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Does the Democratic Party officially want to repeal the Second Amendment, or do they believe their gun control goals can be achieved within its proper interpretation?

Please do not post your opinion or speculation on whether or not they want to repeal the Second Amendment, only official statements that they do or don't. This would be a good answer (if it was true, of course):

Democrat candidate Jane Doe said, "We need to repeal the Second Amendment and implement common-sense gun restrictions to keep our communities safe.

This is not, regardless of whether I agree or disagree:

They obviously do; look at all the clearly unconstitutional gun laws they've passed.

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  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – JJJ
    Oct 13, 2022 at 22:00

4 Answers 4

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Repeal of the 2nd Amendment was not part of the Democratic party platform

See the party platform section on "Ending the Epidemic of Gun Violence"

Ending the Epidemic of Gun Violence

Gun violence is a public health crisis in the United States. Over 100,000 people are shot and nearly 40,000 people die annually from guns—devastating countless families, friends, and communities. We can and will make gun violence a thing of the past. Addressing the gun violence crisis requires supporting evidence-based programs that prevent gun deaths from occurring in the first place, including by making mental health care more accessible and supporting suicide reduction initiatives, funding interventions to reduce homicides and gun violence in neighborhoods, and strengthening protections against domestic violence. Democrats will also ensure the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have sufficient resources to study gun violence as a public health issue, including the ongoing health care, mental health, economic, and social costs that can affect survivors and their families for years.

Democrats will enact universal background checks, end online sales of guns and ammunition, close dangerous loopholes that currently allow stalkers, abusive partners, and some individuals convicted of assault or battery to buy and possess firearms, and adequately fund the federal background check system. We will close the “Charleston loophole” and prevent individuals who have been convicted of hate crimes from possessing firearms. Democrats will ban the manufacture and sale of assault weapons and high capacity magazines. We will incentivize states to enact licensing requirements for owning firearms and extreme risk protection order laws that allow courts to temporarily remove guns from the possession of those who are a danger to themselves or others. We will pass legislation requiring that guns be safely stored in homes. And Democrats believe that gun companies should be held responsible for their products, just like any other business, and will prioritize repealing the law that shields gun manufacturers from civil liability.

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    Please don't let your answer rely almost entire on links. Links break. Quote what needs to be quoted to answer the question.
    – CGCampbell
    Oct 11, 2022 at 12:08
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    That is rather hard to do, because the link doesn't mention the second. I could copy/paste the entire section, but that would be a wall of quote and would look quite "pushy" (it is all democratic party propaganda). It is, of course, hard to prove a negative, but since your comment has been so upvoted, I'll include the wall of text for you. @CGCampbell
    – James K
    Oct 11, 2022 at 17:26
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    One interesting item, that should probably be mentioned in the answer, is the relative position of the gun initiative in the platform manifesto linked. It's at least 2/3 down a rather long list. Probably not something Dems find electorally very useful to prioritize overmuch. Oct 11, 2022 at 18:14
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    @JamesK putting in a quote block makes it clear it's not your words.
    – qwr
    Oct 12, 2022 at 22:06
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    It would take more time than I care to blow on it to verify, but I suspect you'll find it has never, in the 200 year history of the party, been part of its official national platform to repeal any of the Bill of Rights. I suspect you'd find the same looking over the history of the Republican national platforms.
    – T.E.D.
    Oct 13, 2022 at 13:24
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I am not aware of any Democratic Party manifesto advocating for the repeal of second amendment (let along other constitutional provisions).

It is safe to assume most Democrats believe stricter gun-safety legislations do not necessarily contradict second amendment (depending on the content of the legislation).

I'm not sure what you mean by "proper interpretation" as the US Constitution is a living document (in the sense that all provisions can be amended in theory, unlike the German constitution). There is no "canonical" interpretation except for what is accepted by the legislature (i.e. Congress) and judiciary at any given time. This of course implies that interpretations of the US Constitution can change over time depending on the humans occupying federal institutions. It's a constant societal dialogue.

PS: I should add that this does not preclude proposals among Democratic Party to add more provisions in the constitution, which is quite common in areas big and small.

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  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – CDJB
    Oct 11, 2022 at 16:23
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First, it should be noted that there are two versions of the second amendment:

(1) "A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed."

(2)"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

It is often asserted by the Left that the amendment somehow does not protect the individual right to guns. It's difficult to see how anyone could in good faith make that assertion regarding (1); I can think of no explanation other than that "people" is taken as a collective noun. Leftists keep on harping on "well regulated militia", but that quite simply is not a restrictive phrase, either grammatically or semantically.

