An amendment process could be introduced at any time on just about any subject. Gay marriage, abortion, guns, any of hot topic areas. The founding fathers in their wisdom when completing the constitution require a 2/3's majority to amend this document. There simply are not the votes.. which is why amendments are so rare.
In Australia, when we see the need to change the constitution, we hold a referendum which requires every person on the electoral roll to vote 'yes' or 'no' to the proposed amendment.
We also require every voter on the electoral roll to vote, or he/she gets fined. If a majority of individual citizens, nation-wide, are in favour of the proposed amendment (ie. 50% plus 1 vote), and, if that majority also applies to the majority of the six states in Australia (a process known as a double majority), then the amendment gets passed.
I get the impression that in America the individual citizens do not get the opportunity to vote directly on an amendment proposal and that the entire matter is handled by the existing elected politicians at a federal and state level. Is that correct?
If this is the case, then Australia would appear to be more democratic than America, at least in respect of constitutional amendments. But this is not my area of expertise.
Look at how easily gun control was enacted in Australia..akin to the proverbial knee jerk reaction without adequate representation and due process. Even now, years later, I'd bet if Australia or even the UK voted concerning gun control the numbers would be split pretty much down the middle.. This tells me the rights of right around half these citizens were severely infringed on. Sad.
Are you aware, Steve, that not even policemen carry guns in the U.K? I originate from the U.K. When arriving in Australia, I was surprised to see policemen with guns strapped around their waist.
It's true that whenever a policeman gets shot in the U.K, the issue of arming the police force with guns is raised. However, the majority of the police in the U.K. are against carrying guns, and I'm pretty sure the majority of U.K. citizens would be against it.
The problem with America is that you have a 'gun culture', and cultural influences tend to be deeply embedded at an early age. I recall as a very young kid being rather impressed by the typical American Western movies of the times when two adults, with guns strapped around their waist, would stand facing each other at a distance. The first to draw would kill the other, provided his shot was accurate. How exciting! I also recall re-enacting such scenes with my playmates, at the age of 5 or 6.
What I find difficult to understand, Steve, is your general line of reasoning that guns are okay and we shouldn't ban them, but rather we should address the social issues that cause people to go bonkers.
Surely we should be doing both. When people lose it, and go on a rampage of violence and killing, they will no doubt use whatever weapons are available. If only knives or baseball bats are available, they may decide it is too difficult. A gun really empowers a person. One could be a physical coward in terms of fighting with one's fists, or a knife, but a gun may overcome such reservations.
My own psychological interpretation of such events as the Connecticut massacre, is that here is an individual who feels disempowered and worthless, for whatever reasons, such as a domineering mother perhaps, a divorce, an existing mental abnormality, bullying at school, all sorts of discrimination that he may have experienced. They all add up and contribute to a certain state of mind that causes a flip, and a desire to end it all.
Now ask yourself, Steve, if this individual had lived in the U.K where guns are not nearly so readily available as in America, would this tragedy have occurred on the same scale?