Why not ask Americans to consider amending the Constitution to spell out more clearly which citizens should have the right to own a gun, and which shouldn’t? Congress, as currently constituted, won’t adopt common-sense and popular reforms. So why not go all the way and talk about what really matters?

I understand that opening this debate wouldn’t result in any amendments being passed. The move would fail, and fail again, and again after that. But over time — sometimes decades — attitudes about important social issues do change. Women did get the right to vote. Black people, too. Gays are gaining the right to marry. And cigarettes were popular once, until they weren’t. A discussion about the Second Amendment would put on the table the issues that Congress, under pressure from the NRA, simply won’t address.

I called Gross on Thursday, the day after the background- check plan was blocked in the Senate, to see if he was wavering on the Second Amendment. …

“Turning this into a Second Amendment issue will hurt our cause,” he said. “The Second Amendment has been decided. The fact is, there is a limited right to bear arms, and we have to deal with that. There are a lot of people in our community of organizations and activists seeking gun reform who thought that the decision yesterday was devastating, but I think it has created an opportunity to move the discussion forward, and we don’t need a discussion about the Second Amendment in order to move forward.”