then the 28th Amendment can surely be written to ban guns and ammunition! And it can happen very quickly! For proof of that, one needs only to look at the speed with which the 26th Amendment, which lowered the voting age to 18, was ratified. On March 10, 1971, the U.S. Senate voted unanimously in favor of the proposed amendment, followed by the House of Representatives on March 23, 1971. It then went to the states for ratification and in record time, it only took two more months for 38 state Legislatures to ratify it. President Nixon signed it into law that July. This Amendment was ratified so quickly because it was universally popular among the majority of people throughout the nation. Their hearts and minds had already been won over.
Some of you may be asking, can one Amendment be used to repeal another? The answer, of course, is yes. The 21st Amendment, ratified in 1933, was used to repeal both the 18th Amendment and the Volstead Act and it reads, in pertinent part, “Section 1. The Eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.” Much imagination is not required to see that the Second Amendment could be repealed just as easily.
Recently, retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens wrote a book entitled: Six Amendments-How and why we should change the Constitution. In his book he states that the Second Amendment should be rewritten to read: A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a Free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms… when serving in the Militia… shall not be infringed.
But on March 27, 2018, in an Op-Ed Opinion article published in the New York Times, he went much farther. He wrote,
“Rarely in my lifetime have I seen the type of civic engagement schoolchildren and their supporters demonstrated in Washington and other major cities throughout the country this past Saturday. These demonstrations demand our respect. They reveal the broad public support for legislation to minimize the risk of mass killings of schoolchildren and others in our society.
That support is a clear sign to lawmakers to enact legislation prohibiting civilian ownership of semiautomatic weapons, increasing the minimum age to buy a gun from 18 to 21 years old, and establishing more comprehensive background checks on all purchasers of firearms. But the demonstrators should seek more effective and more lasting reform. They should demand a repeal of the Second Amendment.”
He also said this about the Heller decision,
“In 2008, the Supreme Court overturned Chief Justice Burger’s and others’ long-settled understanding of the Second Amendment’s limited reach by ruling, in District of Columbia v. Heller, that there was an individual right to bear arms. I was among the four dissenters.
That decision — which I remain convinced was wrong and certainly was debatable — has provided the N.R.A. with a propaganda weapon of immense power. Overturning that decision via a constitutional amendment to get rid of the Second Amendment would be simple and would do more to weaken the N.R.A.’s ability to stymie legislative debate and block constructive gun control legislation than any other available option.”
The Constitution can be amended in two ways. An amendment may be proposed either by the Congress with a two-thirds majority vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate or by an Article V Constitutional Convention of states called for by two-thirds (34) of the State legislatures. Accordingly, this makes the 2018 mid-term elections critical to our cause. Before you cast your vote, you must know the stance of your candidate on the Second Amendment. He or she might be the vote in Congress that makes a Repeal Amendment a possibility.
So, while it seems like we are winning the battle in the Federal Courts, we may be losing the war in the Court of Public Opinion. The mood of the country is changing and the apparatuses and resources for repeal are already in place. We must recognize the danger and redouble our efforts to win the hearts and minds of the American public. If we lose the Second Amendment, others are sure to fall. When they do, tyranny will have a death grip on our democracy and everyone will be wishing that our guns had not been confiscated.
The media is merely an echo chamber for the corrupt, left-leaning political class and the Hollywood elites, all of whom think they are smarter than us. They desire to transform our republic into a socialistic state that would be the envy of all Europeans. If we fail to protect the rights of those who are being vilified, eventually, all of us will be vilified.
It is our duty to protect our democracy, one Constitutional right at a time because the stakes are too high to fail. Let this be your call to action. Join the Liberty First Foundation in fighting for our freedoms at your polling place this November. Sitting this one out is not an option!
About the Author:
Paul R. Camping is a retired Criminal Investigator having 25 years of service with a city Police Department located in upstate New York. He writes for the Liberty First Foundation and Religion of Arms because he believes in the rule of law and is passionate about protecting all of our civil liberties guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, especially the Second Amendment. He also knows that gun control laws do not make us safer because criminals do not obey them.
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