Gun control politicians really are coming for America’s guns. There’s no denying it after California Gov. Newsom made his proposal for a 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution official.
Gov. Newsom wants to export strict California gun control to the rest of America. He introduced a proposal for a Right to Safety — an amendment to the U.S. Constitution — that would strip Second Amendment rights from individuals and instead make the government the arbiter of which firearm “privileges” would be allowed.
That’s a recipe for disaster. California is more than just the canary-in-the coal mine for what happens when gun control politicians run rampant on rights without proper checks against abuse of authority. The state is also a harbinger for what happens when law-abiding citizens are stripped of their ability to lawfully defend themselves and more protections are afforded to criminals than to their victims.
The proposal was introduced by California state Sen. Aisha Wahab and Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer as Senate Joint Resolution 7. The resolution “calls on the U.S. Congress to call a constitutional convention under Article V of the Constitution of the United States for the purpose of proposing a constitutional amendment.”
The intent is to affirm that state and local governments can negate Second Amendment rights and write their own gun restrictions, creating a patchwork of varying gun control across the nation and impose a series of gun control restrictions that California already has in place which have proven impotent in stemming the tidal wave of crime.
Just one day after dropping that brick on the feet of the American public, federal workers in San Francisco were instructed to work remotely due to rising crime. Traveling into the city has become so risky, that the Department of Health and Human Services issued a memo to employees stating, “In light of the conditions at the (Federal Building) we recommend employees … maximize the use of telework for the foreseeable future,” according to a New York Post report.
That office is in the Nancy Pelosi Federal Building in San Francisco, named for the Speaker Emerita. The building is also home to her district staff and U.S. Department of Labor (DoL) and Department of Transportation (DoT). It is unclear if the other departments issued similar warnings.
The “stay-away” memo reflects the worsening crisis of lawlessness in San Francisco and across California. The City by the Bay has descended in a “promised land of milk and fentanyl” as crime and drugs run unabated. Grocery and drug stores are shuttering over thefts and Gump’s, a luxury retailer that’s been in San Francisco for 166 years, warned that this might be their last year because of a “litany of destructive San Francisco strategies…” the retailer wrote to Gov. Newsom and San Francisco Mayor London Breed.
Gov. Newsom, however, is unbothered by the downward spiral of the city where he was once mayor. He’s focused instead on his gun control 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would codify national age-based gun bans by raising the minimum age to buy a firearm from 18 to 21. It would also mandate universal background checks, which are unworkable without a national firearm registry, which is prohibited by federal law.
Gov. Newsom’s proposed Constitutional amendment would also implement a waiting period for all firearm purchases, immediately delaying the ability of law-abiding Americans to exercise their rights. It would also ban ownership of modern sporting rifles (MSRs), or as California’s antigun politicians call them, “assault weapons.”
Here’s the kicker. Gov. Newsom claims all this can be done “while leaving the Second Amendment intact.”
That’s dishonest – intellectually, politically or any other lens through which to view it. What Gov. Newsom is proposing, and California lawmakers are now considering sending to the U.S. Congress, is nothing short of gutting the Second Amendment.
These are flagrant civil rights violations. Denying rights to adults under the age of 21 relegates firearm ownership to a privilege – granted and rescinded at a government’s whim. The government would usurp the rights endowed by “our Creator” and assume that role.
Gov. Newsom would codify a national age-based gun ban – downgrading the Second Amendment to a second-class right. Free speech, free exercise of religion and free press would be preserved for adults at 18 but not the right to keep and bear arms. It is impossible for Gov. Newsom to claim that his proposal leaves the Second Amendment intact.
Gov. Newsom would also institute a federal government watchlist for every firearm owner in America – simply for exercising a civil liberty. Universal background checks won’t work without a national firearm registry, which is prohibited under federal law. To follow a firearm from creation to destruction requires that the owner of that firearm be listed on a searchable national database. That’s also called a government watchlist. There would be no tolerance for watchlists of who attends a church, mosque or synagogue. Yet, Gov. Newsom doesn’t believe this requirement tramples rights.
Gov. Newsom believes that anyone wanting to exercise their right to lawfully purchase a firearm should be required to wait – without defining what that wait time is. California currently has a 10-day mandatory waiting period, despite the fact that every gun buyer in that state passes the same background checks and fills out the same Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) Form 4473 as a gun buyer in Virginia. Using the same First Amendment analogy, there would be no national appetite for telling Americans they must wait 10 days to “cool off” before making a redress against their government.
Gov. Newsom’s proposed ban on MSRs – or so-called “assault weapons” isn’t a ban in future sales. It’s a ticket for the government to seize lawfully-owned and possessed rifles. The text of the proposal is a “prohibition on the private possession” of these firearms. There are more than 24.4 million MSRs in circulation since 1990. They are the most-popular selling centerfire rifle in America. Gov. Newsom would institute not just a ban on selling these rifles but would necessitate a government seizure of them as well.
Critics say this isn’t about actual gun control but political posturing. Call it gun control “peacocking” for when Gov. Newsom could potentially throw his name into the ring as a possible 2024 Democratic presidential nominee. That is, if President Joe Biden is unable to compete for re-election.
“Newsom right now is trying to appear to be a presidential as possible for either a 2024 or 2028 run at the White House,” said Washington-based candidate advisor Erica Taylor to the California Globe. “This amendment thing, it is pretty obvious to be a ploy. You put out a proposed amendment like this for attention. You don’t put out a press release on it after every little thing you do with it.”
Just over a year ago, Gov. Newsom “unexpectedly” dropped by the White House while President Biden was out of the country. He later told media he wouldn’t challenge President Biden in 2024. However, his unplanned White House visit caught the attention of many as him measuring the drapes and envisioning himself occupying the Oval Office.
The notion of all the drama of a 28th Amendment being nothing more than show might not be out of the question. After all, it is not much more than window dressing that would never garner national support.
Mark Oliva is Managing Director of Public Affairs for NSSF, The Firearm Industry Trade Association.