The California State Legislature passed Governor Gavin Newsom’s call for a national Constitutional Convention to limit gun access. Both Prominent Democrats and Second Amendment advocates have criticized the decision to push for a convention, noting that there would be no limits on what such a convention could add or remove in a new draft of the national constitution.
California passed Senate Joint Resolution 7 by a 53 to 17 vote last week with the backing of Governor Newsom. The bill would invoke Article V of the U.S. Constitution to call a convention for proposing a “Right to Safety” amendment, effectively altering the second amendment.
“This action is even more urgent as radical judges use a warped interpretation of our Constitution to roll back gun safety laws in California, and across the country,” wrote Newsom in a statement upon the resolution’s passage. “In the face of decades of Congressional inaction and unelected judges that are putting Americans in danger, it is time for citizens to stand up for common sense to protect us against the uniquely American epidemic of gun violence.”
The resolution calls for a convention to propose a 28th amendment, which would impose “universal background checks as a prerequisite to purchase or acquisition of a firearm” as well as prohibit “sales, loans, or other transfers of firearms to those under 21 years of age, subject to limited exceptions,” according to its text. It would also mandate a “minimum waiting period” after purchasing a firearm and prohibit the “sale, loan, or transfer of assault weapons and other weapons of war to private civilians.”
The proposal, however, faces a very steep uphill battle. A Constitutional Convention would require thirty-four state legislatures to adopt resolutions calling for a convention, and three quarters of states would have to ratify whatever the convention produces.
27 states have also declared themselves “Constitutional Carry” making the likelihood that enough state legislatures are willing to call for a Constitutional Convention to rewrite the second amendment, even more of a tougher battle.
Some Democrats are also concerned about the proposal and are warning that if we open that door, we may lose control of the process.
“With today’s politics and this big divided country of ours, I think we could lose ground on some fundamental rights if we’re not able to control it. So why we would want to take that risk and open that up is beyond me,” Rep. Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael said.
“If this is just an organizing and messaging vehicle and a one-off that we would do in California, then fine, you know, go for it,” Huffman said, but “it has literally never happened. And we have no idea what parts of Pandora’s box it would open.”
State Senator Scott Wiener also warned that with many Republicans also calling for a Constitutional Convention,“We need to make sure that we’re not going to inadvertently trigger a general constitutional convention, because that could go real bad real fast.”