By MADISON HIRNEISEN
The Center Square
(The Center Square) – In response to a Supreme Court decision on Texas’ near-abortion ban Friday, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced late Saturday that he would push for new legislation modeled after the Texas law to allow Californians to sue individuals who manufacture or sell assault weapons or ghost guns.
In a statement, Gov. Newsom expressed outrage over the Supreme Court’s Friday decision not to block a Texas law that allows citizens to sue anyone who “aids or abets” an abortion after roughly six weeks and relies on private citizens for enforcement. Gov. Newsom said if this is the “precedent” the Supreme Court has set for states, then “we’ll let Californians sue those who put ghost guns and assault weapons on our streets.”
“If [Texas] can ban abortion and endanger lives, [California] can ban deadly weapons of war and save lives,” Gov. Newsom tweeted on Saturday.
The governor said he plans to work with the state Legislature and Attorney General Rob Bonta to “create a right of action” that would allow citizens to seek injunctive relief and damages of at least $10,000 per violation “against anyone who manufactures, distributes or sells an assault weapon or ghost gun kit.”
“If the most effective way to keep these devastating weapons off our streets is to add the threat of private lawsuits, we should do just that,” Gov. Newsom said in a statement Saturday.
The governor’s push to pass legislation restricting the manufacture and sale of assault weapons by allowing citizens to sue is a tactic some legal experts had predicted other states would deploy due to the Supreme Court’s decision not to block Texas’ abortion law.
Arguing against Friday’s decision, Justice Sonia Sotomayor told the court that a decision to uphold the law would “clear the way” for more 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.”
In response to Gov. Newsom’s pledge, the Firearms Policy Coalition Law, a public interest legal team that focuses on Second Amendment rights, said in a statement it was expecting lawmakers like Gov. Newsom to model gun laws after Texas’ abortion law. With Gov. Newsom now pushing for the legislature to take action, the FPC said it is prepared to seek litigation “in state courts and then up to the Supreme Court.”
“If Gavin Newsom wants to play a game of constitutional chicken, we will prevail,” the FPC said in a statement.
Still, others praised Gov. Newsom’s pledge and voiced support for his efforts following Saturday’s announcement.
“[Gov. Greg Abbott] signed a
law that incentivizes bounty hunters and vigilantes to exploit Texas’s lax gun laws and
threaten or even kill pregnant women and abortion providers,” Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, a group that advocates to end gun violence, said on Twitter. “Grateful California’s [Gov. Newsom] is proving the logical fallacy of Texas’ deadly and dangerous
Further action on the governor’s legislative push is not likely to take place before Jan. 3, when lawmakers return to session in Sacramento.