Second Amendment needs amending
Since this is my fifth article for the Lake Oswego Review, I thought it would be appropriate to mention Article V of the United States Constitution.
At its core, this Constitutional article outlines the process for proposing and ratifying amendments to the Constitution: two-thirds of the Senate and the House must approve the amendment, three-fourths of the states must ratify the amendment, and every state will have equal right to vote on the amendment. This article is included as a provision, so the Constitution can be modified to fit current needs that the Founding Fathers couldn't predict when they originally drafted it.
This may seem like a non sequitur, but now I want to talk about one of the most polarizing issues in our country today: gun control. One side of the issue believes that everyone is guaranteed the right to own firearms under the Second Amendment of the Constitution, and that any restrictions on gun ownership is an infringement upon the rights of every American. The other side argues that by not restricting guns, we are endangering the safety of Americans by allowing guns to be distributed freely throughout the country.
Gun advocates are clear in their position: Dont let the government take guns away. Beyond the right to bear arms granted by the Second Amendment, this side also commonly references how criminals would still find ways to access guns illegally, just like people still sold alcohol illegally during Prohibition in the early 20th century. Additionally, guns are a part of the lifestyles of certain demographics, particularly hunters. Restricting access to these guns impedes these peoples way of life.
The position of the anti-gun side is just as clear: Dont let the average person handle big guns. This side often cites the nationwide epidemic of mass shootings, relatively high suicide rates and homicides. Also noted is a case study of Australia, which implemented a buyback program for guns and severely restricted the sale of firearms in 1996; since then, the country has since seen a significant decline in gun violence. No mass shootings have occurred in Australia since the program was implemented, and suicides have dropped drastically.
There are compromises to be reached here that meet the interests of both sides. The restriction of guns does not have to require a complete removal of all guns nor a total restriction on the sale of firearms; it's still possible to allow the pro-gun side to own guns while fulfilling the anti-gun sides desire to restrict lethal weapons. Additionally, other avenues of gun safety can be explored that dont directly affect gun owners, including more comprehensive background checks for people hoping to purchase a gun and free training programs to ensure safe use of firearms.
With all of this in mind, I want to propose that we utilize Article V of the Constitution to draft an amendment that would restrict the Second Amendment to limit freedom to own firearms to less-destructive weapons such as handguns and hunting rifles, while simultaneously increasing background checks and providing programs to train gun owners about gun safety.
This isnt unprecedented; the 18th Amendment, which took effect in 1920, prohibited the production and sale of alcohol, and the 21st Amendment, ratified 13 years later in 1933, repealed the 18th Amendment. Im not even suggesting that we ratify an amendment that repeals the Second Amendment. Im simply recommending that the Second Amendment be modified by another amendment to meet the needs of todays society. The second part of the proposal should not be contentious, since it doesnt contradict the interests of either side.
I understand that this is a controversial opinion, but I believe that this proposal is the most effective compromise between the two sides that will simultaneously preserve rights and the safety of the American people.