No Other State Wants To Join Newsom’s Push for a Gun Safety Constitutional Amendment After a Year of Trying

By: Alex Trent | Published: Jun 10, 2024

Last year, California Governor Gavin Newsom called for a new amendment to the US Constitution that would see increased restrictions on gun ownership, something he promoted in social media advertisements in the hopes of starting a national, high-profile campaign.

Now nearly a year later, no other states have joined this 28th amendment campaign and reports suggest that the effort may have come to a halt.

28th Amendment

Newsom supported something called the Right to Safety Amendment, which if passed by Congress would become the 28th amendment to the constitution.

A black gun in a leather holster attached to a belt.


“The Right to Safety Amendment will raise the minimum age to buy a gun from 18 to 21, mandate universal background checks, institute a waiting period for all gun purchases, and ban assault rifles for civilians – while leaving the Second Amendment intact. Additionally, the Right to Safety will affirm Congress, states, and local governments can enact common-sense gun safety laws that save lives,” said a governor’s office statement last August.


Gun Violence Concerns

At the time, Newsom made an emotional plea in support of the resolution, decrying how many Americans are lost every year to gun violence.

A protestor holds a sign that says 'stop gun violence.'

Chip Vincent/Unsplash

“In the time it will take to pass our Right to Safety Resolution calling for a constitutional convention, more Americans will lose their lives to gun violence than were killed on September 11,” said Newsom. “How many more lives must be lost before we act? In California, with the help of the Legislature, we are providing a path to a safer America.”

Advertising Campaigns

After the proposal was announced, Newsom campaigned to get signatures for the Right to Safety amendment.

Gavin Newsom smiling wearing a suit outside.

Source: Bureau of Reclamation/Wikimedia Commons

“Guns are the number one killer of kids. Not cancer. Not car accidents. Guns,” read an advertisement posted by Newsom on X. The post encouraged readers to add their names to a petition by following a link to a website.

Asking For Donations

On the petition website, one is encouraged to add their name by filling in information and answering questions. At the bottom, there is an option for people to donate to Gavin Newsom’s Campaign for Democracy PAC.

Governor Gavin Newsom, in a dark suit, is captured from behind, gesturing while giving a speech at a podium

Source: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

“Add your name to say you support passing the Right to Safety amendment that will make our communities safer from gun violence. It’s a small and simple action, but it will send a powerful message about the size and strength of the coalition to get this done. The time is now,” the site says.

No Progress Has Been Made

Despite efforts by Newsom, it has recently been reported by Calmatters that even in large states controlled by Democrats, the discussion of a constitutional convention for the amendment has not come up.

Two handguns are placed side by side on a white surface, with their barrels pointing to the left

Source: maxx/Unsplash

To date, no other states have officially joined Newsom’s campaign on placing more gun restrictions, and legislative leaders report not hearing it brought up among their own caucuses.


Hope for the Future

While so far progress has stalled on the amendment’s national conversation, a Newsom spokesperson told Calmatters that this is just the beginning of the process.

The California State Capitol Building in Sacamento.

Source: Andre M/Wikimedia

“We’re under no illusions of how hard it is to pass a constitutional amendment, so that’s why we’ve focused on building this grassroots army to help these legislators,” said governor spokesperson Nathan Click. “It’s not just a bill introduction. It’s a bill introduction, and people on the ground who are willing to fight.”


Shift in Gun Activism

Activism for gun restrictions, once a red-meat issue for Democrat voters, has become more controversial in recent years following high-profile protests of the police.

A gun sitting on a stump.

STNGR LLC/Unsplash

Some Democrat voters are embracing guns again, seeing them as a viable alternative to defending themselves over trusting the police and the state to do it.


Embracing Guns

A lack of enthusiasm for gun restrictions may be one reason Democrats across the country aren’t embracing Newsom’s idea.

A Glock pistol holstered in a black and pink stitched leather holster with a decorative cross pattern

Source: seeetz/Unsplash

In December, Newsweek reported that the proportion of Democrats who are gun owners recently increased dramatically from 33 percent to 41 percent in just a few years.


Playing into Republican Talking Points

As Democrat opinions on guns become more favorable, some aren’t keen to fall into a trap laid by Republicans that try to frame liberal gun restriction proposals as trying to take people’s guns away.

A man holds a rifle towards a target in the woods, abou tot shoot.

Source: Sebastian Pociecha/Unsplash

“They’ve come out of the closet. They’ve showed their true intent. They want to eradicate the 2nd Amendment, period,” said Alan Gottlieb, founder and executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation, on Newsom’s gun restriction efforts. “He’s staking out this territory for Democratic primaries for running for the White House in the future. He’s trying to take that mantle so that other candidates can’t claim to be the most anti-gun candidate.”


Gun Control in Trouble

Under Newsom’s leadership, California’s already strict gun laws have become even stricter. The state already possesses many of the most strict regulations on guns of any state in the country.

A close-up of the U.S. Supreme Court building seen in the daytime.

Source: Claire Anderson/Unsplash

However, a recent Supreme Court decision in 2022 overturned a tough New York gun law, which prompted litigation challenging California’s own laws and resulted in some being ruled unconstitutional.


Working Around the Courts

In response to the threat against gun control laws from courts, Newsom enacted this plan to go around them and try to get gun restrictions enshrined on the federal level through the constitutional amendment.

A brown wooden judge’s gavel on a white surface.

Source: Tingey Injury Law Firm/Unsplash

“Governor Newsom isn’t sitting idly by while rightwing judges dismantle our gun safety laws,” Governor spokesperson Click said in a statement. “He’s taking aggressive actions — defending our state’s first-in-class gun safety laws from judicial attacks while simultaneously fighting to pass a constitutional amendment to enshrine gun safety nationwide.” It remains to be seen how this effort will eventually play out among Democrat voters as more gun restrictions fall away, and if this is a winning issue for Newsom and his party.