In a striking bid to reshape the Constitution, California’s Democratic Governor, Gavin Newsom, has advocated for a new 28th Amendment that he claims will tackle America’s gun violence problem. Notably absent from his proposal, however, is any acknowledgment of the broader issues contributing to gun violence such as mental health concerns or societal empathy deficits. Instead, his proposed solution leans heavily towards the erosion of Americans’ Second Amendment rights.
According to Newsom, the proposed amendment, which was publicized through Twitter and a news release, would lead to a nationwide ban on so-called “assault weapons,” mandatory waiting periods for gun purchasers, and the implementation of universal background checks. Despite these changes, the governor insisted that the amendment would leave the Second Amendment intact and respect America’s gun-owning tradition.
Newsom has presented the potential amendment as a tool to shape a “more perfect union,” a phrase borrowed from the Constitution itself. He contends that the changes proposed in the amendment would encapsulate the “common sense gun safety measures” that he believes are widely supported across party lines.
However, buried within the news release is a suggestion that the amendment’s reach might extend beyond the current proposals. The release mentions that the 28th Amendment could empower Congress, states, and local governments to enact “additional common-sense gun safety regulations.”
Passing such an amendment, however, would be a herculean task. To amend the Constitution, either a two-thirds majority in both the House and the Senate would need to pass legislation or a constitutional convention must be called by two-thirds of state legislatures.
Newsom’s team has indicated that they plan to rally support from 33 state legislatures, alongside grassroots supporters, elected officials, and various coalitions to ensure the call for a constitutional convention limited to this subject. However, this appears a tall order given that many states in the South, Midwest, and Mountain West have been easing gun laws in recent years. The current political division in Congress also poses a significant hurdle, making a two-thirds majority agreement on such a contentious issue highly unlikely.
California’s strict gun control laws, the governor’s office suggested, should be emulated across the nation. However, the implications of this approach for the broader issues associated with gun violence, as well as the rights of law-abiding American gun owners, need to be considered carefully. While tackling gun violence is a critical goal, it is also essential to preserve the freedoms and values enshrined in our Constitution.