The U.S. Constitution's guarantee of the right to bear arms is "absurd," but something Americans must live with in a gun-saturated nation in desperate need of reform, renowned civil-rights lawyer Alan Dershowitz tells Newsmax TV
"We have more guns in this country than we have people and we have more gun murders than any other country in the world," Dershowitz said Monday to Ric Blackwell on "The Hard Line."
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"We have tried an experiment for the last 250 years and it's failed miserably and we have to start a new approach. The new approach has to be guns should not be available to people generally, except if they have a significant need.
"If I could write the Bill of Rights over again, I would skip amendment number two. We're the only country in the world that puts in our Constitution the right to bear arms. It's an absurd thing to be in our Constitution, but it's in our Constitution. We have to live with it."
But Dershowitz noted the Founding Fathers spoke of the nation maintaining a "well-regulated militia," something not in evidence as gun violence, including the recent theater shootings in Tennessee, plagues the United States.
"Guns have to be well regulated and they are not well regulated in this country. We're going to have these kinds of massacres over and over and over again until we change the gun culture and the National Rifle Association is part of the problem, not part of the solution," he said.
Dershowitz, a Harvard Law professor emeritus and Newsmax contributor, said he believes the entire country should be a "gun-free zone."
"And if you want a gun you should have to go to official authorities in the government, you should have to be able to justify your need for a gun on self-defense grounds or if you want to be a hunter, to go to a hunting place where they give you the gun and then you give it back when you finish hunting," Dershowitz said.
"There are ways of changing the culture in this country and making guns far less available to the average person and certainly to the average person with a mental illness or with a criminal record or with a history of abuse. It's not enough just to say, let's take guns away from the few people who we now know shouldn't have guns.
"We have to have a major change in the gun culture and as long as the National Rifle Association — which you have to give credit, it's the most effective lobby in the country — as long as they continue to be as effective in their lobbying, it's just not going to happen and these murders are going to continue."
The latest bloodshed occurred last Thursday, 20 minutes into the 7 p.m. showing of the comedy "Trainwreck" at a Lafayette, La. movie house.
Authorities said John Russel Houser, 59, killed Mayci Breaux, 21, and Jillian Johnson, 33, and injured nine others. Houser ultimately shot and killed himself.
Dershowitz — author of "Terror Tunnels: The Case For Israel's Just War Against Hamas,"
published by RosettaBooks — called for ironclad legislation to advance gun reform.
"What is needed is some very tough legislation both on the federal and state level to make it much, much harder to get guns and to create a presumption against gun ownership instead of a presumption in favor of gun ownership, consistent with the well-regulated militia language of the Second Amendment," he said.
"Nobody has done enough, especially as we come closer to presidential elections, we find that candidates get more and more allergic to gun control because they know it's bad for their electoral politics, certainly on the Republican side, but increasingly on the Democratic side as well."
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