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The Second Amendment is inef­fective to protect property rights. It’s hard to safely own a gun. The right to bear arms is dan­gerous and risky –  – people will abuse or misuse guns, causing harm not only to one another, but to the laws of this nation. It’s far too haz­ardous to our safety to allow the general pop­ulace to own guns. After all, we have the police. Let’s just focus on training better police officers, electing better sheriffs and com­mis­sioners, and passing gun restric­tions. The American people are capri­cious, ignorant, irra­tional and, therefore, inca­pable of pre­serving their own safety.

Sound familiar?

As a grass­roots lob­byist for the Con­vention of States Project and proud member of Cit­izens for Self-Gov­er­nance Hillsdale, I hear similar argu­ments about citizen-empow­ering projects from those on the Left and Right almost daily.

Con­ser­v­a­tives, I’d like for you to imagine your reaction when hearing someone from the Left dis­pense this argument attacking the Second Amendment.

“The Con­sti­tution is clear,” you would probably say. “The words written in the Con­sti­tution are spe­cific and should not be mis­in­ter­preted.”

What about Article II, Section 3 of the Con­sti­tution, which describes the manner in which pres­i­dents are elected? Is this fun­da­mental, too?

“Yes,” the Con­ser­v­ative would say. “Without the elec­toral college, Hillary Clinton would be Pres­ident today.”

That’s right. The cities of Los Angeles and New York would’ve won Clinton the Pres­i­dency and destroyed indi­vidual sov­er­eignty already far more than it is.

Not to mention, “There’s hardly any­thing in our lives the Feds aren’t reg­u­lating,” COS Sr. Advisor Jim DeMint said in March when he spoke at Hillsdale College. “The 10th Amendment isn’t rel­ative anymore –  – there is no indi­vidual sov­er­eignty.”

So, in light of this, why in the world are many Con­ser­v­a­tives touting Article II, the Second Amendment, and every other syl­lable of the Con­sti­tution except for Article V? Con­ser­v­a­tives are adamant Con­sti­tu­tion­alists; except, they get antsy at the mention of an amendment con­vention “on the appli­cation of two-thirds of the several states.”

“They think it’s too risky,” says COS Sr. Advisor Jim DeMint. “People tell me that the States are going to rewrite the Con­sti­tution.”

In my expe­rience, this is one of the more widely used argu­ments against a Con­vention of States. Hillsdale College Pres­ident Larry Arnn used it in a 2015 debate on the Con­vention of States with Con­vention of States co-Founder Michael Farris.

“It’s foolish to think that we’re going to fix [the nation’s problems] by changing the Con­sti­tution,” Arnn said.

For Arnn, amending the Con­sti­tution via this method “amount[s] to a restruc­turing of the Con­sti­tution.”

This falls within the argument from many on the Right claiming an Article V Con­vention of States will result in a “runaway con­vention” in which each state’s del­e­gates will propose pre­pos­terous effaces to the Con­sti­tu­tions as it cur­rently stands. I refer you to Weston Boardman’s op-ed to quell your fears of the convention’s Con­sti­tu­tional structure. But allow these words from Jim DeMint to bring clarity to the runaway argument for now: “There is already a runaway body rewriting our Con­sti­tution. It’s called the United States Con­gress.”

I posit the same opinion –  – sov­er­eignty has lost its meaning in the United States. When I look at the federal gov­ernment, I see a Federal Reserve that con­trols the money flow at the whim of 12 unelected offi­cials. I see a Supreme Court that overex­tended D.C.’s influence in the abortion laws of my home state of Texas and made the insti­tution of mar­riage a matter of federal opinion rather than private con­viction. Worst of all, I see the dis­so­lution of fed­er­alism and sep­a­ration of powers. Federal over­reach? Leg­is­lating from the bench? Call me fool­hardy, but these obser­va­tions draw a clear con­clusion that the federal gov­ernment has no intention of pro­tecting indi­vidual sov­er­eignty. I don’t believe in sin­gular entities like Con­gress or the Repub­lican Party to restore Con­sti­tu­tion­ality in the federal gov­ernment.

