Could a Second Amendment repeal hurt the constitution_ _Michael G. Sheppard (1)Only one amendment to the United States Constitution has ever been repealed, and that is the 18th Amendment prohibiting alcohol sales and distribution. This act required ratification of the 21st Amendment, which was specifically enacted to repeal the 18th.

Constitutional Amendments are the most sacred legislative act in the United States. They are exceedingly difficult, time-consuming and hard to fix if they break something. That is why the idea of repealing one of the elements of the Bill of Rights should be considered in a sober and conscientious manner.

The Congressional Amendment Process

There are two methods by which the states can amend the United States Constitution. Both are described in Article V. The first is for Congress to pass a resolution by a two-thirds vote of both houses. This resolution is then presented to the states for ratification. If three-quarters of the state legislatures ratify the resolution, it immediately becomes a constitutional amendment.

The Convention Amendment Process

The second method is for the states to convene a Constitutional Convention. At this convention, a draft amendment or amendments can be agreed upon and then presented to the states for ratification. Three-quarters of the state legislatures would still have to ratify the draft amendment before it became part of the Constitution.

The Danger

What many people don’t realize about the United States Constitution is that several of the first ten amendments, known colloquially as the Bill of Rights, interlock. This means they were written to work together. For example, the First Amendment is highly dependent on the Second Amendment for protection. The Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Eighth Amendments work together to protect criminal defendants. The Ninth and Tenth establish the rights of the states.

If a part of the Bill of Rights like the Second Amendment is repealed, it will have a dramatic effect, and it will serve to diminish the other amendments and the rights they recognize. The Second Amendment is of particular concern, as its repeal will do nothing to reduce the number of firearms in the country already.

The Nature of the Constitution

It is important that every American recognize the Constitution is meant to function as an interlocking system of obstacles written to restrain the federal government. A powerful central authoritarian government is precisely what the United States was formed to avoid. Tampering with the original protections enshrined in the Bill of Rights would be a reckless and very dangerous precedent that would be unlikely to start and stop with just the Second Amendment.