Cover Image: Repeal the Second Amendment

Repeal the Second Amendment

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Though best known for predicting the last eight presidential elections, Allan Lichtman makes a compelling case for gun reform. The key to his argument is that historically the 2nd Amendment wasn’t used by the NRA or anyone else for that matter in the discussion about whether or not guns should be regulated or not. Now that it is and Democrats continuously stammer through gun control talking points with an ineffectual “I’m in favor of guns, but...” he suggests that the best way forward would be to repeal the 2nd Amendment. Full of history, statistics, and expert analysis on various influential Supreme Court cases.
Was this review helpful?
This book is childish... it's well-written, impressively well-researched, and an interesting read.  But I don't think it fulfilled its goal of convincing a reader that America should repeal the 2nd Amendment.  So while worth reading (doesn't matter if you support the goal or not, every American should read this book) I say the book is childish because it complains about a problems without offering a practical solution.

To be upfront, I support responsible gun ownership.  A firearm is the only way I can see my wife can protect herself and our children against even an unarmed grown man, and the only way I can see myself protecting my family from more than one.  That said, I know that guns are a problem in the U.S., and this book will hopefully start more conversations.

In college, I bought a gun from a friend of a friend to go hunting... it was an illegal gun sale by today's standards, but until Lichtman offers an idea of how to prevent this exact sale from happening now, I want my gun.

Most of the book is academic whining... Lichtman does a great job of introducing why guns are a problem, but I don't see an instance of him offering a *practical* solution.  He offers statistics from the U.S. (good), from other countries (not especially helpful, since different cultures don't compare well, just look at differing immigration and health care laws within the same countries Lichtman offers as example of "good" gun laws), and literally 150 year old statistics (I don't think gun laws from the Old West are applicable Allan, I think the stats are valid but I don't think you can compare them to now.

I still think this book is worth reading, by everyone.  If you can't read something that disagrees with your viewpoints, I think your viewpoints are immature at best, and wrong at worst.
Was this review helpful?
First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Allan J. Lichtman and St. Martin’s Press for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

As I sit north of the 45th Parallel, I look down and notice that there is an issue with gun violence in the United States. No matter where one gets their news, it is plastered all over the place and has been for decades. Guns killing innocent people for no reason. Yet, as the blood flows and creates rivers of red across floors and asphalt, politicians have done little but ask for prayers directed to the families of victims, while gun manufacturers and the National Rifle Association (NRA) spouts that it is people killing people, not guns. Other countries have been able to notice the gun violence and legislate strong measures against it—take, for example, New Zealand in 2019–but America chooses to do nothing, citing something called the Second Amendment to the US Constitution. Known as the ‘right to bear arms’, this has been the battle cry of the NRA and the hardcore right in America, but there’s something that’s missing here; something that Allan J. Lichtman professes throughout this book and I have said all along. It was never an individual right in that amendment, nor should it be. But, that’s the controversy behind Lichtman’s desire to see the Second Amendment repealed a new measures put in place.

The premise of the book is quite simple, people do not understand the amendment and spew inane  falsehoods spoon-fed to them. Lichtman opens the book with a chilling discussion of some recent episodes of gun violence and how everyone was quick to point blame at a deranged killer, rather that discuss the issue of gun availability. From there, he takes the reader back to look at how guns were introduced into the region, brought from Europe, and how the firearm found a home in the Thirteen Colonies. After the play towards independence, the political figures sought to enshrine when and how guns should be made available, presenting the Second Amendment to the US Constitution. Lichtman discusses how the constitutional conventions and speeches by the Founding Fathers shaped the intention of this amendment, laid out as being the right of the collective to bear arms in the form of a militia, particularly at a time when invasion was still possible. Moving forward, Lichtman explores how guns were of little issue in America for decades after that. Politicians began seeking to regulate guns in the early 20th century, which led to some questions about how to define the Second Amendment in contrast to this. The early NRA had no issue with the collective idea of gun ownership for the greater good, fixated on its role of promoting gun ownership for sport and education. However, with the rise of assassinations in the 1960s, there was a greater push to legislate gun control, keeping firearms out of the hands of just anyone. This was met with a newly politicized and fiery NRA, who turned their views towards the individual right to possess firearms. With massive amounts of money used to influence politicians, any meaningful change seemed paralyzed. Lichtman discusses these issues at length, culminating in challenges wth legislation violating the Second Amendment in the courts, some reaching the Supreme Court of the United States. Shockingly, when things reached that point, one of the Court’s great intellectuals and originalist thinkers, Antonio Scalia, completely forgot his long-held views of accepting laws through original meaning  of the Founding Fathers. Instead, Scalia sided with this view of individual rights and the ongoing accessibility of people to possess firearms, in the pocket of the NRA.

As Lichtman scans the horizon to see where things have come in America, seeing an NRA bound and determined to use the Second Amendment’s bastardized interpretation to fill their coffers and hand guns over to anyone and everyone, the need for change seems dire. Citing former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, John Paul Stevens, Lichtman explores how Congress might go about dismantling this thorn and repeal the Second Amendment. It will not be pretty or easy (with threats of money and slander by the NRA), but will rid the country of a horribly misconstrued constitutional crutch that has helped fuel the bloodshed. Paralleling the repeal with that of Prohibition in the 20th century, Lichtman shows how it would work and which actors would need to stand tall. He ends with a post-repeal America and the need to tighten or create laws to keep America from falling into the hands of the NRA or their apparent abyss of money. Whether it will work is another question, but it is always nice to speculate.

When I was asked to read this book by the publisher, I could not wait to sink my teeth into it. These were the arguments I had long made in my own discussions of the Second Amendment and I found myself agreeing with a lot of what Lichtman had to say. The tome is full of wonderful facts embedded into an easy to comprehend narrative. While there are aspects that have academic explorations, Lichtman keeps the arguments simple enough that anyone could understand. He does not hide his bias, though I cannot see how one could remain entirely neutral on this topic, offering up some fiery criticisms of those who stand idly by and spout vapid sentiments when people—children especially—are dying in senseless ways. While the chapters are not massive, the information encapsulated within them makes for an impactful read and kept me nodding throughout. I was especially interested in Lichtman’s proposal to repeal the Second Amendment, knowing how difficult a process it is (as any constitutional change should be) and where the pitfalls lie with enemies waiting. This is a sobering read for anyone looking to stir up a little controversy at the dinner table or amongst those with strong opinions. If only a discussion could be had where both sides agree on the wording of the topic at hand, leaving well-rounded and firmly grounded ideas to sway opinions. 

Kudos, Mr. Lichtman, for not shying away from the controversy. This will take longer than November 3, 2020 to make America great again, but if we can oust the clown, surely this circus can be quelled.
Was this review helpful?