As the United States grapples with a rising tide of gun violence, with nearly 40,000 deaths this year alone, calls for a new constitutional amendment to restrict gun ownership are growing louder.
Among the proponents of such an amendment is California Gov. Gavin Newsom. However, constitutional law expert Peter Shane warns that while the public may support such an amendment, repealing the Second Amendment, which guarantees the right to gun ownership, would be nearly impossible.
Shane, a professor at New York University, suggests that an amendment clarifying the scope of reasonable regulation could garner significant public support. However, he acknowledges the difficulty of translating this support into congressional votes. He also points out that an amendment would require a two-thirds vote from the House and Senate and ratification by three-quarters of the states, a feat he deems unlikely.
The debate over gun control has been further complicated by a recent Supreme Court decision in the case of New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen. The court urged lower courts to ensure that gun laws align with the nation’s historical tradition, creating uncertainty about what types of regulation are permissible. Despite suggestions for a second Constitutional Convention to modernize the Constitution, Shane believes this would overcomplicate the reform process.
Newsom’s proposed 28th Amendment would introduce universal background checks, raise the firearm purchase age to 21, institute a waiting period for firearm purchases, and ban the civilian purchase of assault weapons. However, the proposal has sparked controversy, with opponents arguing that it would infringe upon the Second Amendment.
Read more at Newsweek.