The California State Legislature passed a resolution Thursday calling for a convention to amend the U.S. Constitution to restrict the purchase of guns.
Senate Joint Resolution 7, which would invoke Article V of the U.S. Constitution to call a convention for proposing a “Right to Safety” amendment, was passed by the California Assembly in a vote of 53 to 17 on Thursday. The bill is the first legal step toward calling such a national convention, which has long been demanded by Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom of California, according to a press release issued by his office. (RELATED: Former Supreme Court Justice Urges Total Repeal Of 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 resolution was introduced in August by Democratic state Sen. Aisha Wahab and passed the Senate on Sept. 6 by a vote of 24 to 11, giving it a two-thirds majority in both houses of the state legislature. “It’s important to uplift the voices of victims we lost and victims that live with the aftermath of gun violence,” she wrote in a statement accompanying Newsom’s release.
Some Democrats have expressed apprehension about the idea of a constitutional convention, fearing that conservatives may use it to amend other sections. California’s resolution specifically prohibits Congress from calling a convention on other subjects and renders itself void if so.
The resolution cited “[p]recedents of the Supreme Court of the United States, including its decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen,” as the reason for calling such a convention. The court ruled in Bruen that states may not require citizens a “proper cause” or specific purpose for owning a firearm, and was highly criticized by Democrats and gun control advocates.
The Constitution permits the calling of a constitutional convention by Congress to propose amendments upon the application of two-thirds of all state legislatures, which must then be ratified by three-fourths of all states. The proposal has never been invoked in American history, with the last convention being held in 1787 that led to the current Constitution’s enactment.
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