Anti-gun Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom has thrown his political weight behind a bill that will allow California residents to sue gun makers and retailers; legislation based on a Texas abortion statute upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court that allows citizens to sue abortion providers, according to Action News.
The measure was introduced by California State Sen. Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys), according to Politico.
At a press conference, Newsom told reporters, “If Texas can use a law to ban a woman’s right to choose and put her health at risk, we will use that same law to save lives and improve the health and safety of the people in the state of California.”
Whether it’s a political stunt or a serious effort to work around the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act remains to be seen. His office issued a statement, which may be read here.
Newsom said the gun control legislation is “modeled after” the Texas law allowing abortion lawsuits. Newsom was infuriated by the high court’s ruling upholding the Texas statute in December, and he promised legislation mimicking that law to use against the gun industry.
CalCoast News said the Hertzberg legislation “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.”
During his presser, Newsom was joined by Attorney General Rob Bonta, who declared, “No industry should get a special exemption from protecting their customers, but especially not an industry responsible for the deaths of thousands of Americans every year.
“In 2005,” Bonta continued, “the federal government stripped Americans of the right to hold gun manufacturers and distributors responsible for the damage their conduct causes when their products are used unlawfully – leaving only a narrow exception for such lawsuits. Today, using that exception, we begin the process of restoring these rights in California. AB 1594 requires the gun industry to take reasonable steps to make sure their products are not used unlawfully. If the gun industry ignores this responsibility – one that is common for companies in nearly every industry in the country – this bill gives victims and their families an additional legal pathway for holding the firearm industry financially responsible.”
Some observers have argued that such legislation could have wide-reaching impacts on industries other than the firearms industry. Specifically, auto makers could find themselves in the crosshairs because criminals might use cars—owned or stolen—during the commission of crimes that result in injury or death to honest citizens.
Backers expect to get sued, same as the San Jose city government expects legal action for recently voting to adopt ordinances requiring gun owners to have liability insurance, and to pay a fee for their guns. There has already been one lawsuit, and more are expected.