Opinion: What do people think about passing a new constitutional amendment to control gun sales?

Second Amendment

Gov. Newsom showing courage to raise issue

Finally, a politician with guts to bring some reality to the table. I, for one, am genuinely thrilled that our governor has taken the steps that should have been taken years ago. The madness of guns being so available to practically everyone without restrictions is abhorrent.

Citizens can’t get an auto license without a written test and driving test, although it is questionable how well that works by observing drivers.

When the Second Amendment talks about the “right to bear arms,” it meant muskets. It wasn’t written thinking we would now have AK-47s and the National Rifle Association to deal with.

In my opinion, guns should not be used for “pleasure” like going to a rifle range. They are weapons, not toys. Why should we feel so strongly that we have a right to have guns? Just because?

Common sense is the least common of the senses, and it is sorely lacking in the political arena. At least Gov. Gavin Newsom has common sense.

Sali Maynard, Otay Mesa

Law-abiding citizens would be denied guns

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s assertion that his new proposal will correct glaring omissions in the Second Amendment by inserting background checks and a waiting period for obtaining fire arms is unnecessary because those conditions are already a part of California law.

So what could our governor’s reasoning for tinkering with the Bill of Rights possibly be?

Clearly, Newsom’s proposal involves strengthening the “ban on assault weapons.” The governor would like to weave into the Second Amendment additional language that would deny the public the right to possess certain weapons that he and others in the liberal community have deemed unfit to be had by the citizens of his state.

Perhaps Newsom’s crocodile tears, shed over his phony concern for protecting us poor citizens, would be more widely believed if his passions (apart from gun control) weren’t reducing the effectiveness and size of our police force and supporting crime-forgiving district attorneys and other liberal-leaning legal riffraff.

Since California voters didn’t have the sense to impeach our governor, I almost want him to be our next president.

At least it would get him out of our state.

Charles Thompson, La Mesa

Attempt to control guns politically naive

Americans would have good cause to target right-wing proposals destined to misfire.

Perhaps the most whimsical is the Florida law that will go into effect on July 1. It authorizes concealed carry in public, without any permit or background check. That state’s resulting homicide, suicide and “accidental” shooting rates will one day trigger reconsideration.

Americans have equally good cause to target left-wing proposals destined to misfire. Gov. Gavin Newsom has proposed an amendment to the United States Constitution. The essential pillars of his gun gambit are “universal background checks, raising the firearm purchase age to 21, instituting a firearm purchase waiting period, and barring the civilian purchase of assault weapons.”

He wrote that the amendment “will enshrine in the Constitution common sense gun safety measures that Democrats, Republicans, Independents, and gun owners overwhelmingly support.”

Gov. Newsom notes that California would be the first state in the nation to pursue this amendment. He is quite right about this proposal’s uniqueness. But one wonders whether California will be the only state to launch this trial balloon.

His proposal may embody “common sense.” But it is politically naive.

A sizable cohort of House Republicans would have to suddenly alter course on their gun rights politics to launch the necessary two-thirds U.S. congressional majority needed (in both houses) for initiating an amendment to the federal Constitution.

The associated condition precedent is the three-fourths majority of states required for ratification. The majority of state legislatures are Republican-controlled. (Nebraska has a unicameral legislature.)

The Republicans’ anticipated 2022 midterm “red wave” did not materialize. But Democrats would need a political tsunami to reach the 75 percent of states required to achieve the constitutional minimum for ratification. Furthermore, no pending constitutional amendment has an indefinite shelf life.

The governor’s constitutional proposal is no doubt bursting with good intentions. Gun use claims the lives of more than 100 Americans per day. California’s gun safety laws could serve as a potential blueprint for saving lives. California is ranked as a leading state for gun safety by the leading gun control organization.

But this month’s gubernatorial proposal, as worded, provides gun rights advocates with cannon fodder, and they are characterizing it as the quintessential non-starter. The envisioned federal constitutional amendment contains too many rings around a politically blurred bull’s-eye.

Bill Slomanson, Hillcrest

We should let the states decide this

We don’t need protection from the Second Amendment. If each state determines the need to further control firearms, the state should enact those laws, not modify the Constitution of the United States for local control.

Gavin Newsom is grandstanding with a preposterous idea in an attempt to display his ability to think “out-of-the-box” on current issues plaguing the nation. I think the actual undercurrent is his desire to become president by convincing voters that his self-proclaimed forward thinking can solve the problems of the country.

One has only to look at California to understand how good a job he might achieve as president.

Rich Eberhardt, Spring Valley

Second Amendment has to be repealed

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposed amendment will fail. Aside from that, it is only a half measure, which will not solve the problems caused by the Second Amendment.

The only amendment that would help is one that would completely repeal the Second Amendment. This would allow states to enact their own laws, including restricting guns, but also including allowing guns. It just would no longer be a constitutional right. The same people who would vote against the repeal of the Second Amendment would also vote against Gov. Newsom’s amendment.

As evidenced by the oft-forgotten first phrase of the Second Amendment, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State,” the amendment was intended to support local and state militias. That intent has been completely ignored. I am not against ownership of individual firearms — I own two — but I think that municipalities and states should have the ability to put limits and restrictions on ownership to promote the general welfare and ensure domestic tranquility.

Al Gaines, Little Italy

People’s lives depend on getting this right

I wholeheartedly support Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposed constitutional amendment. I do support the Second Amendment. In fact, I grew up in a family of hunters, eating deer, pheasant, quail, rabbit and the occasional squirrel (tastes like chicken). But when guns are the leading cause of death in those under 18, when there have been so many mass shootings in 2023 and when an assault weapon can kill so many people in as short a time as possible, it’s hard to imagine that our country would not support life-saving legislation such as this.

Included in Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposal are universal background checks, a ban on civilian-owned assault weapons and a waiting period for gun purchases. Having worked with victims of domestic violence and with suicidal patients, it’s difficult for me to imagine how a waiting period could be anything but helpful. But it’s all too easy to envision the potential tragedies inherent in handing over a gun to a suicidal teenager or an angry spouse without providing them time to cool down or receive help.

And let’s not forget that after the federal assault weapons ban of 1994 expired in 2004, our country witnessed a rise in mass shooting deaths in the ensuing years — at a Texas church (26 dead), a Las Vegas music festival (60 dead), an Orlando nightclub (49 dead), an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater (12 dead), a San Bernardino county meeting (14 dead), a Parkland, Florida, school (17 dead), a technical institute in Virginia (32 dead), an El Paso, Texas, Walmart (23 dead) and an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, (21 dead). And the gunman at Sandy Hook, who murdered 20 elementary school students and 6 adults, fired 154 rounds in less than five minutes.

Recent polls have found that citizens are about equally divided on the question of assault weapon bans, but if legislators used popularity as their sole basis for making decisions, would the Civil Rights Act of 1964 have been passed? As for legality, the Supreme Court has upheld several restrictions on gun ownership, including bans on certain types of weapons and prohibitions on the sale of weapons to certain categories of people including convicted criminals, the mentally ill and dishonorably discharged military personnel.

As Justice Antonin Scalia once said, “Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited. [It is] not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.” I don’t expect Newsom’s proposal to pass, but I hope portions of it, in time, will find their way into our laws. I believe the lives of our loved ones depend on it.

Denise Beckfield, Pacific Beach

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