Amend the Second Amendment

Major American Jewish organizations have called for stricter gun-control laws following the mass shooting in February at a high school in Parkland, Florida.

In a March 27 Op-Ed in the New York Times, retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens argued that to enact constructive gun control legislation, Congress should repeal the Second Amendment. However, President Trump promptly responded in a tweet that “the second amendment will never be repealed.”

Senator Chuck Schumer, the Democratic majority leader in the Senate, declared that the Democratic caucus does not intend to repeal the Second Amendment. Since repeal would have to be approved by Congress, it is not politically feasible at this time.

A more promising approach might be to amend rather than repeal the Second Amendment in the following manner. The Second Amendment states 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.” A simple way to amend this statement would be to insert the phrase “who belong to a well regulated militia” after the word “people.”

The amended Second Amendment, with the added phrase underlined, would now state that “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people who belong to a well regulated militia to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” This proposed change would limit the “right to bear arms” to people “who belong to a well regulated militia.”

About the Author
Ted Sheskin is an emeritus professor of industrial engineering and the author of a textbook, Markov Chains and Decision Processes for Engineers and Managers. He has published peer-reviewed papers on engineering systems and mathematical algorithms. His letters to editors addressing politics, economic policy, and issues facing Israel and American Jews have appeared in the NY Times, Daily News, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Cleveland Jewish News, Jewish Week, and Jewish Voice.
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