California’s Gun Control Effort by Newsom is in Trouble

By: Sam Watanuki | Published: Jun 07, 2024

California Governor Gavin Newsom has been actively pushing for a 28th amendment to the U.S. Constitution to implement stricter gun control measures.

Despite his efforts over the past year, the campaign has yet to gain significant support from other states.

The 28th Amendment Proposal

Newsom’s proposed amendment includes four key measures: universal background checks, raising the minimum age for gun purchases to 21, implementing waiting periods, and banning assault weapons.

constitution rights document laid on top of the American flag with a overlay picture of a gun

These measures aim to enhance public safety and reduce gun violence.

The Campaign's First Year

Since launching the campaign on June 8, 2023, Newsom has focused on building public support through social media and a formal online petition.

A phtotogrpah of a smartphone screen which displays social media icons

Source: Wikimedia

This petition has helped expand the mailing list for his political action committee.

Grassroots Mobilization

A major part of Newsom’s strategy involves training volunteers and creating a “grassroots army” to advocate for the amendment.

Gavin Newsom standing behind a wooden lectern. The U.S. and California flags are behind him.

Source: Office of the Governor of California/Wikimedia Commons

Over 1,500 volunteers have been trained so far, with a goal of reaching 10,000 by early 2025.

Legislative Challenges

Passing a constitutional amendment is a complex process. It requires approval from two-thirds of state legislatures to convene a constitutional convention, followed by ratification from three-fourths of the states.

Lawyer fills out paperwork on a desk with a judges gavel beside him

Source: Freepik

This high threshold has contributed to the campaign’s slow progress.

Limited Support from Other States

Despite California’s efforts, no other states have joined the call for a constitutional convention in the past year.

New York Empire State Building

Source: Canva

Even in Democratic-controlled states like New York and Illinois, there has been little discussion about supporting Newsom’s proposal.


Political Implications

Critics argue that Newsom’s campaign may be more about political positioning than achieving legislative success.

Exterior view of the White House in Washington, DC

Source: Freepik

Alan Gottlieb of the Second Amendment Foundation suggests that Newsom is using the issue to maintain a national profile, possibly in preparation for a future presidential run.


Impact of the Bruen Decision

The 2022 Supreme Court decision in Bruen has significantly impacted California’s gun control laws.

Supreme Court

Source: Kjetil Ree, Wikimedia

This ruling established a new standard for reviewing firearms laws, leading to several of California’s restrictions being overturned in the courts.


Judicial Setbacks

In response to the Bruen decision, California has faced a series of legal challenges to its gun control laws.

gun with box ammunition of bullets

Source: Freepik

Judges have ruled against several state laws, including those on handgun safety features, magazine limits, and assault weapon bans. These rulings are currently being appealed.


National Gun Control Advocacy

Major national gun control advocacy groups have been cautious about supporting Newsom’s constitutional amendment strategy.

A table and wall with many guns, including Remington guns.

Source: Thomas Tucker/Unsplash

Organizations like Everytown for Gun Safety and Brady: United Against Gun Violence have focused more on legislative efforts and public awareness campaigns.


Future Prospects

Newsom’s team plans to reinvigorate the campaign in 2025 when most state legislatures reconvene.

Gavin Newsome pictured standing during a speech

Source: Getty Images

They hope that the groundwork laid over the past year will lead to more states joining the effort to pass the 28th amendment.


Watching What Happens

While Newsom’s campaign for a 28th amendment faces significant challenges and uncertain support, it has succeeded in raising awareness and mobilizing grassroots efforts.

macro shot of gun isolated in white background

Source:, Freepik

The next few years will be important in determining whether this ambitious proposal can gain the necessary momentum to succeed.