SAN DIEGO (AP) — A new California bill would allow private citizens to sue gun manufacturers the same way Texas allows them to target abortion providers.
Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday backed legislation that would allow private citizens to enforce the state’s ban on assault weapons. It is modeled after a Texas law that allows private citizens to enforce that state’s abortion ban once a fetal heartbeat is detected.
Newsom said he hopes the proposal will force the U.S. Supreme Court’s hand over Texas abortion law. He said it would expose their “hypocrisy” if they blocked California’s proposal that affects the gun industry and not Texas’ abortion law.
“Or it will cause them to reconsider the absurdity of their previous decision,” Newsom said, adding, “There is no principle that the Supreme Court of the United States cannot uphold this California law. Nothing. Period full stop It’s literally modeled after the law they just enforced in Texas.
Texas and other conservative-run states have tried for years to ban abortions once a heartbeat is detected, around six weeks into the pregnancy, which is sometimes before the person knows ‘she is pregnant. But attempts by states have been blocked by the courts.
But Texas’ new abortion law is unique in that it prevents the government from enforcing the law. The idea is that if the government cannot enforce the law, it cannot be sued to block it in court. That hasn’t stopped abortion providers from trying to block the law. But so far, the conservative majority on the US Supreme Court has allowed the abortion law to sit pending a legal challenge.
The move infuriated Newsom and his Democratic allies in the state legislature. California banned the manufacture and sale of assault weapons for decades. But last year, a federal judge overturned that ban. The law is still in effect while the state is appealing the decision.
But the decision inspired Newsom and Democrats in the state legislature to copy Texas abortion law, but apply it to gun manufacturers instead of abortion providers.
“Our message to the United States Supreme Court is this: what’s good for the goose is good for the gander,” said Democratic Senator Bob Hertzberg, the author of the proposal. “I look forward to bringing a new bill to the Governor’s desk to take advantage of the advice of the United States Supreme Court.”
Gun owner rights groups, including the National Rifle Association, California Gun Owners and the Firearms Policy Coalition, did not immediately comment.
The proposal responds to fears of some gun rights groups, who opposed Texas’ abortion law because they feared that liberal states like California would use the same principle on guns. fire.
“If Texas succeeds in its bet here, New York, California, New Jersey and others will not be far behind in adopting equally aggressive ploys not only to chill but to freeze the right to keep and carry weapons,” attorney Erik Jaffe wrote in a legal brief on behalf of the Firearms Policy Coalition, a nonprofit group that advocates for gun rights.
The California bill has yet to be introduced in the state legislature. But a fact sheet provided by the Hertzberg office said the bill would apply to those who manufacture, distribute, transport, import into California, or sell assault weapons, .50 BMG rifles, pistols ghosts or ghost gun kits.
Ghost guns are weapons purchased online and assembled at home. They do not have a serial number, which makes them difficult to trace.
The bill would allow people to seek a court order to stop the spread of these weapons and recover up to $10,000 in damages for each weapon, plus attorney fees.
Republican legislative leaders and the California Republican Party did not immediately comment.
The bill is one of four pieces of legislation targeting the firearms industry in California. The other bills would make it illegal to sell assault weapons to children, make it easier to prosecute gun manufacturers for liability in shooting incidents and crack down on ghost guns.
“I have no problem with guns or gun owners,” Newsom said. “I have a serious problem with gun violence.”
Beam reported from Sacramento.