I was intrigued when I saw this headline this morning in The Washington Post: “What a new 2nd Amendment could look like.”
But then, I was disappointed that Paul Waldman didn’t get into the actual wording of such an amended amendment. Fortunately, he told us where to look for one — or rather, for three:
The National Constitution Center made an attempt to rewrite the Constitution some time ago. Their conservative, liberal and libertarian experts came up with dramatically different answers on what a new Second Amendment would look like. Yet only the libertarians wanted virtually unlimited gun rights of the kind the courts are now creating; even the conservatives’ version made room for restrictions….
So I followed the link, and looked at the three different versions. Actually, there are three whole, separate constitutions there. If you have the time, you might want to peruse them. But in my renewed effort to keep posts brief, I just focused on the Second Amendment.
And as he said, the Libertarians looked at the mess that is our present amendment, and challenged themselves: How can we make this even crazier? I know! Remove any reference to a “well regulated Militia!” Libertarians, you know, hate to see anything be regulated. In fact, I’m a bit surprised to see them deigning to participate in drafting a constitution. Here’s their version:
The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
Of course, the Progressive Constitution was all about some regulation, first and foremost:
The right of the people to keep and bear arms is subject to reasonable regulation by the United States and by the States.
And now, a drumroll for the Conservative Constitution, which says… hang on, I’m having trouble finding the Bill of Rights… OK, this is weird. The amendments we know are not presented as a Bill of Rights, and in fact are not presented as amendments (which I guess sort of makes sense, if you’re sort of starting over). They’re just blended in, awkwardly, in Section 12 of Article I:
Neither the States nor the United State shall make or enforce any law infringing the right to keep and bear arms of the sort ordinarily used for self-defense or recreational purposes, provided that States, and the United States in places subject to its general regulatory authority, may enact and enforce reasonable regulations on the bearing of arms, and the keeping of arms by persons determined, with due process, to be dangerous to themselves or others.
Whoa! And I thought the old one was hard to read, with the random commas scattered here and there. Good luck to any court trying to parse this baby. If we go for that one, we’re going to have to set up a bunch of new law schools.
Anyway, I just thought I’d throw those ideas out for discussion…