Last week, a federal judge prevented New Mexico authorities from enforcing what amounted to a suspension of Second Amendment rights. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) tried using the smoke and mirrors of a “public health emergency” to enact her gun ban. Now, presidential possible, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, says, hold my beer. The Golden State’s legislature approved his resolution calling for a national constitutional convention to remove the Second Amendment and add new taxes on firearms.
The Constitution’s Article 5 lays out the two-part process for amendments. First, a proposal must be endorsed by a two-thirds majority vote in both houses of Congress or a constitutional convention convened by two-thirds of all state legislatures. If one of these is met, the Constitution can be amended if the proposal is ratified by three-fourths of state legislatures or conventions in three-fourths of the states.
Is this a case of “be careful what you wish for”? Gun rights proponents have, for at least a generation, bemoaned attempts to circumvent the Second Amendment. It took almost 220 years for the Supreme Court to recognize it protected an individual’s right to keep and bear arms, often arguing that imposing new and onerous gun controls required a change to the Constitution. Newsom now hopes to grant that wish.
The governor said, “The Right to Safety Amendment would preserve the integrity of the Second Amendment while enshrining in our Constitution commonsense safety provisions supported overwhelmingly by the American people.” Newsom has been peddling the constitutional convention as a mechanism that addresses only gun safety. The problem is that limiting such a conclave to a single subject is probably impossible. There would likely be any number of proposals on a variety of topics in play.
Newsom Gun Grab Plan Has Two Parts
Who knows what will happen once that genie is out of the bottle? Not one of the 27 amendments previously ratified to the Constitution has been proposed by a convention, and the last time it was amended was in 1992. Perhaps Newsom isn’t counting on the measure succeeding and is just going through the motions to attract Democrat primary voters. He has been running a shadow campaign for president for a while now.
Also, in September, the Golden State moved to tax guns out of the hands of Californians. It enacted a new excise tax on firearms, parts, and ammunition of 11%, owed in addition to hefty sales taxes, that takes effect on July 1, 2024. There is a base statewide sales tax of 7.25%, with most cities and counties imposing additional levies. So California buyers of firearms, parts, and ammunition will pay at least 18.25% in total taxes. Gun rights groups are working now to challenge the tax as a violation of the Second Amendment.