California Governor Gavin Newsom is pushing for a 28th amendment to the United States Constitution aimed at implementing stricter gun control measures, including a nationwide ban on assault rifles.
Mass shootings continue to be a huge concern in the US. This year alone, the US has already seen 279 mass shootings, defined to have four or more injuries or deaths, according to the Gun Violence Archive.
Governor Newsom’s proposed amendment seeks to raise the minimum age for firearm purchases from 18 to 21, enforce universal background checks, implement a reasonable waiting period for all gun purchases, and prohibit civilian purchases of assault rifles on a national scale.
For an amendment to be added to the constitution, it requires the support of 34 state legislatures. This would then trigger a constitutional convention to discuss the amendment, with the final ratification requiring the support of 38 states.
In an announcement video released on Thursday, Newsom emphasized that the proposed amendment would preserve the Second Amendment while respecting the country’s tradition of gun ownership.
However, the proposal faces significant challenges as Republicans, who generally oppose gun restrictions, hold a majority or 28 of the 50 state legislatures. When asked about the feasibility of his campaign, Newsom expressed confidence, saying “It’s possible because their constituency demands it.”
In an interview with Politico, Newsom shared that the roadmap for his new proposal was the 17th Amendment, which allowed voters to vote for US senators directly, rather than have them chosen by state legislatures.
The California governor will need to persuade an additional 33 state legislatures — the Democrats only control 19, including California — meaning he has to convince at least 15 more Republican-controlled legislatures to support gun control measures that the party has historically opposed.
Newsom and fellow Democrats argue that despite politicians’ resistance to gun control, a significant portion of their constituents support such measures.
A Gallup survey from February found that 63% of Americans are dissatisfied with US gun laws — the highest in the 23 years that the analytics company has been tracking. Interestingly, it also found that 54% of Republicans are satisfied, showing a five-point decrease in just a year.
Moreover, an April Fox News poll found that majority of voters are ready for stricter gun laws:
- 81% support raising the legal age to buy guns to 21,
- 87% support requiring criminal background checks for all gun buyers, while 80% support requiring mental health checks for all gun purchasers,
- 77% support requiring a 30-day waiting period for all gun purchases,
- 61% of voters support banning assault rifles and semi-automatic weapons.
Newsom plans to use funds remaining from his 2022 reelection bid to finance his campaign to get support from other states.
Information for this story was found via Politico, Twitter, NBC, and the sources and companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.