The Democratic Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, revealed his plans to “implement common sense gun safety.” He proposed a 28th Amendment to the Constitution, which would raise the legal age from 18 to 21, introduce universal background checks, instill a waiting period before buying a gun, and ban all “assault weapons.” The California governor has already started lobbying to get his amendment ratified. He is looking for an Article V convention of states and has begun campaigning for grassroots support. Many gun advocates have found problems with this proposed amendment, citing it violates the Second Amendment.
By Chris Pandolfo; June 8, 2023
California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to change the Constitution to curb gun rights.
Fed up with inaction on gun control, Newsom unveiled a proposed 28th Amendment to the Constitution on Thursday that would implement “commonsense” gun safety measures he claims have widespread bipartisan support.
“Our ability to make a more perfect union is literally written into the Constitution,” Newsom said Thursday. “So today, I’m proposing the 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution to do just that. The 28th Amendment will enshrine in the Constitution commonsense gun safety measures that Democrats, Republicans, Independents, and gun owners overwhelmingly support — while leaving the Second Amendment unchanged and respecting America’s gun-owning tradition.”
Newsom’s proposal comes after federal courts have delivered a series of victories for gun rights activists, led by the Supreme Court’s landmark decision last year striking down a century-old New York law that made it difficult to obtain a license to carry a concealed handgun.
The Democratic governor’s proposed 28th Amendment would not abolish the Second Amendment, which establishes a right to bear firearms for personal self-defense and other lawful purposes. However, it would raise the federal minimum age to purchase a firearm from 18 to 21; mandate universal background checks to purchase firearms; institute a waiting period for all gun purchases; and ban “assault weapons.”
Newsom’s proposed amendment would also affirm that Congress, states and local governments can enact additional gun control measures.
The Constitution can be amended by either Congress or a convention of states under Article V.
Congress can pass a proposed amendment with a two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate, sending it to the states for ratification. With Republicans in control of the House and a 51-49 Democratic majority in the Senate, there is virtually no chance that a constitutional amendment restricting gun rights will have enough support to pass through Congress.
Instead, Newsom is calling for an Article V convention of states to convene and draft his proposed amendment. Two-thirds of the state legislatures must pass a resolution calling for such a convention before it can convene to consider an amendment to the Constitution. If such a convention adopts a proposed amendment, it then heads back to the state legislatures for ratification.
Three-fourths of the states must ratify a proposed amendment for it to be added to the Constitution — a rare and difficult feat that has only been accomplished 27 times in the nation’s history.
Newsom said he will campaign to build grassroots support and lobby other state legislatures to move forward with an Article V convention. A news release from his office included supporting statements from California lawmakers in the state Assembly and Senate.
Gun rights groups were quick to condemn Newsom’s proposal as an attack on the Second Amendment.
“Newsom’s latest publicly stunt once again shows that his unhinged contempt for the right to self-defense has no bounds,” the National Rifle Association said in a statement. “California is a beacon for violence because of Newsom’s embrace of policies that champion the criminal and penalize the law-abiding. That is why the majority of Americans rightfully reject his California-style gun control.”
“We’ve always warned those who cherish their God-given liberties that the ultimate goal of anti-gunners was the abolishment of the Second Amendment,” said Erich Pratt, senior vice president of Gun Owners of America (GOA).
“While they often try to hide behind legislative proposals and hush open talk of abolishing the Second Amendment, here we have a potential future presidential candidate now coming out and openly admitting what they’ve wanted to do all along,” Pratt said. “GOA will strongly oppose this proposal as we work to protect and restore the Second Amendment rights of all Americans.”