With (2), one could argue that the first and third commas are acting as parentheses while the second is superfluous, giving "A well regulated Militia (being necessary to the security of a free State the right of the people to keep and bear Arms) shall not be infringed." This would make "being necessary to the security of a free State" a modifier of "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms", while "shall not be infringed" would be a modifier of "A well regulated Militia". However, that would require cherry-picking the parsing of the commas even without the existence of (1). And with (1), there's no basis for rejecting the interpretation common to both. On top of that, it doesn't make sense that the Framers would go to the trouble of stating that the right of the people to keep and bear Arms is necessary to the security of a free state, and yet not protect that right.

Another possible argument is that no right is absolute. Shouting "fire" in a crowded theater, blah blah blah. However, as a specifically enumerated right, the right to keep and bear arms clearly is subject to strict scrutiny, and a plethora of gun laws would struggle to pass even the rational basis test.

The Democratic Party says that there should be more restrictions on getting a gun than getting a driver's license, despite the former being a constitutional right and the latter not: "We believe we should expand and strengthen background checks for those who want to purchase a firearm – because it shouldn’t be easier to get a gun than a driver’s license." https://democrats.org/where-we-stand/the-issues/preventing-gun-violence/ . They articulate goals that simply cannot be accomplished without fascist levels of government overreach: "We believe we should ensure that guns don’t fall into the hands of terrorists" (yes, saying that it's possible to completely eliminate all possession of guns by terrorists is obviously political hyperbole, but hyperbole doesn't stop being dangerous just because it's hyperbole). They continue by saying that guns should also not be available to "domestic abusers, other violent criminals, or those who have shown signs of danger toward themselves or others." These are broad, vague terms that can be easily be abused by tyrannical governments.

They also phrase their position such that they are stating that the "bear Arms" part of the amendment should be simply disregarded, and people should be prohibited from carrying their guns with them, but instead should be allowed to possess them only if they are locked away in their houses: "We will pass legislation requiring that guns be safely stored in homes." https://www.ontheissues.org/celeb/democratic_party_gun_control.htm . (I suppose that they could mean "Guns in homes will have to be stored" rather than "All guns will have to be in homes", but in that case they really ought to actually think about what they're saying before they go and publish something.) They support disregarding the right to jury trial, allowing a single judge to arbitrarily and unilaterally take someone's guns away: "extreme risk protection order laws that allow courts to temporarily remove guns from the possession of those who are a danger to themselves or others." They support arbitrary and capricious bans: "we can work together to enact commonsense improvements--like reinstating the assault weapons ban". And they use dishonest rhetoric: "closing the gun show loophole". There is no such thing as a "gun show loophole". (To be precise, there is simply no situation where, all else staying the same, a gun sale would be legal at a gun show, but not elsewhere.)

And while I don't know of an official statement made in the official capacity of the Democratic Party itself, Democrats on the whole support "no fly, no buy", which is the idea that it's okay for the government to take away your guns with absolutely no due process whatsoever; all they have to do is put you on a list of people that aren't allowed to have guns, and it will then be illegal for you to have guns. "Today, House Democrats took to the House floor to demand a vote on bipartisan legislation to close the outrageous “No Fly, No Buy” loophole – the indefensible, dangerous legal gap that lets a suspected terrorist walk into a gun store and buy a deadly weapon." https://www.speaker.gov/newsroom/no-fly-no-buy-and-no-more-silence Note that "suspected terrorist" is passive voice for "someone suspects them of terrorism". Who suspects them of terrorism? What is their basis of suspicion? People have been suspected of terrorism simply because they spoke Arabic on a plane. According to Nancy Pelosi, the mere fact that someone "suspects" you of terrorism means the government should take your guns away, and it's simply "outrageous" for anyone to disagree. She adds the dishonest frame of "loophole", as if a "loophole" is simply any time the government doesn't pass a law she wants. She continues "If you’re too dangerous to fly, you’re too dangerous to buy a gun.” as if the government saying that you're too dangerous to fly is identical to you being too dangerous, an incredibly fascist thing to say.

