The ongoing debate over guns in America has led some to vociferously call for abolishing the Second Amendment.
That's just not wise thinking. There are common-sense restrictions on guns that fall within the scope of the Second Amendment.
So there's no need to even consider abolishing it.
Nevertheless, calls for abolishing the Second Amendment are coming from such respected figures like retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens.
And a new poll shows about 20 percent of Americans favor repealing the Second Amendment.
In reality, that probably shouldn't be a surprising statistic.
There are actually Americans, after all, who regularly support speech restrictions that would not be allowed under the First Amendment. So, of course, there will always be a fringe minority out there yapping for scrapping the Second Amendment.
Or the Third Amendment.
Or the Fourth Amendment.
Or the ...
You get the point.
Fortunately, the anti-Second Amendment extremists have little support in Washington; even blue-state Democrats like Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California have made clear they support gun ownership for self-defense and hunting.
What's even more striking is that noted, liberal-leaning Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe has also dismissed the campaign to abolish the Second Amendment.
In a piece for The Washington Post, Tribe wrote that the Second Amendment isn't the problem; in fact, Tribe declared, repealing the Second Amendment would not limit a single gun or enact a single regulation.
The fact is abolishing the Second Amendment isn't necessary because the Supreme Court already set some reasonable parameters.
In the Supreme Court's historic 2008 Heller decision, which underlined an individual's right to bear arms, the court also noted that that right wasn't unlimited — and that certain classes of "dangerous and unusual" weapons could be limited.
The court also has allowed limits on assault weapons, large magazines and the number of weapons that can be stockpiled.
That's why instead of abolishing the Second Amendment, the focus should be on reducing the ability of Americans to use military-style weapons to kill innocent fellow citizens.
The focus also should be on restricting the ability of mentally ill people — and those with histories of domestic violence — to have easy access to firearms. Clearly, more safeguards must be built in to immediately "red-flag" such Americans whenever they try to purchase weapons.
There is certainly widespread support for that kind of proactive approach.
Gun advocates like to criticize the 1994 ban on assault weapons for its emphasis on cosmetic features; they deride it as a naive and unrealistic law designed by people who know nothing about guns.
In an opinion piece, Palm Beach County criminologist Thomas Gabor said such poor standards of definition have undermined attempts to strictly regulate assault weapons because "the gun industry can easily make cosmetic modifications to skirt the regulation."
REPRINTED FROM THE PANAMA CITY NEWS HERALD