One of The Columbian’s readers recently suggested that the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitutional, the one that seems to allow almost unregulated gun ownership, should be repealed. Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen.
Article V of the Constitution makes such a move far too difficult. It provides that no proposed revision can take effect until approved by 75 percent of state legislatures. In other words, if just 13 of the 50 state legislatures were to vote against such a proposed repeal, it would fail.
The 13 gun-totingest states are Alaska, Arkansas, Idaho, West Virginia, Wyoming, Montana, New Mexico, Alabama, North Dakota, Hawaii, Louisiana, South Carolina, and Mississippi. These states — with a combined population of a little over 30.5 million, or about 9.3 percent of the nation’s total population — could, and undoubtedly would, block any attempt to repeal the Second Amendment. Talk about your tyranny of the minority.
There is one possible solution: a new Constitutional amendment, something that would clarify the Second Amendment. It could make clear that gun ownership, registration and use are matters of national priority, and it could provide guidelines for exclusive federal legislation of all matters involving guns.