Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom has proposed a 28th amendment to the U.S. Constitution to curtail specific aspects of gun rights.
Newsom's proposal would specifically raise the minimum age to purchase a firearm from 18 to 21, implement a universal background check process, and bar the civilian ownership of "assault weapons." The amendment would also impose "a reasonable waiting period for gun purchases."
Constitutional amendments can be proposed either by a two-thirds vote in both houses of Congress or by a constitutional convention of two-thirds of U.S. states. Any amendment proposed would then have to be ratified by three-fourths of the state legislatures, or three-fourths of conventions called in each state for ratification.
“A man of action, Governor Gavin Newsom has the backbone to actually do something about the gun fetish culture around weapons of war, and tackle the relentless problem of gun violence and mass shootings,” Democratic state Sen. Aisha Wahab said. “As someone impacted by gun violence, I have an obligation to elevate the voices of victims and those of us left behind in the wake of tragedy.”
Details of the ProposalIn a video accompanying his rollout of the proposed amendment, Newsom included a graphic claiming there is 87 percent support for "background checks," 81 percent support for "raising minimum age," 77 percent support for "waiting period," and 61 percent support to "ban assault rifles for civilians." Newsom's video appears to cite an April poll conducted by Fox News, but the news publication has not released the specific wording of the questions it asked in that poll.
While Newsom's proposed amendment calls for banning the civilian ownership of "assault weapons," his press release did not specify what he considered to be an "assault weapon" and he said only that they "serve no other purpose than to kill as many people as possible in a short amount of time" and are "weapons of war our nation’s founders never foresaw."
Newsom's press release also did not specify what he considered to be a "reasonable waiting period" for a gun purchase. The April Fox News poll described a 30-day waiting period.
Gun Rights Groups RespondThe National Rifle Association (NRA), one of the most prominent gun rights groups in America, cast Newsom's proposal as a publicity stunt.
“Newsom’s latest publicly stunt once again shows that his unhinged contempt for the right to self-defense has no bounds," the NRA said. "California is a beacon for violence because of Newsom’s embrace of policies that champion the criminal and penalize the law-abiding. That is why the majority of Americans rightfully reject his California-style gun control.”
Gun Owners of America (GOA) was also among the first gun rights groups to criticize Newsom's proposal on Thursday morning, casting it as an attack on the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.
NTD reached out to the GOA for additional comment but the organization did not respond by the time this article was published.