California Governor Gavin Newsom is proposing changing the Constitution to restrict gun ownership.
Newsom, a Democrat, on Thursday proposed a 28th Amendment to the Constitution that would enshrine several gun control wishlist items in the country’s supreme legal document.
“Our ability to make a more perfect union is literally written into the Constitution,” Newsom said Thursday in his announcement. “So today, I’m proposing the 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution to do just that.”
Newsom said the 28th Amendment would leave the Second Amendment “unchanged” and would “respect America’s gun-owning tradition.”
However, the amendment would implement “commonsense gun safety measures that Democrats, Republicans, Independents, and gun owners overwhelmingly support,” the governor said.
“This is a mechanism to address that despair,” Newsom said just before his announcement. “We’re sick of being on the defense and throwing up our hands. We want to go on the offense and be for something and build a movement that’s bottom up, not top down.”
Newsom’s proposal comes nearly a year after the Supreme Court granted Second Amendment advocates a major win last year in New York.
The court struck down a century-old New York law that limited gun carry licenses to people carrying them for sports like hunting or shooting or those with a special need for self-defense, like transporting cash.
The proposed constitutional amendment would ban “assault weapons,” implement universal background checks for gun purchases, raise the federal minimum age to purchase a firearm from 18 to 21, and impose a mandatory “reasonable” waiting period for all gun purchases.
The amendment would also leave room for Congress, states, and local governments to impose additional gun regulations on top of the amendment’s regulations.
The Constitution can only be amended in two ways.
The first way is through Congress approving an amendment through a two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate, then sending it back to states for ratification. The second way is through a convention of states under Article V, meaning two-thirds of state legislatures would have to agree to even consider a new constitutional amendment, then agree to adopt it, and then send it back to the states for ratification.
Three-fourths of the 50 U.S. states have to ratify new amendments to the Constitution, making it extremely difficult to do.
Democrats have only a two-seat majority in the Senate, and Republicans control the House, so it is very unlikely a constitutional amendment on gun control would get two-thirds support in either chamber.
Because of this, Newsom wants to pass his amendment through a convention of states.
Newsom said he will lobby other state legislatures to convince them to call a convention of states and move forward with his gun control amendment.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) was quick to condemn Newsom’s proposal.
“Newsom’s latest publicly stunt once again shows that his unhinged contempt for the right to self-defense has no bounds,” the NRA said in a statement, adding, “California is a beacon for violence because of Newsom’s embrace of policies that champion the criminal and penalize the law-abiding.”
Gun Owners of America (GOA) challenged Newsom’s claim that the Second Amendment would remain intact.
“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 GOA’s Erich Pratt.