Arnn rep­re­sents a group that believes that we will solve our problems by simply electing better people. However, this belief does not abide in the spirit of main­taining American fed­er­alism. It is an idea born out of fear.

“I am [worried about] an idiot con­vention,” Arnn said in 2015. “The idiot quo­tient is very high today.”

Read the opening para­graph of this piece. The Left cries “Stupid Amer­icans!” Is Arnn doing any dif­fer­ently? Who’s direc­tions should we follow? Since we are “idiots,” should we give up all our sov­er­eignty to the experts who can run our lives? If we follow this logic, we ought to give up the entire prospect of pre­serving this nation. The patriots of this age are not fools. Given the his­torical precedent of state con­ven­tions before and after the Constitution’s rat­i­fi­cation, and the numerous pro­tec­tions against a runaway con­vention (i.e. state power to recall con­vention del­e­gates and the iden­tical appli­ca­tions required to pass ¾ of the state leg­is­la­tures), it would be truly foolish to dismiss exer­cising the states’ Article V powers.

Arnn essen­tially says the fol­lowing: Article V of the Con­sti­tution is inef­fective to protect indi­vidual sov­er­eignty. It’s hard for the people to safely amend the Con­sti­tution. The state power to call a con­vention to amend the Con­sti­tution is dan­gerous – del­e­gates will abuse and misuse the con­vention and cause harm to the laws of this nation. It’s far too haz­ardous to our safety to allow the general pop­ulace to have a say. After all, we have Con­gress. Let’s just focus on cre­ating better laws, electing better sen­ators and rep­re­sen­ta­tives, and passing lim­iting laws on the federal gov­ernment.

Do you see how coun­ter­in­tu­itive that is? It calls into con­tro­versy much of the Right’s appre­hen­sions about a Con­vention of the States.

“[Cit­izens for Self-Gov­er­nance] works on COS because there’s no way Con­gress would limit itself,” DeMint said. “We want the states to come together to propose amend­ments and restore limits to the federal gov­ernment.”

Con­sid­ering last month’s omnibus spending package, these “better” elected offi­cials do not seem inter­ested in federal lim­i­ta­tions either.

“The United States is a ter­minal patient on an unsus­tainable course,” DeMint said. “Calling an Article V Con­vention of States would be too risky not to attempt.”

While working for the Con­vention of States Project, I have felt the national pulse. The people have a clear message for the federal gov­ernment: We meant it when we wrote the Con­sti­tution. We no longer require nor do we desire an expansion beyond the Constitution’s bound­aries. We no longer require nor do we desire a rogue inter­pre­tation of the Com­merce Clause. In the spirit of the Founders, the Con­vention of States Project seeks to restore the federal gov­ernment and its exi­gencies to that which we had in 1791, when the Con­sti­tution became the supreme law of the land.

Jack McPherson is a junior studying History and Pol­itics

  • Alexan­derYp­si­lantis

    Tough topic and I’m not sure where I stand on COS. Our Con­sti­tution is being savaged by unelected Federal Judges who preside for life. THAT should be changed. Federal Judges having seats for life was NOT in the Con­sti­tution and I doubt the Founding Fathers would have sup­ported it. We need to reduce Federal influence in our lives, not con­tinue to let it increase. That much is obvious.

    • Jerry Miller

      I am won­dering about term limits for judges. If con­ser­v­a­tives will soon hold a 6 – 3 majority, I would not want term limits. Two years ago, I was all-in.

      • Alexan­derYp­si­lantis

        The Founding Fathers designed our insti­tu­tions so they would be self-bal­ancing over the long term. Of course, they didn’t con­sider the power of the MSM at that time, but as we saw in the last election the power of the media to influence voters is waning. They are not trusted anymore by many of us.