A 104-year old U.S. Catholic weekly magazine, in an editorial published online in the upcoming Feb. 25 edition, says in order to deal with the scourge of gun violence the American public must not only change their attitudes towards stricter gun laws, but must in fact change the U.S. Constitution itself.
The Editors at “America: The National Catholic Review”, the nation’s only Catholic weekly published by the Jesuits, say its time to repeal the Second Amendment.
“It is time to face reality,” the publication declared. “If the American people are to confront this scourge in any meaningful way, then they must change. The Constitution must change. The American people should repeal the Second Amendment.”
The editorial begins with a look back at the efforts by the District of Columbia in 1976 to reduce rising levels of violent crime when it enacted one of the nation’s strictest gun control laws.
While the murder rate initially declined in Washington, D.C., “America’s” Editors point out that gun deaths soon begin to rise again which they say was part of a national trend.
“Overall, however, the new law helped to prevent nearly 50 deaths per year,” the magazine said, citing a study published by the New England Journal of Medicine.
More than 32 years later, the U.S. Supreme Court — in a majority opinion written by the Court’s most conservative Catholic Justice Antonin Scalia — struck down the D.C. law on the grounds that it violated the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
To make their argument, “America’s” Editors agreed with Scalia’s opinion that despite the increasing problem of handgun violence, the constitutional rights protected by the Second Amendment prevented the Justices from taking action to reduce gun crimes.
“The Second Amendment impedes the power of the government to regulate the sale or possession of firearms,” the Editors said. “Unfortunately, the grim consequence of this constitutional restriction is measured in body counts.”
And while the editorial concedes that stricter gun laws could never prevent all gun violence tragedies, or as they called it man’s “original sin” problem, they do believe the number of casualties could be minimized.
“Though we cannot create an absolutely safe world, we can create a safer world,” the Editors concluded. “The world we envision is a world with far fewer guns, a world in which no one has the right to own one.”
The bold editorial is consistent with previous statements made by clergy, bishops and experts of the Catholic organization, including Tommaso Di Ruzza, a church expert on disarmament and arms control at the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.
In a 2011 interview with the Catholic News Service, Di Ruzza said the Vatican would like to see small arms and weapons included in the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty.
Di Ruzza went on to speculate that citizens may not have a natural right to use firearms and when the Second Amendment was passed in 1791 the nation was much weaker and her institutions less stable.
“In 1791, my right to have a weapon served the common good because there wasn’t an army; the democratic institutions were young and a little fragile, and I could have been useful in a time of war as a solider,” Di Ruzza told the Catholic news agency.
But after the formation of a functioning army and other governmental institutions such as police forces and a court system, Di Ruzza said firearms in the hands of ordinary citizens may be putting people at risk.
“Do I still serve the common good with my gun or do I put it at even greater danger,” the church expert pondered. “And promote a lawless kind of ‘street justice,’ where if you steal my car, I shoot you?”
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