Stop California Federal Constitutional Convention Resolution SJR 7

Alert Summary

Members of the California State Legislature are seeking to pass SJR 7, which would apply to Congress to “call a Convention for proposing Amendments,” under Article V of the Constitution, otherwise known as a constitutional convention (Con-Con) or “convention of the states.”

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URGENT: On September 6, the California Senate voted 24-11 in favor of gun-control Con-Con resolution SJR 7. The resolution now heads to the Assembly for consideration, and if it passes SJR 7 by Thursday, September 14, it will be fully enacted. Please contact your state assemblyman, and urge him or her to oppose SJR 7 and every other resolution for an Article V convention.

At the behest of Governor Gavin Newsom, California lawmakers have introduced a resolution applying to Congress to call a federal constitutional convention (Con-Con) to propose amendments to the U.S. Constitution, specifically one that would severely neuter the Second Amendment. California legislators must oppose this resolution and any other resolutions applying to Congress to call an Article V convention, which possess the inherent power to amend, revise, or rewrite the Constitution.

Senate Joint Resolution No. 7 (SJR 7) is authored by 28 assemblymen and 23 senators. If passed, it would apply to Congress for “a constitutional convention under Article V” of the U.S. Constitution to propose a constitutional amendment that would enact the following gun controls:

(a) Affirm that federal, state, and local governments may adopt public safety regulations limiting aspects of firearms acquisition, possession, public carry, 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;

(b) 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[.]

SJR 7 comes after California Governor Gavin Newson proposed a “28th amendment” to the Constitution via an Article V convention to impose the same types of gun control. This resolution illustrates the danger of a Con-Con, particularly that the Left supports a Con-Con and would use one to curtail our God-given freedoms.

Furthermore, any Article V convention could lead to a runaway convention that would reverse many of the Constitution’s limitations on government power and interference. In other words, a Con-Con could accomplish the same goals that many of its conservative advocates claim to be fighting against. As evidence, both a 2016 and 2023 Convention of States (COS) controlled simulation resulted in amendments massively increasing the federal government and expanding its spending powers.

The late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia understood the danger of a constitutional convention. While he voiced support for one at a 1979 event, the justice had reversed his opinion by 2014 due to the uncertainty of what could come out of it. In 2015, Scalia reiterated his opposition to an Article V convention, stating “this is not a good century to write a constitution.” Furthermore, what kind of delegates would California send to such a convention? Constitutionalist conservatives or leftist Democrats?

On December 9, 2021, constitutionalist U.S. Representative Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), warning against a Con-Con, tweeted:

Show me a single state where Constitutionalists comprise a majority of the state legislature.

At this point in history, an Article V Convention of the States would be a disaster.

In 1979, then-U.S. Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona, correctly warned about an Article V convention:

If we hold a constitutional convention, every group in the country — majority, minority, middle-of-the-road, left, right, up, down — is going to get its two bits in and we are going to wind up with a constitution that will be so far different from the one we have lived under for 200 years that I doubt that the Republic could continue.

In addition to its unpredictable nature, an Article V convention also threatens U.S. national security. In 1984, when the U.S. was only two states away from Congress calling a federal constitutional convention under the guise of proposing a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, former U.S. Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird wrote an op-ed warning of the perils convening a convention. Secretary Laird correctly noted that such a convention’s “scope and authority aren’t defined or limited by the Constitution.” Of the implications of holding such a convention, Laird warned:

If a convention were called, our allies and foes alike would soon realize the new pressures imposed upon our republic. The mere act of convening a constitutional convention would send tremors throughout all those economies that depend on the dollar. It would undermine our neighbors’ confidence in our constitutional integrity and would weaken not only our economic stability but the stability of the free world. That’s a price we cannot afford.

Both Goldwater and Laird considered an Article V Convention threatening to the continuity of the United States’ republican form of government. It would be foolhardy and downright reckless to disregard these and other legitimate concerns.

An Article V convention possesses the inherent power to propose any changes to the U.S. Constitution, including drafting and proposing an entirely new “modern” (i.e., socialist) constitution. Instead, the California State Legislature should consider Article VI and nullify unconstitutional laws.

Furthermore, state lawmakers should also consider rescinding any and all previously passed Article V convention applications to Congress, regardless of the desired amendment(s). Passing rescission resolutions will help prevent aggregating past Article V convention applications with those from other states to force Congress to call a convention.

Above all, urge your state assemblyman and senator to oppose SJR 7 and all other pro-Article V convention resolutions and to instead consider nullification as a safe and constitutional means to limit government.

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Contact your state legislators

Please help stop all Con-Con applications in California, including SJR 7, by contacting your state legislators. Urge them to oppose an Article V constitutional convention and to vote against all resolutions calling for one. Inform them of the dangers of a Con-Con and of the benefits of enforcing the existing Constitution as written.

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