June 12, 2023
Gov. Newsom Comes Clean with 28th Amendment Suggestion
California’s Gov. Gavin Newsom’s policy instincts match his hair gel. Both are applied liberally.
Take his latest notion. He is proposing a 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. He’s not proposing to protect rights granted by our Creator, rather he’s looking to turn those rights into government-approved privileges.
His proposal for the 28th Amendment would be:
- Raising the federal minimum age to purchase a firearm from 18 to 21;
- Mandating universal background checks to prevent truly dangerous people from purchasing a gun that could be used in a crime;
- Instituting a reasonable waiting period for all gun purchases; and
- Barring civilian purchase of assault weapons that serve no other purpose than to kill as many people as possible in a short amount of time – weapons of war our nation’s founders never foresaw.
Don’t worry. Gov. Newsom says these proposals leave the Second Amendment unchanged and respect America’s gun-owning tradition. If you believe that, I’ve got a Golden Gate Bridge to sell you. These ideas are already law in California which means Gov. Newsom wants to export his failing policies to the rest of the nation. He doesn’t get it that no one else wants them or that he just admitted his gun control ideas are unconstitutional under the Second Amendment. Otherwise, why would he need a 28th?
Make America California?
Gov. Newsom’s proposal reveals his autocratic, “big government” tendencies. The Declaration of Independence professed that unalienable rights are endowed by our Creator. The Constitution’s Bill of Rights – the first 10 Amendments – reminds the government that those rights belong to the “people,” not the government. Gov. Newsom wants to flip that on its head.
He claims his proposed 28th Amendment wouldn’t interfere with Second Amendment rights but that’s just not true. Gov. Newsom would relegate the Second Amendment to a second-class right by barring adults at 18, who are fully vested in all their other Constitutional rights, from fully exercising and expressing their Second Amendment rights. Gov. Newsom’s proposed 28th Amendment wouldn’t respect the Second Amendment. It would trample all over it.
It would further invite government intrusion into the exercise of a fundamental right by instituting universal background checks. The only way that works is if the federal government is able to create a national gun owner database. That was the conclusion of The Obama administration’s Justice Department. A 2013 National Institutes for Justice report states universal background checks are dependent on gun registration. That would put every gun owner on a watchlist just for exercising their rights. The proposal would also say that rights aren’t actually rights without a “reasonable” waiting period. No other right is exposed to that qualification. Individuals aren’t told they can only assemble if they’ve waited three days. No one is told they can attend their church only once every seven days. No one needs the government’s permission before they write a letter to the editor of their local newspaper. That’s ludicrous.
Guns = Bad. Murderers – Meh?
Gov. Newsom’s proposed amendment would suggest that criminals are absolved of responsibility for their crimes. His proposal blames crime on the gun, not the criminal. He classifies Modern Sporting Rifles (MSRs) inaccurately as “assault weapons” and defines them as serving no other purpose than to murder. As we have seen, not even the Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is able to define what they mean by an “assault weapon,” which is simply an invented antigun trope to mislead the public.
There are 24.4 million MSRs in circulation today. The overwhelming majority of these firearms are locked safely in gun safes across the nation not because they suddenly sprout to life and murder innocent people. Murders happen because deranged individuals with no respect for the law or life unlawfully take the lives of the innocent. The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports show, that as horrific as these incidents are, they are still the minority of murders. Murders committed with knives, fists and clubs far outpace those committed with all types of rifles, not just MSRs.
Founding Fathers Knew
Gov. Newsom showed his policy ignorance further when he wrote that the nation’s founders wouldn’t have foreseen the development of today’s MSR. The founders knew they couldn’t predict the future. They understood technology changes and that’s why they didn’t write the Second Amendment to protect flintlock, muzzleloader rifles. They didn’t restrict bearing arms to only the number of patch-and-ball that could be carried in a canvas bag.
The founders wrote “arms” to include all arms. Just as the First Amendment’s freedom of the press isn’t limited to quill pens or manual printing presses that were the cutting-edge technology of the day but to all forms of mass media. The same is with arms. There were repeating and multi-shot guns at the time the Second Amendment was drafted. However, the founders knew that rights are constant, even as technology grows and improves.
Of course, there is a process for this idea. The founders knew that every now and then, there would be ideas pushed by politicians more intent on furthering their own political career than protecting the Constitutional rights of all Americans. That’s why Article V of the U.S. Constitution exists. Gov. Newsom can encourage lawmakers in California to vote for a Constitutional Convention of the States. He’ll just need to get 33 other states to agree on it. Given that over half the states have passed Constitutional carry laws to respect the Second Amendment rights of their citizens, this is doubtful.
The other option is to convince Congress this 28th Amendment should be adopted. That only requires two-thirds of both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate to agree to it. Given the legislative gymnastics it takes to even agree on how to spend tax dollars, this isn’t likely either. Of course, even if two-thirds of the state legislatures or Congress would agree, it would still take 38 states to ratify the amendment.
I propose any such Convention of the States be held in Gov. Newsom’s hometown of San Francisco so every other state can get an up-close look at the success of his other policies.
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