Considering the criticism from some regarding the Second Amendment and gun control laws, supposing Americans voted that they didn't want the second amendment anymore or wanted it changed (by majority or otherwise democratic process), could it be amended or removed?

If so, what would be the process of doing so?

  • 19
    David's answer describes the process of amendment well. It's worth noting that amendments are intentionally very difficult to pass, requiring very broad consensus. A consensus which has an approximately 0% chance of ever existing in regards to weakening or removing the 2nd Amendment. Removing the 2nd Amendment would require the same process as removing any of the other foundational rights, such as freedom of speech, the presumption of innocence, or trial by jury (and is about as likely to happen.)
    – reirab
    Aug 25, 2017 at 14:55
  • 1
    Yes, it's theoretically possible, but as @reirab indicates it's extremely difficult to do by design and requires a significant degree of consensus (which it doesn't). Aug 25, 2017 at 17:17
  • I find it curious that this question is on +20; whereas the older question it is marked as a dupe of is sitting on -5 ...
    – Time4Tea
    Apr 24, 2019 at 17:44

1 Answer 1


Yes, the constitution can be amended. In fact the second amendment is just that: an amendment. You can continue to add new amendments, even on existing amendments.

This has actually already happened. The 18th amendment established Prohibition. After a short time the 18th amendment was repealed by the 21st amendment. So it is entirely possible to create a new amendment that says

The second amendment is hereby repealed and replaced with .....

The process for this is defined by Article V of the constitution.

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.

In simple terms, if 2/3rds of each house of Congress (or 2/3rds of the states) agree then they can propose an amendment. That amendment would then have to be ratified by 75% of the state legislatures. Then the proposal becomes an amendment to the US Constitution.

  • 5
    One interesting thing is that there's no time limit on state ratification (in fact, there are two or three amendments still technically before the states IIRC), but recent amendment proposals have had a time limit on how soon they must be ratified. Aug 25, 2017 at 16:23
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    @Azor-Ahai Yep. The most recent amendment (27th) was actually proposed in 1789, but only ratified in 1992. Aug 25, 2017 at 18:44
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    That amendment would then have to be ratified by 75% of the state legislatures. - Which is what will make it impossible. Aug 25, 2017 at 20:48
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    @SoylentGray Why is it impossible? It was literally done 27 times already. Aug 25, 2017 at 20:52
  • 5
    I agree hard != impossible. And I stand by the statement that the 75% state ratification requirement makes getting a gun control amendment impossible in the current climate. Aug 25, 2017 at 21:26

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