California’s Gavin Newsom Favors Gun Suits Modeled on Texas Abortion Law


California Gov. Gavin Newsom

said he wants to create a path for private citizens to sue gun manufacturers, sellers and distributors in the state, modeling his proposal after the legal framework used in the Texas law that bans abortions past six weeks.

On the heels of Friday’s Supreme Court ruling allowing the Texas law to remain in effect for now, Mr. Newsom said he would work with the Democratic-dominated Legislature and Attorney General

Rob Bonta,

also a Democrat, to draft a proposal.

The bill would allow private citizens to sue anyone who manufactures, sells or distributes assault weapons or ghost gun kits or parts in the state for at least $10,000 per violation.

The state of Texas had used a similar mechanism in an attempt to insulate its abortion ban from legal review, assigning enforcement authority to private civil litigants instead of public officials.

In June, a federal judge struck down California’s 32-year-old ban on certain weapons, likening AR-15 rifles to Swiss Army knives. The ruling was subsequently put on hold pending appeal. Last month a federal appeals court upheld the state’s ban on high-capacity magazines.

“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,” Mr. Newsom said in a statement Saturday.

Mr. Newsom’s office, which laid out the proposal Saturday evening, didn’t provide additional details including timing for a bill or whether legislative leaders or Mr. Bonta had signed on in support. Mr. Bonta, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and Senate leader

Toni Atkins

didn’t respond to requests for comment.

As the Supreme Court weighs protections for abortion, Mr. Newsom and other state leaders have said they want to make California a sanctuary for women from out of state who are seeking to end their pregnancies, which could include paying for abortions and other related costs.

Write to Christine Mai-Duc at

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