Bill allowing citizens to sue over illegal firearms advances in California
California’s state legislature on Tuesday passed a bill that allows citizens to file civil lawsuits against those who traffic illegal firearms in the state.
SB 1327, authored by state Sen. Robert Hertzberg (D) and co-sponsored by Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), will allow private residents to sue any person who manufactures, distributes and transports imported illegal weapons in the state, such as .50 BMG rifles and ghost guns.
Newsom advised his administration to model the new measure on the structure of Texas’s abortion law. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) last year signed into law a measure that prohibits abortions once a fetal fetal heartbeat is detected, which typically occurs six weeks into a pregnancy.
The Supreme Court ruled last December to keep Texas’s abortion law in place.
“This week’s unconscionable act of gun violence is a tragic reminder of the lives that are at stake in this crisis that endangers communities across the country,” Newsom said in a statement.
“Today, the Legislature took an important step towards holding the gun industry accountable for mass shootings in our communities involving illegal firearms and protecting residents, utilizing the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that allowed private citizens in Texas the ability to sue abortion providers,” he continued. “So long as the Supreme Court has set this precedent, California will use it to save lives.”
The new legislation comes after authorities announced they had arrested a second suspect in connection to a mass shooting at a Sacramento, Calif., shopping strip on Sunday that left six people dead and 12 others wounded.
Newsom has recently introduced numerous legislations to combat gun violence and strengthen gun laws in the state, including one that limits the marketing of firearms to minors.
Hertzberg said he is proud to work with Newsom and his administration to bring accountability to gun manufacturers in the state.
“I am proud to be working with Governor Newsom and his Administration to bring accountability to gun manufacturers and others who are flooding our streets with dangerous and deadly weapons,” Hertzberg wrote. “The alarm bells are blaring. We could not have a clearer call for action to stop gun violence than what happened on Sunday at the doorstep of our state’s democracy. The Legislature will act.”