She is hardly the only Democrat. "Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut began a filibuster on Wednesday in an attempt to force a vote on a bill that would prohibit the sale of firearms to people appearing on Terrorist Screening Center no-fly lists [...] President Obama also called for the passage of the “no fly, no buy” bill, and renewed his call for an assault-weapons ban, reported ABC News. In 2012, Obama’s campaign for such a ban dissolved in Congress, drawing anger from the president in his post-vote remarks. [...] Presumed Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton spoke up in favor of both proposals. https://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Justice/2016/0615/Democrats-push-for-no-fly-no-buy-bill-gun-legislation "Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., in a statement Sunday. "This isn't politics; it's common sense." https://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2016-06-13/democrats-no-fly-no-buy-gun-bill-could-have-prevented-orlando-killings (Democrats reeealllly love saying that anyone who doesn't drink their Kool-Aid lacks "common sense".) 130 Democrats co-sponsored HR 1076, which would allow the Attorney General to deny guns to anyone they "suspect" of terrorism. https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/114/hr1076

Now, you did ask "or do they believe their gun control goals can be achieved within its proper interpretation?" If you believe that they honestly think that the second amendment allows arbitrary restrictions on guns, and that the "bear" part of it can be ignored, then I guess they do believe their gun control goals can be achieved within its "proper" interpretation. But by any reasonable interpretation, the position of the Democratic Party is that the second amendment should not be respected.

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The Democratic Party does not officially support repealing the Second Amendment, although there are likely members of the party who would very much like to do so since it is a large group of people with differing values and motivations.

It does seem apparent, however, that high-profile individuals within the party want to subvert, obfuscate, and ultimately diminish the meaning of Second Amendment which would make repealing it unnecessary. The most effective form this takes is in the invocation of emergencies. Invoking emergencies, often while actively creating, or passively enabling, the conditions for emergency to materialize, to call for and pass increasingly strict gun laws to combat the emergency (politicians use this strategy to great effect often, the Bush-era Patriot Act is a great example). The most common (as opposed to effective) method is typically used with the above strategy, which is to apply the interpretation that is convenient to the end goal on the amendment. This is another common political tactic that is used everywhere that politics exist. The usual interpretation is that the right to bear arms is coupled to a militia. This cascades to other arguments such as the amendment was written in a time where there was not a professional federal military and therefore is not necessary, or that the states are to regulate militia's and the firearms are limited to the militias which is irrelevant since we have a professional military. Another weaker argument that appears often shares the 'that was way back then, and we're smarter and cooler now' ethos is that it was written in a time of muskets and horses and now we have nukes so the right to bear arms must be limited.

These are all arguments used by high profile Democratic politicians (and the media organizations that support them) to limit the ability of citizens to purchase firearms. The goal of these arguments is effectively to make the phrase 'the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed' meaningless, which in practice makes the second meaningless and unnecessary to repeal.

Democratic candidates historically have paid lip service to the idea of the second amendment while passing stricter gun laws, but it is becoming more common to see politicians outright saying that they intend to have people volunteer to have their firearms confiscated.

Here are examples of current high profile Democrat politicians that shed light on their positions regarding the second amendment:

Beto O' Rourke answering a question from David Muir, indicates that he would prefer state-enforced, compelled buyback programs for certain types of weapons, outright saying that he intends to have people volunteer to have their firearms confiscated if the state classifies them a certain way. David Muir: "Are you proposing taking away their guns? And how would this work?"

O'Rourke:

I am, if it's a weapon that was designed to kill people on a battlefield. If the high-impact, high-velocity round, when it hits your body, shreds everything inside of your body, because it was designed to do that, so that you would bleed to death on a battlefield and not be able to get up and kill one of our soldiers.

When we see that being used against children, and in Odessa, I met the mother of a 15-year-old girl who was shot by an AR-15, and that mother watched her bleed to death over the course of an hour because so many other people were shot by that AR-15 in Odessa and Midland, there weren't enough ambulances to get to them in time. Hell, yes, we're going to take your AR-15, your AK-47. We're not going to allow it to be used against our fellow Americans anymore.

Joe Biden: Following the Uvalde shooting (classic move trying to us an emergency to limit the rights of law-abiding citizens commoners) Here Joe Biden packs the sentiment that weapons are far more dangerous now then when the amendment was written in his first paragraph. Weapons are more dangerous now, therefore we need more governmental control over them.

Enough enough. We need to limit the number of rounds a weapon can hold. Why the hell would a commoner buy an assault weapon with magazines of 30 rounds that would allow mass shooters to fire hundreds of bullets in a matter of minutes? The damage was so devastating in Uvalde that parents had to do DNA swabs to identify their children’s remains. Children aged nine and ten.

Enough. We need to increase background checks to prevent criminals, fugitives and people with restraining orders from getting their hands on weapons. Tighter background checks are something the vast majority of Americans, including the majority of gun owners, agree on.

I also think we should have safe storage laws and personal liability for not locking up your weapon. The gunman in Sandy Hook came from a house full of guns. They were too easily accessible. That’s how he got the guns. The weapon he used to kill his mother and then kill 26 people, including 20 first-graders.

