Newsom proposes constitutional amendment to restrict US gun rights

Newsom says a constitutional amendment is needed to enact common sense gun safety laws supported by the American people

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 “common sense” 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 common sense gun safety measures that Democrats, Republicans, Independents, and gun owners overwhelmingly support – while leaving the 2nd 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. 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 may 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 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.