California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday proposed a 28th amendment to the U.S. constitution. He said the new gun-safety amendment would leave the Second Amendment in place. File Photo by Eric Thayer/UPI | License Photo
June 8 (UPI) -- California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday proposed a 28th U.S. constitutional amendment that would give gun-safety measures constitutional protection while preserving Second Amendment rights.
"Our ability to make a more perfect union is literally written into the Constitution," Newsom said in a statement. "The 28th Amendment will enshrine in the Constitution common sense gun-safety measures that Democrats, Republicans, independents, and gun owners overwhelmingly support -- while leaving the Second Amendment unchanged and respecting America's gun-owning tradition."
Newsom said his vision of a new amendment would include universal background checks for gun buyers, raising the age to buy guns to 21, firearm waiting periods for gun purchases and barring the civilian purchase of assault weapons.
Newsom said those measures have broad public support.
California, Newsom said, will be the first state to call for a constitutional amendatory convention. He said that call will be introduced in the state legislature by state Sen. Aisha Wahab and state Assembly member Reggie Jones-Swayer.
"As someone impacted by gun violence, I have an obligation to elevate the voices of victims and those of us left behind in the wake of tragedy," Wahab said in a statement.
She praised Newsom, saying he has the backbone to "to actually do something about the gun fetish culture around weapons of war, and tackle the relentless problem of gun violence and mass shootings."
In a statement, Jones-Sawyer urged other states to join California in calling for the new amendment.
"We cannot stand idly while courts roll back our work and diminish the ability of our Legislature to keep Californians safe," he said. "This bold but fair resolution calls on other states to join us in protecting some of the most effective ways of reducing gun violence."
Newsom said that, according to the Giffords Law Center, California is ranked the number one state for gun safety. He said California has a 37% lower gun death rate than the national average.
Reaction to the proposal in political circles was swift on Thursday.
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, a Republican, invited Newsom to participate in a debate about the proposed gun control constitutional amendment.
"Gov. Newsom, I am willing to debate you on this in Mississippi any time. So on your next trip to our state to campaign for my opponent, give me a call," Reeves tweeted Thursday afternoon.
Reeves has been a vocal proponent of unlimited gun rights. In April, he signed legislation that blocked the creation of gun registries and efforts to track financial transactions related to gun purchases.