August 30, 2023
We recently reported on how the Libertarian Party of California had come out strongly against Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposal for a federal constitutional convention to pass a new amendment that would make it easier for states and municipalities to infringe upon the Second Amendment rights of gun owners. At that time, Garrison Ham, chair of the Libertarian Party of San Diego County, said in an exclusive interview with Firearms News: “It's kind of hard to realize how big of a deal this is. It’s a direct attack on civil liberties. It starts with the Second Amendment, then it goes to the First Amendment, then to the Fourth and Fifth amendments.”
Consequently, Ham said, Newsom’s plan is actually about much more than just firearms.
“This guy is recklessly trying to change our entire legal system in order to facilitate failed policies that have endangered communities and have disenfranchised people,” Ham said. “And it’s just so he can win political points to be president or a senator or whatever it is he’s looking to do next.”
Now, at the request of Gov. Newsom, the California State Senate is considering SJR 7, which firmly establishes the California state government as supporting such a constitutional convention and calling for the resolution to be distributed to the president and members of Congress. According to the resolution, the convention could, “Affirm that federal, state and local government may adopt public safety regulations limiting aspects of firearms acquisition, possession, public care and use by individuals and that such regulations are consistent with the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and the understanding that throughout American history private individuals have possessed firearms for home defense, hunting and recreational purposes.”
The convention could also, “Impose, as a matter of national policy, the following firearms regulations and prohibitions: (1) universal background checks as a prerequisite to purchase or acquisition of a firearm, (2) a prohibition on sales, loans or other transfers of firearms to those under 21 years of age, subject to limited exceptions, (3) a minimum waiting period after the purchase or acquisition of a firearm before that firearm may be delivered to the buyer or acquirer, and (4) a prohibition on the private possession of assault weapons and other weapons of war.”
In other words, the convention would be charged with completely gutting the Second Amendment’s protection for gun owners and then declaring that all these new restrictions are now somehow constitutional under the Second Amendment! Newsom and the California Senate’s zeal for such a convention stems from the fact that since last year’s Bruen ruling, restrictive laws that they have passed and signed into law continue to fail in court. And since many courts throughout the nation are applying the new two-step review process prescribed by Bruen, these anti-gun politicians are realizing that just about all of the laws they have passed no longer meet constitutional muster.
In the end, it’s really not very likely that Newsom’s or the State Senate’s call for a constitutional convention will have much effect in the long run, given the number of states with pro-gun state governments. However, it does show how far anti-gun zealots will try to go when they’re not allowed to have their way and trample the rights of lawful gun owners.
About the Author
Freelance writer and editor Mark Chesnut is the owner/editorial director at Red Setter Communications LLC. An avid hunter, shooter and political observer, he has been covering Second Amendment issues and politics on a near-daily basis for nearly 25 years.
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