Newsom Crowing About Support For Amendment That Has None

AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli

California Gov. Gavin Newsom thought he hit on a winner of an idea when he proposed his 28th Amendment. It codifies particular gun control laws into the Constitution, thus making them immune to judicial review.


A clever idea except for the fact that there's not enough support to get gun control passed as is, so there was never a hope in the world of ever getting an amendment ratified.

Still, Newsom tried to sell it.

And, a year later, nothing. A big fat nothing. California, obviously, signed up, but then no one else did.

But it seems that while others say it wasn't likely to happen, Newsom says he has reasons to think it does.

“The inability to advance the gun safety proposal beyond California, even in other Democratic-controlled states, suggests that — so far at least — Newsom’s plan was more flash than substance,” The Times Taryn Luna and Laurel Rosenhall reported this week.

University of Texas law school professor Sanford Levinson told them it’s no surprise Newsom isn’t getting buy-in — even among his Democratic peers.

“He’s swimming upstream in terms of trying to persuade people that a constitutional amendment regarding guns is going to be a very fruitful way of spending their time,” he said.

So how is Newsom taking this lack of progress? He told Taryn and Laurel it was to be expected.


“Come on, no one was naive about this,” Newsom said in a recent interview. “This has been done before, but not recently. It will have its fits and starts. It will have its champions and will have its setbacks.”

Newsom also told them he’s had “dozens of conversations” with other states’ legislative leaders in the past year, but he and his staff did not want to name the states or the leaders.


Well, I guess that's something. He's had conversations and is optimistic it's still going to happen. That must mean he got some good news, at least from his perspective.

That's bad news from ours, of course, though that would still be a tough road since most states are GOP-controlled, meaning they're not likely to sign onto a gun control amendment.

There's just one thing that I think is pretty important here.

Literally no one admits to having spoken with Newsom.

Opposition to the idea from red states is pretty much a given, but Taryn and Laurel spoke with prominent Democrats in Oregon and Washington state who said they haven’t heard from Newsom and haven’t discussed passing their own resolutions.

Washington and Oregon would be logical places for Newsom to reach out. Not only due to geography but also the fact that both states have rolled hard toward gun control in recent years. They'd be a natural alliance for California going forward.

Sure, it's possible he spoke with folks in New York or Massachusetts, but the fact that some of these elected officials are well-known for their anti-gun stances--and neither state are in such a position where appearing anti-gun is likely to hurt them--means there's no reason to keep their identity a secret.

What's really happening here is that Newsom pushed out an idea he was convinced was a winning strategy, possibly setting up his own presidential bid in due course--I was half convinced he'd have stepped in by now, to be honest--and doesn't want to admit that his natural allies in this aren't thrilled.


A lot of people have concerns about what happens if you get a constitutional convention in the first place. There's nothing to limit the scope of the discussions. Literally anything could be on the table, including some measures that Democrats may be more worried about than gun control.

Then there's the tactical side of things. Newsom has essentially acknowledged that things like assault weapon bans aren't constitutional as things currently stand. If they were, he wouldn't need to push for a 28th Amendment to make them so.

It's not surprising that most people aren't backing Newsom's effort.

What's surprising is that he seems to be lying about the discussions he's been having on the topic. To be frank, that's just pathetically sad.

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