If you own a weapon, you have a responsibility to keep it safe. Any responsible gun owner would agree. So that no one else can access it. To lock it up. To have trigger locks. And if you don’t, and something bad happens, you need to be held accountable.

We should also have national red flag laws so that a parent, a teacher, a counselor can report to a court that a child, student or patient has violent tendencies, threatens classmates or has suicidal thoughts – it makes them a danger to themselves or to others. Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have red flag laws. The Delaware law is named after my son, Attorney General Beau Biden.

Kamala Harris: Following the Uvalde shooting (classic move trying to us an emergency to limit the rights of law-abiding citizens)

We, of course, hold the people of Tulsa in our hearts but we, of course, reaffirm our commitment to passing common sense gun safety laws, No more excuses. Thoughts and prayers are important but we need Congress to act.

Hilary Clinton: Paying lip service to the Second Amendment while advocating to limit it.

I see no conflict between saving people's lives and protecting the Second Amendment,

After visiting Columbine

we had to do more to try to keep guns out of the hands of the criminal and of the mentally unstable. And during the Clinton administration, that was a goal -- not to, in any way, violate people's 2nd Amendment rights, but to try to limit access to people who should not have guns.

Legislative goals: Barrack Obama's, former Democrat POTUS, plan to reduce gun violence: https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/issues/preventing-gun-violence

Joe Biden, current Democrat POTUS, was the author of the 1994 Assault Rifle Ban as a Senator.

On the party platform, Ending the Epidemic of Gun Violence: https://democrats.org/where-we-stand/party-platform/healing-the-soul-of-america/#:%7E:text=Ending%20the%20Epidemic%20of%20Gun%20Violence This is the most obvious use of invoking emergency to gain more power over constituents. Gun violence is an epidemic therefore you need to grant us more power that we will never relinquish to protect you. Ignore us selling guns to drug cartels. https://oig.justice.gov/reports/2012/s1209.pdf

New York, and other Democrat majority states fund buyback programs: Gun buyback program: https://www.nysenate.gov/issues/gun-buyback-program

The cities and states with the strictest gun laws are Democratic strongholds. Cities: New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Chicago, Law Vegas, San Francisco. https://gunlawsuits.org/gun-laws/cities-with-strictest-gun-laws/

States: California, Illinois, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Hawaii, Maryland, and Massachusetts https://worldpopulationreview.com/state-rankings/strictest-gun-laws-by-state

Democratic politicians also want gun manufacturers to be liable for what people use their products for. Here is a quote from the official platform:

. Democrats will ban the manufacture and sale of assault weapons and high capacity magazines. We will incentivize states to enact licensing requirements for owning firearms and extreme risk protection order laws that allow courts to temporarily remove guns from the possession of those who are a danger to themselves or others. We will pass legislation requiring that guns be safely stored in homes. And Democrats believe that gun companies should be held responsible for their products, just like any other business, and will prioritize repealing the law that shields gun manufacturers from civil liability.

Does this mean Ford should be liable for the Waukesha Christmas parade attack?

TLDR: Not officially, but officially in practice.

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    Evidence? References? No? This is just an opinion push.
    – Nij
    Oct 13, 2022 at 4:29
  • I pretty much stated the obvious, but if you would like additional context: The cities and states in the US with the most strict gun control laws are Democratic stronghold like Chicago, New York, D.C., New Jersey, etc. Prominent Democratic politicians, like Beto O' Rourke, have openly said they intend to take firearms from people. New York literally just started a gun buyback program. The last two Democratic US presidents openly called for tighter rules around guns. Barrack Obama specifically blamed an imaginary gun-show loophole for the gun violence in Chicago.
    – meowmeow
    Oct 14, 2022 at 0:10
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    If there is a specific point you would like to contest, please do so. I think I've accurately conveyed the current Democratic sentiment around the second amendment.
    – meowmeow
    Oct 14, 2022 at 0:11
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    It is on you to support all your claims, not on others to relieve you of supporting any. If the evidence is so obvious, it should take no time at all for you to present it. Instead you wrote three separate comments trying to argue the obviousness itself is obvious, leaving only the conclusion that such support does not exist, and hence the post only an opinion push still.
    – Nij
    Oct 14, 2022 at 2:40
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    I used Bush to make the point that it is a common practice for all politicians to use emergencies as a way to encroach on the rights of the people who elected them. The Patriot Act is one of the most well-known and egregious examples of this. Especially considering every US President since then has expanded and renewed the Patriot Act. The current administration's Justice Dept recently even floated the idea of using the Patriot act to target parents who spoke out at school board meetings.
    – meowmeow
    Oct 14, 2022 at 13:50

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