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CA Pushes Constitutional Amendment On Gun Control
If the resolution passes, California would become the nation's first state to call for a convention about amending the U.S. Constitution.
ACROSS CALIFORNIA — Gov. Gavin Newsom's proposal for a Right to Safety Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was introduced Monday as a joint resolution in the California Legislature.
According to Newsom's office, the Right to Safety Amendment, which Newsom initially introduced in June as the 28th Amendment, would leave the Second Amendment intact and would:
—Raise the minimum age to buy a gun from 18 to 21;
—Mandate universal background checks;
—Institute a waiting period for all gun purchases;
— Ban assault rifles for civilians; and
— Affirm Congress, states and local governments can enact common-sense gun safety laws that save lives.
State Sen. Aisha Wahab and state Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer — both Democrats —introduced Senate Joint Resolution 7 in the California State Senate, which is the first step to the adoption of a Constitutional amendment. The joint resolution calls for a convention, also known as an Article V Convention or amendatory convention, which is one method for proposing amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
A joint resolution is not a force of law; rather it expresses an opinion about an issue pertaining to the federal government. If it is approved by the state Senate and state Assembly, it does not require the governor's signature before it is forwarded to Congress as information.
If the resolution were to pass, California would become the first state in the nation to call for such a convention. Thirty-three other states, in addition to California, would need to take action to convene such a convention.
"In the time it will take to pass our Right to Safety Resolution calling for a constitutional convention, more Americans will lose their lives to gun violence than were killed on September 11," Newsom said. "How many more lives must be lost before we act? In California, with the help of the Legislature, we are providing a path to a safer America."
Wahab said as someone who both values the Second Amendment and has personally experienced the impact of gun violence, she is proud to partner with the governor on the Right To Safety Amendment.
"Together, we are advocating for rational and responsible measures regarding firearms regulations, standing up for the memory of all individuals who have lost their lives to, or been deeply affected by, the tragic consequences of gun violence," said Wahab, who hails from the city of Hayward in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Jones-Sawyer, from Los Angeles, is the chair of the Assembly's Public Safety Committee.
"I have worked on solid gun reform policies that Californians overwhelmingly support only to see Republican activist judges overturn the will of the people," Jones-Sawyer said. "The Right to Safety proposal activates a real national discussion on gun violence and gives all Americans a voice in determining whether we continue down a road that sees innocent Americans slaughtered by weapons of war, or whether we choose sensible gun control measures without infringing upon the Second Amendment."
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While the Dems and Republicans take on the issue in the California Legislature, one place Newsom will not get support is from the Libertarians.
The Libertarian Party of California issued a statement July 24 opposing Newsom's proposed amendment.
"The unrelenting assault on our civil rights by Democrats and Republicans is failing in the courts," said Adrian Malagon, chair of the Libertarian Party of California. "Governor Newsom knows that his policies are unconstitutional, so his last resort is to change the law. This is a hallmark of authoritarian leaders."
The party adopted a resolution stating that it condemns the addition of any Constitutional Amendment designed to infringe on Life and Liberty; stating that the purpose of infringements upon civil liberties are undoubtedly precursors to future oppression and the degradation of human life; stating that the Libertarian Party of California calls for the mass condemnation of Gavin Newsom's proposed 28th Amendment; and that the party supports the abolition of all laws that infringe on the individual liberties of peaceful people.
The Libertarian Party of California, which had some 204,000 members as of 2021, described itself as a stalwart defender of individual liberty and civil rights.
"Any attempt to change the legal framework to alter constitutionally mandated rights in order to serve a political agenda was an abhorrent rebuke of popular sovereignty by a body of free citizens," the party said.
"While we have come to expect that Democrats and Republicans will continue to chip away at your freedom, the Libertarian Party will never compromise on civil rights."
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