In October, after the Las Vegas massacre, I made the case in this column for repealing the Second Amendment. The column is still being criticized by conservatives for reasons that usually miss the point. We need to repeal the Second Amendment because most gun-control legislation is ineffective when most Americans have a guaranteed constitutional right to purchase deadly weaponry in nearly unlimited quantities.

There’s a good case to be made for owning a handgun for self-defense, or a rifle for hunting. There is no remotely sane case for being allowed to purchase, as Paddock did, 33 firearms in the space of a year. But that change can’t happen without a constitutional fix. Anything less does little more than treat the symptoms of the disease.

I know what the objections to this argument will be. What about John Locke and Cesare Beccaria? What about the preservation of American liberties and the encroachments of bureaucratic liberal despotism?

Right. What about another 17 murdered souls, and their classmates and families, and the inability of today’s conservatives to offer anything except false bromides and empty prayers?