It's time to rethink the Second Amendment

It's time to rethink the Second Amendment
© Getty Images

In the wake of yet another horrific massacre of innocent children and teachers at the hands of a deranged killer with easily accessible semi-automatic firearms, I am going to say the thing that you are never supposed to say as an American: It is time to rethink the Second Amendment.


"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." 


The Second Amendment was conceived of and adopted by men founding a nascent nation wary of tyrannical control of government over the people.

As such, every man had the “right to bear arms” and had access to their village’s stash of guns in case the government suddenly wanted to take over the lives of the citizenry.

The whole idea behind the Second Amendment was to put ordinary, everyday citizens on equal footing to that of the government when it came to arming themselves.

Today, the government has access to nuclear weapons. Pure Second-Amendment advocates then would also have to advocate for nuclear weapons to be made available to all American citizens in order for the Second Amendment to have the same meaning and affect today as it did the day it was ratified.

Clearly it does not, and as extreme as I believe some Second-Amendment advocates are, I do not hear them going around screaming they need and want to keep nuclear weapons in order to ensure the security of their freedom.

Well-regulated militias have also gone by the wayside, replaced by national, well-trained and fully armed armies of soldiers who protect us from those who would do us harm or would seek to take away our freedom.

We live in a completely different reality than that of 18th-century America. We live in a time when many have bastardized the basic meaning of the Second Amendment in order to defend “the rights” of gun ownership regardless of the deadly consequences.

But what about the rights of all those innocents who have been gunned down by mentally unstable individuals who happened to have easy access to firearms they could use to inflict as much damage as possible to anyone they aimed at?

What about the rights of parents to send their children to the supposed safety of a school and expect they will still be alive at the end of the day? What about the rights of kids to walk down the hall without fear they may not make it to the other end alive?

I am not against guns for self-defense or guns for hunters. I am against extreme gun enthusiasts who hide behind the Second Amendment and avoid talking about sensible gun-safety measures that the majority of Americans support.

I am fervently against the gun lobby and the politicians whom they have bought with lavish campaign contributions and threats of being "primaried" if they don’t do their bidding and oppose any and all measures directed at limiting access to guns by those who should never own them.

You should be able to buy a gun without it being a constitutionally protected right, and that gun should come with all of the gun safety measures in place that will ensure as much as possible, it does not get into dangerous hands.

So while we are re-thinking the Second Amendment, let’s start with the most basic, common-sense changes that majorities of Americans are already behind.

I applaud Trump for showing some support for the Murphy Cornyn Background Checks bill, and for reportedly supporting a ban on bump stocks, something he failed to do last year after the Las Vegas massacre. Let’s see just how real his support is once the gun lobby gets involved.

But more needs to be done. How about not letting young adults who can’t even drink buy an AR-15? How about a longer waiting period for all arms? How about closing the gun-show loophole so criminals cannot circumvent the laws on the books? How about not letting mentally-ill persons own a gun?

Perhaps the gun lobby has met its match in the brave teenagers who survived the recent massacre in Florida and who are marching to and schooling their elected leaders to take real action so these tragedies do not have to happen every six days.

But will their voices be drowned out when our attention is directed to the next inevitable White House debacle?

I think the kids are in it for the long haul and that they will show us why we need to change our addiction to guns. But can we do that as long as owning any kind of gun and as many as we want to is a constitutionally protected right?

It is time to re-think the Second Amendment.

Maria Cardona is a principal at the Dewey Square Group, a Democratic strategist and a CNN/CNN Español political commentator. Follow her on Twitter @MariaTCardona.