Change the Constitution Already

Here’s what I think we should do about the guns.

Before I tell you, though, I want to say I don’t give a good goddamn what the Constitution says at the moment. It’s supposed to be a malleable document, and the whole right to keep and bear arms? That was so citizens could get together and keep a despot from swooping in and taking all the crops and wealth, like the kings were always doing when we were colonies. That, and be able to organize a militia to keep Native Americans from attacking and taking their land back.

Besides, think. The Second Amendment is the second one. Not the first. This may sound like a quibble, but it isn’t. The Founders thought about freedom first: to be able to say what we want even if it makes leaders uncomfortable, get together and cook up a religion or a church without being bothered, have a free press no matter how bad the writing is. Then they said, “Oh, and guns, yes. Pretty dangerous out there, and some of us will still need to hunt for meat and make sure we can assemble a militia with people who can shoot.” But they put freedom ahead of being able to quickly kill people and animals. Living in fear of being shot isn’t really much freedom to begin with.

That was a long time ago. The thing I want to emphasize here is the Founders set up the whole Constitution to change with the times. The Bill of Rights, which everyone thinks came from God, didn’t. It’s a group of amendments (including, yes, the second one) written and voted on by white male landowners in wigs. They were pretty afraid of populist whimsy, too, a mob being a mob and all. People will gang up on damned near anyone perceived as weak if there’s money or power to be had. So they made the original Constitution harder than hell to change, probably too hard. Did you know that the original Article 1 of the original 12 Amendments proposed by James Madison still hasn’t been ratified? It establishes Congress.

The Founders couldn’t possibly have dreamed of the acceleration of societal change that would come from steam engines, electricity and the (relatively) efficient burning of hydrocarbons. Nor did they see how damned pig-headed everyone would get once they got on Facebook or Fox News. The Founders used mostly single-shot rifles, some very unreliable pistols, and fountain pens. Shooting at people was a pretty cumbersome affair that usually involved the target learning via post and walking ten paces.

So, just because the Constitution is hard to change doesn’t mean we shouldn’t. It needs changing. Too many people are being murdered with guns which are as easy to get as doughnuts or toilet tissue. The guns are pretty much all pistols, too, designed to do only one thing, which is make it easy to carry around a handy device for the speedy execution of human beings.

Readers who have not clicked elsewhere by this point may recognize I am not exactly a Constitutional scholar—just a citizen with a high school/“some college” education and an Internet connection. They may point out what I’m about to propose has about as much chance of becoming reality as dogs flying. I am encouraged by that, because it lets me shoot for the moon.

I propose this Amendment. Lawyerly types can clean it up and make it ambiguous and full of subjects for interpretation, as they do.

The following shall apply to all non-military Citizens of The United States.

Article 1. All handguns are herewith against the law. Period. “Handgun” is defined as any gun you can stick into your pants or your knockoff Louis Vuitton handbag and people not be able to tell it’s there.

Article 2. All existing handguns must be turned in. Right now. The gubmint will give you $500 for each one you bring in. Also, the gubmint will give you $500 if you report someone who refuses to do this and it leads to the confiscation of a handgun hidden in his or her pants or purse. No questions will be asked of either party. This amnesty is permanent.

Article 3. Anyone caught with a handgun, except policemen and those in active military service, will have it taken away, and get zip. There will be no arrest or trial or incarceration as punishment. Officers will simply place a pink wristband like those used at festivals on said person and revoke his or her driver’s license for 30 days. Said person will have to walk everywhere for a month. There will be no rides given to them. Everyone can honk and wave as they drive by.

Article 4. All multi-firing rifles must be turned in immediately. Same deal as the handguns above, $500.

Article 5. Citizens may own one (1) rifle that will shoot one (1) bullet at a time before it must be reloaded with a spitball, powder from a flask, and a ball using a ramrod. The open carry of these rifles is permitted, as long as you wear a bright red tricorne hat so that others can see your crazy ass coming and get to another street. Rifles transported in vehicles must be visible in racks placed in the windows, as in certain Southern states.

Article 6. Everyone who wants a single-shot rifle must take a written test and a hands-on safety exam every year. The written test will ask questions like, “Do you, or have you ever, owned a Confederate flag?” and, “Have you attended more than three country music concerts in the last year?”

That’s pretty much it. Thoughtful people will probably pick holes in it or say something to the effect that I should leave the country, since I obviously do not love ‘merica, which is untrue. I do love it. I just don’t think it’s worth a whole lot of people having to live in fear that someone will kill their fellows because of fears based on the actions of kings who died a long time ago.

There are too many guns everywhere, and they do not contribute to freedom anymore. Change the Constitution.

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