California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Saturday he will push for a new law modeled on Texas’ abortion ban that would let private citizens sue anyone who makes or sells assault weapons or ghost guns. Newsom has excoriated the Texas law for limiting women’s access to abortion by allowing people to sue anyone who “aids or abets” one performed after about six weeks, before many women know they are pregnant. Nevertheless, he said the Supreme Court’s decision Friday to let the law stay in effect while legal challenges proceed has opened an avenue for states to circumvent federal courts.
In a statement Saturday evening, Newsom pointed to a recent federal court decision to strike down California’s assault weapons ban. In his decision, a judge compared assault weapons to Swiss Army knives, language Newsom has harshly criticized. “I am outraged by yesterday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing Texas’s ban on most abortion services to remain in place,” Newsom said. “But if states can now shield their laws from review by the federal courts that compare assault weapons to Swiss Army knives, then California will use that authority to protect people’s lives, where Texas used it to put women in harm’s way.”
Newsom said he will work with his staff, the Legislature and California Attorney General Rob Bonta to craft a bill that would let citizens sue anyone who “manufactures, distributes, or sells an assault weapon or ghost gun kit or parts” in California. They could seek damages of at least $10,000 per violation plus costs and attorney’s fees, Newsom said.
“If the most efficient way to keep these devastating weapons off our streets is to add the threat of private lawsuits, we should do just that,” said Newsom, a longtime advocate of strict gun control laws. Legal experts had predicted that other states would try to copy the tactic used in the Texas abortion law, which attempts to circumvent legal challenges by giving private citizens the power to sue. Arguing against her conservative colleagues’ decision to let the Texas law stand, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor had warned their action would “clear the way” for other states to “reprise and perfect Texas’ scheme in the future to target the exercise of any right recognized by this court with which they disagree.”
Read more at: https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article256524466.html#storylink=cpy