New California Law Lets People Sue Their Local Gun Manufacturer

The new law, signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on Friday, deliberately mimics Texas's abortion ban that's enforced by citizens suing each other.

New California Law Lets People Sue Their Local Gun Manufacturer
California Gov. Gavin Newsom, center, celebrates after singing a gun control law as he is surrounded by state officials including state Sen. Bob Hertzberg, right, state Sen. Anthony Portantino, second right, Attorney General Rob Bonta, third left, and gun violence survivors, Mia Tretta, and Arvis Jones, at Santa Monica College campus in Santa Monica, Calif., Friday, July 22, 2022. Photo:Jae C. Hong (AP)

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed a gun control bill into law on Friday that is modeled on the Texas bounty-hunter abortion ban. The bill allows private citizen to sue anyone they suspect “manufactures, distributes, transports or imports assault weapons or ghost guns,” CNN reported. Under this new law, a person can sue a licensed gun dealer who supplies a firearm to someone under 21 for a minimum of $10,000 per weapon and attorney fees.

The move is calling the bluff of courts who allowed the abortion ban—which is enforced by private lawsuits by civilians who can sue an abortion provider they suspect have violated the abortion ban or someone aided an abortion seeker—to go into effect last year.

“We believe this will be litigated in the Supreme Court and we believe the Supreme Court will be challenged. Because if there’s any principle left whatsoever—and that’s an open ended question—with this Supreme Court, there is no way they can deny us the right to move in this direction,” Newsom said Friday after signing the bill at Santa Monica College, where a 23-year-old man killed five people during a shooting in 2013.

If the Texas abortion law is struck down, the California law would be repealed on January 1 the following year.

California was prompted to address gun safety in a novel way after the Supreme Court issued a huge blow to gun control in June. The reactionary conservative wing of the court said the Constitution protects the right to carry a gun in public and opened the door for challenging other gun restrictions. On Thursday, Newsom signed eight bills aiming to curb gun violence, in addition to the one he signed last week making it easier for gun violence survivors and municipalities to sue firearm manufactures.

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

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