I've published a silly post about Armitage's interview so now it's time for a serious one. All around the fandom I keep seeing British, Canadian and European fans weighing in with approval of his opinion that the Constitution needs to be changed with regards to the Second Amendment and I have to tell you that it just isn't that simple and for several reasons.
I'm going to start out by explaining something you didn't ask but that I read a couple of weeks ago. A friend on Facebook posted a list of things about the US that bewilder visitors and among them was the fact that sales tax isn't figured into the price as marked on products. Well, there's a reason for that. The tax gathering bodies in the US include all fifty states, Washington D.C., Guam, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. I'm not certain about what is collected in the last two but I do know that of the fifty states there are five that don't collect sales tax at all and from east to west they are Delaware, New Hampshire, Montana, Oregon and Alaska. Among entities that do levy a sales tax the rates and things that are considered taxable vary wildly. In the state of Pennsylvania clothing and most foods are tax exempt because they fall under the category of necessity. If I buy a container of coffee at the store and take it home and brew it myself the coffee isn't taxed. If I buy a cup of coffee at a convenience store it is because somebody made it and the 6% sales tax was waived on the ingredients when they were purchased by the corporation.
That's another wrinkle in sales taxes in the US, the end user. Depending on who's doing the buying and for what reason there may be no sales tax collected. A Franciscan brother buying something for the use of his order is exempt because religious organizations in my state are exempt. A diocesan priest is not because he's buying the thing for his personal use. This can be further complicated by where the end user lives. The state of Washington levies an 8.6% sales tax on everything but if the end user will be taking whatever it is back to Montana, Oregon or Alaska (and presumably Delaware and New Hampshire) to use then they're exempt if they can show proof of residency. Imagine trying to back all that out rather than just figuring it out at the point of sale.
I cannot stress to you enough what a huge deal the rights of individual states are. I've had this conversation before and the other person never seems to get that Washington D.C. doesn't just handle all legislation. In Pennsylvania I have to deal with Harrisburg; Washingtonians have to contend with Olympia; New Yorkers with Albany and so on. Those state legislatures also have a vital Constitutional function that is spelled out in Article V: they're the ones who ratify Amendments to the Constitution and it takes 3/4s of all states to do so. Currently that means that thirty-eight states out of fifty have to ratify a proposed Amendment. Well, that's simple enough, right? Consider this: the most recent Amendment, XXVII, was signed into law by then-President Clinton in 1992. It was initially drafted by James Madison for inclusion in the Bill of Rights in 1787. For all those people who ranted about the 28th Amendment on Facebook a couple of weeks ago in the wake of the roll out of the Affordable Care Act, do some research. There is no 28th Amendment.
I said all that to say this. I am not a flag waver by any means but this is the way it works here. We don't do things the same way you do because we don't live there. When you visit you are guaranteed the same First Amendment rights that I am and you are more than welcome to disagree with me, the goverment, your mother or the guy at the end of the bar. This system, the separation of powers, protects that freedom at every level and no it isn't perfect but it works. Slowly maybe. While you're waiting I suggest that you ask around to people who actually live in the areas you're down on and find out why they do the things they do. The answers might surprise you.