U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- Anti-gun California Gov. Gavin Newsom has launched a new effort to “empower private citizens to enforce a ban on the manufacture and sale of assault weapons in the state,” according to NPR.
The far-left governor, “outraged” by the Supreme Court’s decision last week on the abortion case in Texas “allowing the state to ban most abortion services,” declared in a news release that he’s already ordered his staff in Sacramento to work with the Legislature and the Attorney General on legislation to create “a right of action” to allow private citizens to sue for injunctive relief, and damages of $10,000 per violation plus court costs and attorney’s fees, against anyone who manufacturers, distributors or retailers who sell a so-called “assault weapon” or “ghost gun kit or parts” in the Golden State.
“If the most efficient way to keep these devastating weapons off our streets is to add the threat of private lawsuits, we should do just that,” Newsom said in a prepared statement.
The Texas law, NPR explained, “allows private citizens to enforce the ban, empowering them to sue abortion clinics and anyone else who ‘aids and abets’ with the process,” while legal challenges will be allowed to proceed against the law.
Newsom’s proposal is to use this same reasoning to attack the Second Amendment rights of California citizens. But this is not going to be a cakewalk through the Sacramento Legislature.
Here is the full text of Newsom’s statement:
“I am outraged by yesterday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing Texas’s ban on most abortion services to remain in place, and largely endorsing Texas’s scheme to insulate its law from the fundamental protections of Roe v. Wade. But if states can now shield their laws from review by the federal courts that compare assault weapons to Swiss Army knives, then California will use that authority to protect people’s lives, where Texas used it to put women in harm’s way.
“I have directed my staff to work with the Legislature and the Attorney General on a bill that would create a right of action allowing private citizens to seek injunctive relief, and statutory damages of at least $10,000 per violation plus costs and attorney’s fees, against anyone who manufactures, distributes, or sells an assault weapon or ghost gun kit or parts in the State of California. If the most efficient way to keep these devastating weapons off our streets is to add the threat of private lawsuits, we should do just that.”
Republican State Sen. Bran Dahle is reportedly ready to oppose Newsom’s idea, calling it a “stunt.”
“The right to bear arms is different than the right to have an abortion. The right to have an abortion is not a constitutional amendment. So I think he’s way off base,” Dahle told NPR. “I think he’s just using it as an opportunity to grandstand.”
The Sacramento Bee noted, “Legal experts had predicted that other states would try to copy the tactic used in the Texas abortion law, which attempts to circumvent legal challenges by giving private citizens the power to sue.”
But just how far can such a law go? Is this simply a strategy to tie up gunmakers, retailers, wholesalers and gunsmiths in legal tangles, costing them millions of dollars?
The Sacramento Bee pointed to Justice Sonya Sotomayor’s warning that the court ruling on the Texas law would “clear the way” for other states to follow the Lone Star State strategy for targeting other rights. Newsom appears to be unabashedly doing just that.
However, there is another side to this, which other industries, such as automakers, should consider. What’s to prevent Newsom or some future governor and California legislature from encouraging lawsuits by environmentalists to, say, attack the use of gas-powered automobiles in the state?
Perhaps reasons like this are why Jonathan Turley, writing at Fox News, argues the law “won’t work.”
“Legally, that is,” he observes. “It will be hugely successful politically, but not without costs to the state and potential litigants.”
Turley, a Shapiro professor of public interest law at George Washington University, is not given to wild speculation. So, when he says the kind of law Newsom wants would amount to a legal and political disaster, chances are pretty good that’s what will happen.
He calls Newsom’s proposed law “clearly unconstitutional.” That will be up to the courts to determine, but what happens in the meantime?
Perhaps it will be as Turley suggests: “Newsom will seize the moment in terms of popularity while leaving others to bear the costs in later failed litigation.”
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