California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday proposed a 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution in what he describes as an effort to end America’s gun violence crisis.
“The gun lobby says we can’t stop the carnage America now experiences every day without violating the 2nd Amendment – that thoughts and prayers are the best we can do… that’s a lie,” Newsom said in a statement.
The amendment “permanently enshrines” four gun measures that Newsom claims have broad support.
This includes raising the minimum age to purchase a firearm to 21. “Because if you can’t buy a beer, you shouldn’t be able to buy a gun,” Newsom said in a video posted to YouTube.
It would also mandate universal background checks, institute “reasonable” waiting periods for all gun purchases, and ban civilians from buying assault rifles.
“Those weapons of war our founding fathers never foresaw,” Newsom said.
A constitutional amendment requires a two-thirds majority vote in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate, or by a constitutional convention called for by two-thirds of the state legislatures, the National Archives website states.
The amendment must then be ratified by three-fourths of the state legislatures or three-fourths of conventions called in each state for ratification.
Newsom said he plans to try to win approval from other states rather than Congress, though Republicans hold more power in statehouses across the country.
As of early May, the U.S. was on a record pace for mass killings, according to a database maintained by The Associated Press and USA Today in a partnership with Northeastern University. The database counts killings involving four or more fatalities, not including the perpetrator, the same standard as the FBI, and tracks a number of variables for each.
There have been 26 mass killing incidents so far this year, the most in any year so far during the period for which data has been compiled. Those incidents left 131 people dead.
“There’s not a parent out there, not one parent, you included, that doesn’t think about these things when you send your kids to school,” Newsom told NBC.
Newsom said he will work with supporters, elected and civic leaders and diverse coalitions to push for resolutions on the amendment to be passed in other state legislatures. He said he believes he can be successful because a majority of Americans say they want stricter gun laws.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.