New law allows Californians to sue gun dealers, collect $10,000

Gov.Gavin Newsom

By JOSH FRIEDMAN

California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday signed a bill modeled after a Texas abortion law that will allow Californians to sue those who make, sell, transport or distribute guns that are illegal in the Golden State — and to collect up to $10,000 in damages for doing so.

After the U.S. Supreme Court in January 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) introduced the legislation, SB 1327, in February. 

SB 1327 will allow Californians to sue anyone who manufactures assault weapons, firearms without serial numbers or .50 BMG rifles in California. Likewise, residents will be allowed to sue anyone who sells, transports or distributes such weapons, or the precursor parts to such firearms, in California.

“You cannot sell or manufacture illegal weapons of war in CA,” Newsom stated in a tweet. “And if you do, there are now 40 million people that can collect $10,000 from you for engaging in that illegal activity. We’re using Texas’ perverse abortion law to actually save lives.”

Newsom said in a video announcement that the law will save people’s lives by going after assault rifles, ghost guns and illegal guns and by creating a right of action for individuals to receive up to $10,000 for taking illegal firearms off the streets. 

“This is a big deal,” Newsom said in the video. “We are challenging the status quo. We’re moving in a direction no other state has moved in terms of the gun safety movement broadly, not just with this legislation, and we feel a deep sense of responsibility to do so. It’s difficult in Washington, D.C. States now need to step up and meet this moment.”