California Governor Gavin Newsom on Friday signed into law a bill allowing citizens of the state to sue those who manufacture, sell, transport or distribute assault weapons, rifles or non-serialized weapons, modeled after Texas’ recent anti-abortion law.
The new law allows Californians to sue manufacturers and citizens who distribute banned assault weapons or “ghost guns.” Newsom has explicitly modeled the concept on a Texas anti-abortion law and upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, which allows individuals to file legal claims against abortion providers, ‘Politico’ has reported.
“California will be the first state to allow people to sue those who spread illegal assault weapons and ghost guns. If states like Texas can use laws to put women in harm’s way, then California will use that authority to protect lives,” the California governor’s office has detailed in a Twitter message.
The new bill will award whistleblowers at least $10,000 (€9,800) for each gun identified in a lawsuit, whether they are illegal assault weapons, rifles, pistol if serial number, or even those made at home to avoid tracing, as the rule states.
Newsom acknowledged that this law will “probably be challenged” in the Supreme Court, although he assured that “if there is any principle left” in the court, “there is no way they can deny us the right to move in this direction”, since the rule is inspired by another law passed by the U.S. Supreme Court in Texas, although with a focus on the termination of pregnancy.
“This is not a coincidence. More guns don’t make us safer, laws like these do. Period,” California Attorney General Rob Bonta has noted, explaining that he is committed to enforcing “common sense” gun safety laws, according to ‘The Hill’.
However, the law has drawn criticism from some associations, such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) California Action, which warned in May that the measure would set a “dangerous legal precedent: not only would it undermine fundamental principles of due process, but it would eliminate the judiciary as a check and balance,” as reported by CNN.
“We admire and share the governor’s commitment to reproductive freedom, and we don’t object to his legitimate concern about the deadly proliferation of illegal guns. But there is no way to ‘exploit the flawed logic’ of Texas law. No motive is worthy of justifying such a radical and dangerous assault on our
constitutional structure. Replicating the reprehensible Texas model only serves to legitimize it,” the organization added.
The signing of this new bill comes almost a month after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the legal precedent that allowed abortion in the country, Roe v. Wade; and at a time when there is an open debate in the United States on gun control following the successive shootings that have claimed multiple lives during 2022.