It has been almost 32 years since the last amendment to the United States Constitution – Amendment 27 – was ratified by three-fourths of the states. That could change if California Gov. Gavin Newsom succeeds with his push for a 28th Amendment, but experts say it has a low chance of survival. Here’s what you need to know!

What Is The Right To Safety Amendment? 

The ‘Right to Safety’ amendment – also being dubbed Amendment 28 – is a constitutional amendment proposed by Gov. Newsom in September 2023. For those who want stricter gun laws and restrictions, Amendment 28 is what you’ve been waiting for. 

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“The 28th Amendment will enshrine in the Constitution common sense gun safety measures that Democrats, Republicans, Independents, and gun owners overwhelmingly support,” Newsom said in a press release at the time. 

The 4 Pillars Of The Proposed 28th Amendment

The proposed amendment would do four primary things – raise the minimum age to buy a gun from 18 to 21 years old, mandate universal background checks, institute a waiting period for all gun purchases, and ban the sale of assault weapons and other weapons of war to civilians.

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“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,” Newsom continued. 

Gov. Newsom Runs New Political Ad

In an effort to advance the discussion and conjure bipartisan support across the nation, Gov. Newsom has been running a political ad urging citizens to ‘Support the 28th’ by signing the petition at Campaign for Democracy. 

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Newsom believes more can be done to prevent gun violence in this country, and called out several Republicans – including Rep. Jim Jordan, Gov. Ron DeSantis, and Gov. Greg Abbott – for only offering thoughts and prayers (not solutions) when tragedies occur.

Keeps The 2nd Amendment In Tact

One of the biggest concerns most people have over a potential amendment on guns is its potential impact on the 2nd Amendment – which gives people the right to bear arms. According to Newsom, the 28th Amendment would keep the 2nd Amendment in tact. 

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“The Right to Safety Amendment would preserve the integrity of the Second Amendment, while enshrining in our Constitution commonsense safety provisions that are supported overwhelmingly by the American people,” Newsom said in a press release. 

John J. Pitney Jr. Says ‘Zero Chance’ For Success

John J. Pitney Jr. – a politics professor at Claremont McKenna College – is one of the many political experts who aren’t surprised to see Gov. Newsom struggle to gain support over his proposed amendment (even among Democratic states). 

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“For the foreseeable future, there is zero chance of a constitutional convention that would draft a gun control amendment,” he said – citing the Republican’s control of the state legislative chambers. “If they were to support a constitutional convention at all, its purpose would be to expand gun rights.”

Using The Effort To Encourage Debate and Aspiration

Despite receiving little support from fellow Democrats, Newsom continues to call on others to join the cause—a move that many, including Pitney, believe is an effort to appear ‘aspirational’ in the eyes of his supporters. 

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“He is using this proposal as a way to encourage debate and deliberation about gun control, in hopes of encouraging future national legislation on the topic,” Pitney said. “His detractors would say it’s a gimmick to get publicity and build up a contact list for future political efforts.”

Oregon Senator Doesn’t See It Getting Picked Up

Oregon Sen. Floyd Prozanski, a Democrat who has represented the 4th district since 2004 and also chairs the state’s Senate Judiciary Committee, doesn’t have high hopes for the proposed amendment. In fact, he fears it could open up Pandora’s Box. 

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“The last thing I’d want is to open up something where we can’t put the lid back on the can,” he said. Many experts fear that a constitutional convention could turn into a ‘runaway’ convention as more amendments and changes are proposed during the process. 

Newsom’s Spokesman Says It’ll Take Decades

Nathan Click, a personal spokesman for Newsom, is warning that constitutional amendments often take years, even decades before achieving ratification. With that said, Newsom’s office continues to do everything in their power to raise awareness and brief leaders across the US. 

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“Since California became the first state to pass the Right to Safety amendment last year, we’ve briefed leaders in more than 20 states,” he said. “We have been very pleased by the response during these conversations and look forward to more progress next year when all states are back in session.”

Randy Kozuch Wants Newsom To Wake Up

Randy Kozuch, executive director of the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action, is one of the many critics who want Newsom to give up in his fight for gun control. 

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Kozuch couldn’t help but notice how ‘no other state has introduced or acted on a similar proposal’ and believes it’s a sign that Newsom won’t win. “Gavin Newsom needs to come to grips with the fact that the rest of the country isn’t buying what he’s selling,” he said.

Newsom Chooses Unconventional Path

Between 1791 and 1992, the states ratified 27 amendments to the US Constitution, and they all followed a similar path to success – being passed by Congress with a two-thirds majority vote before being ratified by at least three-fourths of the states. 

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Newsom’s proposed amendment would follow a different path to ratification (if it ever gets there). First, he needs two-thirds of the states to call for a constitutional convention to consider amendments. The amendments must then be ratified by three-fourths of the states. 

Likening It To The 1787 Constitutional Convention

So far, there has only been one constitutional convention in the history of the United States and it took place in 1787. At the time, citizens were concerned over the alleged weakness of the central government, which they aimed to fix by amending the Articles of Confederation. 

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Instead of revising it, they ended up rewriting the entire thing – essentially creating a new frame of government that was adapted two years later. That rewrite became known as the Constitution – the same Constitution that stands today, but is being threatened by another convention.

Motivated By The 2022 Bruen Decision

According to Gov. Newsom, his decision to propose the Right to Safety amendment was widely motivated by the United States Supreme Court’s decision in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen – which was issued in June 2022. 

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In a 6-3 majority ruling, SCOTUS determined that New York’s century-old public carry licensing law was unconstitutional and citizens had a constitutional right to carry a pistol in public – as outlined by the Second Amendment. 

President Biden Recently Ended Gunshow Loophole

Newsom’s newest political ad comes at a time when President Joe Biden – a fellow Democrat – announced his plans to end what many people refer to as the ‘gun show loophole,’ which allows people to purchase firearms without a background check. 

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Biden’s new rule would require background checks for all guns sold on the internet, at a gun show, or at a brick-and-mortar store. It requires gun sellers to obtain a license and moves the country one step closer to universal background checks.