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California governor proposes gun-control amendment to U.S. Constitution

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Ria Roebuck Joseph

(The Center Square) – Gun deaths in California are among the lowest in the nation with 9 per 100,000 people – compared to 16 deaths per 100,000 nationally. That's why California Governor Gavin Newsom thinks he has the recipe to save lives nationally.

Newsom is proposing a 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution, “to enshrine fundamental, broadly supported gun safety measures into law." 

The proposed 28th Amendment would raise the federal minimum age to purchase a firearm from 18 to 21; mandate universal background checks; institute a waiting period for all gun purchases; and bar civilian purchase of assault-style weapons.

This is sure to enter the national debate on gun control, though the question of gun control is not a new one. It was debated between Anti-federalists and Federalists in 1791 on the right of states to defend themselves against encroachment by the federal government.

In Thursday's announcement, Newsom said,, “The 28th Amendment will enshrine in the Constitution common sense gun safety measures that Democrats, Republicans, Independents, and gun owners overwhelmingly support. “

The next step for the governor in this path to add an amendment to the constitution is to secure the support of two-thirds of the states to propose the same amendment, which is considered an uphill battle.

Newsom said he is gathering coalitions, grassroots gun-control supporters, and civic leaders to have similar resolutions in other states passed to ensure the Article V pathway. 

This is a strategy to dampen the GOP power at many state legislatures, funded by money left-over from Newsom’s re-election campaign.  In an NBC interview, Newsom stated it was possible to get the two thirds support “because their constituency demands it.” 

“Our ability to make a more perfect union is literally written into the Constitution,” said Newsom. “So today, I’m proposing the 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution to do just that.”

The measure would leave “the 2nd Amendment unchanged and respect America’s gun-owning tradition,” the governor assured.