On Friday, fed up with the ineffectual legislative and judicial responses to rampant gun violence and in the spirit of open and honest academic debate, Texas A&M University law Professor Meg Penrose offered the not-so-modest suggestion that the United States do away with the Second Amendment.
"Unfortunately, drastic times require drastic measures," she said during a forum on constitutional gun rights at the University of Connecticut's law school. "I think the Second Amendment is misunderstood, and I think it's time today, in our drastic [times], to repeal and replace that Second Amendment."
The audience, mostly lawyers and law school students, reacted mildly to the proposal. The Internet did not.
A link to the original CT News Junkie piece on the UConn forum was posted almost immediately to the NRA News Facebook page, where the comments oscillated between "This woman who thinks she is smarter than the founding fathers needs to come down from her cloud to reality" and "Why don't people like this old hag who hate our country move to another country which share their views?"
The news was then picked up by the Daily Caller, which illustrated its post with a picture of Penrose smiling next to a burning copy of the U.S. Constitution.
To be clear, Penrose, who offices in Fort Worth and is representing several peace activists suing the city of Dallas for barring them from holding anti-Bush signs on the Central Expressway service road, isn't calling for the wholesale abolition of the individual right to bear arms. Her preferred version of the Second Amendment would allow each state to regulate guns as it sees fit, thus allowing "those of you who want to live in a state with strong restrictions to do so and those who want to live in a state with very loose restrictions to do so."
Nor is her call for revision limited to the Second Amendment. She's in favor of rewriting the entire Constitution, given how dramatically the world has changed in the past 226 years, which is a favorite thought experiment of academics and pundits of all stripes.
She told the audience in Connecticut that she's pretty sure that won't happen, but it can't hurt to throw the idea out there.
Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.
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