By JOSH FRIEDMAN
California Gov. Gavin Newsom has announced new legislation modeled after a Texas abortion law that would allow Californians to sue gun manufacturers.
After the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Texas’s ban on most abortion services, Newsom directed his administration to work with the California Legislature to draft a bill that would allow private citizens to sue anyone who manufactures, distributes, transports, imports into the state or sells assault weapons, .50 BMG rifles, ghost guns or ghost gun kits. Sen. Robert Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) is introducing the bill in the state Senate, the governor and senator jointly announced on Friday.
“In a just world, a woman’s right to choose would be sacrosanct, and California’s people would be protected from ghost guns and assault weapons,” Hertzberg said in a statement. “Sadly, a misguided Supreme Court decision has turned common sense on its head. With this bill, we take advantage of the court’s flawed logic to protect all Californians and save lives.”
The bill, also known as AB 1594, was co-authored by Assemblymen Philip Ting (D-San Francisco), Mike Gipson (D-Carson) and Christopher Ward (D-San Diego). AB 1594 would allow individuals and the California attorney general to sue manufacturers and sellers of firearms for harm caused by their products.
In 2005, Congress passed a law that protects gun manufacturers and dealers from civil suits when crimes are committed using the guns they produce. AB 1594 makes use of an exemption to the federal law that allows gunmakers or sellers to be sued for violations of state laws relating to the sale or marketing of firearms, according to Newsom’s office.
The bill modeled after the Texas abortion law is being introduced as part of a package of new gun legislation in California. Also part of the legislative package, AB 2571 would ban the marketing of certain categories of weapons to children, and AB 1621 would tighten ghost gun restrictions in California.
“California will continue to lead the fight to end gun violence with bold action to tackle the national crisis putting millions of Californians at risk,” Newsom said in a statement. “It’s time to go on the offensive with new measures that empower individuals to hold irresponsible and negligent gun industry actors to account, crack down on shameful advertising that targets our kids and more. This is not about attack law-abiding gun owners — it’s about stopping the tragic violence ravaging communities across the country.”