By TOM JOYCE
THE CENTER SQUARE CONTRIBUTOR
(The Center Square) — A U.S. District Court judge deemed a California gun control law unconstitutional on Tuesday.
U.S. District Court Judge Roger Benitez determined that Senate Bill 1327, signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom earlier this year, is unconstitutional — an outcome Gov. Newsom welcomed as it puts a spotlight on similar provisions in Texas law.
The law allows private citizens to sue firearms manufacturers. California modeled the law after the Texas abortion bill, known as SB 8. It allows private citizens to sue abortionists and those who aid and abet in abortions.
Judge Benitez blasted the law in his decision, calling the “fee-shifting” provisions an “unprecedented attempt to thwart judicial review.”
“‘It is cynical.’ ‘It is an abomination.’ ‘It is outrageous and objectionable.’ ‘There is no dispute that it raises serious constitutional questions,'” Judge Benitez wrote in the decision. He was quoting Gov. Newsom’s vocal opposition to the Texas abortion law at the beginning of the quote.
This California law would have allowed private citizens to sue the manufacturers for up to $10,000, the same amount allowed under the Texas abortion law.
When the Supreme Court ruled that the Texas law could stay in effect earlier this year, Gov. Newsom called on the California legislature to create a similar law about guns.
In a statement issued by his office following the gun law ruling, Newsom thanked the judge for declaring the bill he signed into law unconstitutional.
“I want to thank Judge Benitez,” Gov. Newsom said in the release. “We have been saying all along that Texas’ anti-abortion law is outrageous. Judge Benitez just confirmed it is also unconstitutional. The provision in California’s law that he struck down is a replica of what Texas did, and his explanation of why this part of SB 1327 unfairly blocks access to the courts applies equally to Texas’ SB 8. There is no longer any doubt that Texas’ cruel anti-abortion law should also be struck down.”
“With today’s ruling, it is hypocritical to let Texas use procedural rules to shield its laws from review and then say that California cannot enact the very same rules in its laws,” his office wrote. “As the Supreme Court has recognized, ‘in the law, what is sauce for the goose is normally sauce for the gander.’”