Gavin Newsom Proposes 28th Amendment

Governor wants to 'enshrine fundamental, broadly supported gun safety measures into law'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 8, 2023 11:34 AM CDT
Gavin Newsom Proposes 28th Amendment
California Gov. Gavin Newsom in a file photo from May 12, 2023, in Sacramento, California.   (Hector Amezcua/The Sacramento Bee via AP, File)

There hasn't been a new amendment to the United States Constitution since the 27th Amendment in 1992—and that one took more than 200 years to ratify—but California Gov. Gavin Newsom is pushing for a 28th to deal with gun violence. According to a statement from the Democratic governor's office, the proposed 28th Amendment would "enshrine fundamental, broadly supported gun safety measures into law," while "leaving the 2nd Amendment unchanged and respecting America’s gun-owning tradition." Newsom says he believes support for the amendment could "accelerate in a pretty profound and pronounced way" if this year's wave of mass killings continues.

Newsom's office said the amendment would add four measures to the Constitution: raising the federal minimum age to buy a gun from 18 to 21, mandating universal background checks, instituting a "reasonable waiting period" for all gun purchases, and banning "civilian purchase of assault weapons." Fox reports that the proposed amendment has "virtually no chance" of passing the House and Senate, given that it would require a two-thirds majority vote in both chambers. Newsom plans to instead seek an Article V convention of states to draft the amendment, which is likely to be just as much of a longshot—it would require two-thirds of state legislatures to pass a resolution calling for a convention, and the amendment would have to be ratified by at least 33 other states besides California.

Newsom tells Politico he's well aware of the obstacles, but he wants to do something to counter the "echo chamber of despair" amid the rise in mass shootings—and the rolling back of gun control measures in the courts. "I don’t know what the hell else to do. I don’t know what else is the answer," he says. "I got four damn kids, dude, I can’t take it anymore." He adds: "I mean, when they go to the mall now, when they go to a movie theater, when they go to a birthday party—let alone going to school. And I have to have conversations with them about this." The situation, he says, "is insane. It’s absolute insanity. And the biggest and most insane thing we can do is the same old BS and just point fingers. So, let’s give this a shot." (More gun control stories.)

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