Documentary filmmaker and liberal activist Michael Moore is proposing a new constitutional amendment to end the epidemic of gun violence in America.
His ideas, laid out today on his Facebook page, are a radical departure from the conservative thinking on the issue that dominates American politics today, and probably is too controversial for politicians to take seriously.
However, Moore’s approach deserves to be discussed at a time no national leader is offering this kind of all-encompassing solution, or in the case of Republicans, any solution beyond warmed-over and tired platitudes.
Moore wants passage of the 28th amendment, which would void and replace what he calls the “outdated” 2nd amendment, that was passed “before bullets and revolvers were even invented.”
Moore’s plan is designed to protect society while still maintaining state and federal military operation and law enforcement while allowing sports hunting, the use of guns to gather food and under certain restrictions, guns in the home for self-defense.
“This is the sane approach,” writes Moore, “that meets everyone’s needs – everyone, that is, except those of the serial killer, the mass murderer, the violent ex-husband, the disgruntled employee or the disturbed and bullied teenager.”
Moore, who won an Oscar for his 2002 documentary Bowling For Columbine, which explored the culture of guns and violence in America, is realistic about ever eliminating all gun violence, but he points out the U.S. is the only country with this high level of gun violence year after year.
“We will never eliminate all murder,” explains Moore, “that’s been with us since Cain killed Abel. But we CAN join the community of enlightened nations where gun violence is that rare occurrence – as opposed to the daily tragedy we now suffer from here in the United States of America.”
Moore says that this would guarantee “everyone the right to be free of, and protected from, gun violence (i.e., the public’s safety comes ahead of an individual’s right to own and fire a gun).”
Here is a summary of the key points in Moore’s proposal:
“As over 90 percent of gun violence is committed by men, in order for a man to purchase a gun, he must first get a waiver from his current wife, plus his most recent ex-wife, or any woman with whom he is currently in a relationship (if he’s gay, he must get the waiver from his male spouse/partner). This law has greatly reduced most spousal/domestic gun murders in Canada.”
“All automatic and semi-automatic guns are banned.”
“No gun or clip can hold more than six bullets.”
“To activate a gun for it to be used, the trigger must recognize the fingerprint of its registered owner,” which would eliminate crimes with stolen guns.
Guns must be stored at a licensed gun club or a government-regulated facility. Moore writes that only four-tenths of one percent of people die from home invasion gun murders, while a third of them are killed by their own weapon (sometimes because a criminal has wrestled it away from them). This would also address accidental shootings of children in the home.
Every gun owner must have a license which can be obtained only after completion of a gun training and safety course and a thorough background check.
“As nearly half of all gun deaths are suicides, mental health care must become a top national health priority and must be properly funded.”
“Current restrictions placed on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), due to successful lobbying by the NRA, have prohibited them from studying gun violence epidemic in the U.S….Science will then be free to find out why we are ALONE among nations in killing each other at such a massive rate (hint: It’s not just the guns – it’s us as Americans).
Moore understands many Americans first reaction will be this is going to be impossible, so he offers up these facts:
“We are not a country of gun nuts. 77 percent of all Americans do NOT own a gun!” So that majority can also decide “they have no need for an archaic amendment that allows retired accountants to own 47 assault weapons. LET’S ORGANIZE THE 77 PERCENT!”
Moore points out that when President Obama tried to get Congress to pass “simple, common sense gun control legislation after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary (in 2012), polls show 90 percent of the country backed him! But the NRA beat him. LET’S ORGANIZE THE 90 PERCENT!”
The place to start, adds Moore, is with the 2018 midterm elections: “Let every candidate know: If you take NRA money, we will remove you from office.”
Is his plan in the context of Amerian politics at present radical? Absolutely.
However, it is a starting point for a conversation with the 90 percent who want an end to this senseless gun violence, and that may even force Republicans to the table to talk.
The NRA would spend millions to defeat any such proposal, in whole or its parts, but the time has come for Americans to stand up for themselves and not let the bullies and gun lobby shoot down every good idea – or any new ideas as it stands now.
Moore was one of the few progressives who predicted Trump would win the 2016 election. Maybe he is right that the time has come for action to deal with an issue that takes thousands of lives a year and keeps many of us locked in our homes behind gates, with alarms and guard dogs, out of sheer fear of bad guys with guns.
We can come out in the sunshine again if we take back the American right to be free, safe and spend less time paying for guards and more time in the pursuit of happiness.