Lawsuit targets California gun law inspired by Texas abortion ban

Gun groups have filed a long-awaited legal challenge against a California gun law modeled after Texas vigilante anti-abortion legislation.

Governor Gavin Newsom explicitly spoke out against the Texas law in July when he signed Senate Bill 1327, which allows individuals to sue manufacturers and distributors of firearms banned in California. The lawsuit filed Monday targets a provision — also modeled after Texas law — that requires those who challenge state gun laws to pay legal fees if the challenge fails.

Section 1021.11 of the Code of Civil Procedure, added by SB 1327, would make attorneys and plaintiffs seeking to challenge gun laws or restrictions “jointly and severally liable to pay attorneys’ fees and expenses.” of the winning party”.

The plaintiffs, including San Diego gun dealer Gunfighter Tactical, the San Diego County Gun Owners PAC and the Second Amendment Foundation, allege in their lawsuit that the law regarding legal fees is unconstitutional and “seeks to suppress litigation related to firearms.

Newsom had called for the legislation after a Texas law was passed that allowed citizens to sue anyone who aids and abets abortions.

“If they’re going to use this framework to put women’s lives at risk, we’re going to use it to save people’s lives here in the state of California,” Newsom said when he signed the bill. “That’s the spirit, the principle, behind this law.”

The law would go into effect on January 1.

In the complaint, the plaintiffs wrote that they were already challenging California’s ban on assault weapons.

“Section 1021.11, however, requires plaintiffs to litigate their assault weapons challenge under threat of a potentially ruinous costs award,” the plaintiffs said.

The plaintiffs allege that the legal fee provision violates the 1st Amendment by designating “the protected activity of gun advocates and seeks to stifle their access to the courts.”

“California enacted this fee-shifting system in response to — and apparently in retaliation for — a similar fee-shifting system that Texas adopted as part of abortion regulation,” the plaintiffs said in the statement. complaint. “But tit-for-tat is not a rational or acceptable justification for classifications in this case.”

SB 1327 was expected to elicit many challenges from gun rights advocates after it was passed. The law would be invalidated if the Texas abortion law on which it is based was also invalidated.

After the Supreme Court declined to block the Texas law in a 5-4 decision in December, some gun rights advocates worried that Texas-style methods were being turned against guns.

Los Angeles Times

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