Our founding fathers recognized that they couldn’t predict the future. Thomas Jefferson wrote in a letter to James Madison: “No society can make a perpetual constitution, or even a perpetual law. The earth always belongs to the living generation. ... Every constitution, then, and every law, naturally expires at the end of 19 years. If it goes longer, it is an act of force and not of right.”

Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse insists that if you ask hardcore members of the NRA, they’ll admit you don’t need an AR-15 assault rifle to defend your home, hunt or target shoot. 

Ron Reagan agrees: “They want those guns because the police have those guns. And they believe that they will have to fight the police, and they want to be as heavily armed as the police when that happens. That is the underlying philosophy.” 

In 2006, Republicans in Congress added an amendment to the reauthorization of the Patriot Act, making the director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives a Senate-confirmable position. Since then, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has been politically undermined. Senate Republicans won’t allow anybody to ensure the safe and legal operation of the multibillion-dollar gun market.

Nothing will actually change until the Second Amendment is repealed. Politicians risk more assassinations, another civil war and needless suffering by thousands of Americans, because right-wing extremists believe whenever the ballot doesn’t work, their treasured military-style weapons will. In my opinion, anything that Congress might be able to pass will be cosmetic and not come close to solving the problem of gun violence in our country.

The legislative history of the Second Amendment supports the concept that gun ownership was intended to defend our government against an insurrection.

Jim O’Leary


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