Amend the Second Amendment to Ban Guns in Public

On June 23, the Supreme Court ruled that Americans have a broad right to arm themselves in public, nullifying New York state’s 100-year-old law that placed strict limits on carrying guns outside the home. This decision follows the mass shootings last month in Buffalo and Uvalde, Texas. Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for the majority that the Second Amendment protects “an individual’s right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside the home.” Justice Thomas wrote that states may continue to ban guns in “sensitive” public places, such as schools, government buildings, and courthouses (including the Supreme Court building).

In a March 27, 2018, Op-Ed in the New York Times, following a mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens argued that to enact constructive gun control legislation, Congress should repeal the Second Amendment. However, Senator Chuck Schumer, the Democratic majority leader in the Senate, responded that repeal was not politically feasible because it would have to be approved by Congress.

A more promising approach might be to try to amend rather than repeal the Second Amendment. The objective would be to prohibit people from carrying guns in public. 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 “inside their own homes for self-defense” after the word “arms.”

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 to keep and bear arms inside their own homes for self-defense shall not be infringed.”

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, the Forward, and Jewish Voice.
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