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.