Democrats have issues with Newsom's amendment plan

Democrats have issues with Newsom's amendment plan
AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes

Most people who read this site find themselves opposing a lot of what Democrats say. Sure, not everyone, but most.

That’s because there are fundamental differences between those gun owners and the folks on the other side of the political aisle as most gun owners are Republicans or libertarians of some stripe. It’s not exactly a mystery.


But it seems folks on all sides have concerns with California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s anti-gun constitutional amendment plan.

But as the San Francisco Chronicle reported on Wednesday, Democrats worry that there is no way to limit an Article V convention — which has never been held before — to the topic of gun control, and that conservatives might use the meeting to introduce a variety of constitutional amendments that some have backed for years.

The Chronicle noted:

[S]ome California Democrats are concerned about the potential unintended consequences of a constitutional convention and the ways in which Republicans could use such an event to further their own policy ideas. Some believe the effort has plenty of benefits for Newsom as he travels the country and raises money to drum up support, but has little chance of being implemented.

Twenty-nine state legislatures in the U.S. are controlled by Republicans, and in recent years Republicans have been the ones calling for a constitutional convention. That worries some Democrats like state Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, who fears Newsom’s proposal could unintentionally open the Constitution up to amendments from conservative states to undermine the rights of LGBTQ people, immigrants seeking U.S. citizenship and people trying to get an abortion or use birth control.

“It’s unclear whether there can be a convention limited to one topic,” Wiener said. “We need to make sure that we’re not going to inadvertently trigger a general constitutional convention, because that could go real bad real fast.”

The idea of an Article V convention has been championed most aggressively by conservative radio host and litigator Mark Levin, whose 2013 book The Liberty Amendments has spurred a nationwide effort to hold a convention of states aimed at passing ten specific amendments to shore up the Constitution’s original vision.


In this case, the Democrats are actually right to be concerned. An Article V convention cannot be limited, which means pretty much anything is on the table.

Right now, according to Wise Voter, there are 22 red states versus 18 blue states. That leaves 10 swing states that will tip the balance one way or another.

Yet among the swing states are Georgia and Florida, both of which just recently passed permitless carry laws. They also include North Carolina and Ohio, which have made pro-gun moves. They’re also states that have views many Democrats are less than thrilled with on other issues as well.

So an Article V convention isn’t a guaranteed slam dunk for a gun control amendment like Newsom wants. However, it may see some other amendments passed that Democrats aren’t in favor of, such as term limits for members of Congress.

The truth is that there’s a risk to this plan, but Newsom is banking on this idea that these measures are so popular that he can cram through his amendment. He’s forgetting how a convention actually works, which means all kinds of things can go sideways, up to and including an entirely new constitution.

At least hypothetically.

The truth is that Newsom isn’t dumb enough to actually want the convention. He just wants to make a splash for his eventual presidential campaign.


And while I think most Democrats know it, they’re concerned that his grandstanding might result in something and that the something in question won’t be good for them.

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