California AG Backs Newsom's Bid to Insert Gun Control Into the Constitution

AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File

Ever since California Gov. Gavin Newsom floated the idea of a 28th Amendment that would enshrine several gun control proposals into the U.S. Constitution last June, most of his fellow Democats have simply ignored his big idea. Lawmakers in Sacramento endorsed the idea last fall, but the idea hasn't gained any traction outside of California's borders. 

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That doesn't mean that Newsom or his anti-gun allies have given up, however. This week California Attorney General Rob Bonta endorsed Newsom's proposed amendment, claiming a majority of Americans back the plan as well. 

Asked by GV Wire if he would support changing or abolishing the Second Amendment, Bonta said he supports Newsom’s plan.

“I support that. The people of the United States of America support that,” Bonta said. “It is incumbent upon leaders like our governor, me, and others to take action that will answer that call to action. ”

California has led the way in preventing gun violence, Bonta said, by banning “assault” weapons, and large capacity magazines, and treating ghost guns as guns. He said California’s gun death rate is 40% lower than the national average.

“They work. They save lives. They prevent gun deaths. And we don’t want to only have those life-saving actions be enjoyed by Californians. Every American should enjoy (them),” Bonta said.

Bonta said he “respects the interpretation of (the Second Amendment) by our courts, including our U.S. Supreme Court.”

If Americans are so interested in enshrining gun control into the Constitution, the obvious question is why haven't we seen any sort of grassroots movement in favor of a 28th Amendment develop in the almost 12 months since Newsom started pushing the idea? And the obvious answer is that most Americans aren't interested in Newsom's proposal to raise the age to purchase a firearm to 21, ban the sale of modern sporting rifles, instituting a "reasonable" waiting period for gun purchases, and mandating universal background checks on all gun sales; or at least not interested enough to actually work towards making that a reality. 

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Sure, proposals like this might find majority support in public opinion surveys, but when voters actually have a chance to weigh in on these issues support tends to plummet. Oregon's Measure 114, for instance, which imposed a ban on "large capacity" magazines as well as establishing a permit-to-purchase law, was approved by just 50.7% of voters in 2022. In 2016, gun control groups put a "universal background check" referendum on the ballot in Maine, but despite the supposed popularity of the measure (and the millions of dollars in spending from anti-gun groups), the referendum failed to become law, getting approval of just 48% of voters. 

As for Bonta's assertion that California's gun laws are making the state a safer place, there are plenty of places in the United States that actually respect our right to keep and bear arms and have even lower rates of violent crime and homicides. According to the CDC, California's homicide rate in 2022 was 5.9 per 100,000 people. That's higher than the homicide rates in the Constitutional Carry states of Idaho (2.9 per 100K), Utah (2.2. per 100K), North Dakota (3.5 per 100K), Iowa (2.9 per 100K), Kansas (5.8 per 100K), Maine (2.6 per 100K), and New Hampshire (1.8 per 100K). Vermont and Wyoming likely have lower homicide rates than California as well, but the CDC doesn't have homicide data from those states for 2022. 

In other words, you don't need to treat the right to keep and bear arms as an evil to be eradicated in order to enjoy low levels of violent crime. Newsom (and now Bonta) are offering up the false promise of increased security at the expense of our fundamental rights through a Constitutional amendment that has no chance whatsoever of being ratified. There are 29 Constitutional Carry states in the U.S., and anti-gunners would have to convince legislators or voters in 17 of them to adopt Newsom's proposal for it to receive the 3/4 support required from the states to amend the Constitution. 

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Let Bonta bleat about Newsom's anti-gun proposal as much as he wants. We'll keep challenging California's gun laws in court and enshrining more protections for the right to keep and bear arms in states across the country while they're pursuing their pipe dream of a Constitutional amendment that would Californicate the Second Amendment beyond recognition. 

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