Newsom signs gun law inspired by Texas abortion ban

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(The Hill) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed a bill into law on Friday to allow private citizens to sue those who make, sell, transport or distribute certain illegal firearms, modeled after Texas’s recent anti-abortion law. 

A release from Newsom’s office states that the law will award at least $10,000 per each illegal assault weapon and ghost gun — those made at one’s home to avoid tracing — identified in a lawsuit. Private citizens could also receive at least that amount through lawsuits against dealers who illegally sell to individuals under 21 years old. 

The law is based on after a Texas one that allows private citizens to file lawsuits against those who perform, aid or abet an abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which could be as early as six weeks, before many women know they are pregnant. 

Newsom had originally called on the California legislature to pass a similarly framed law on guns after the court allowed the Texas abortion law to take effect. 

“Our message to the criminals spreading illegal weapons in California is simple: You have no safe harbor here in the Golden State,” he said in a news release. “While the Supreme Court rolls back reasonable gun safety measures, California continues adding new ways to protect the lives of our kids. California will use every tool at its disposal to save lives, especially in the face of an increasingly extreme Supreme Court.” 

The bill follows the Supreme Court’s decision last month to expand gun rights, with the justices ruling 6-3 that the Second Amendment grants an individual the right to carry a handgun outside the home. 

Newsom signed the bill at Santa Monica College, where a gunman killed five in 2013 using an unserialized AR-15 rifle. The shooter built the firearm using legally purchased parts, and the weapon would have been subject to the new law. 

State Attorney General Rob Bonta said California has the strongest gun laws and one of the lowest firearm mortality rates in the country, 

“This is not a coincidence. More guns do not make us safer — laws like these do. Period,” Bonta said in the release. “I am committed to enforcing our commonsense gun safety laws, and keeping weapons of war off our streets and out of the hands of dangerous individuals.” 

Newsom signed a handful of other bills on Thursday in efforts to address gun violence, imposing a range of limits including a 10-year prohibition on individuals convicted of child or elder abuse possessing a weapon and requiring the state justice department to conduct inspections of gun dealers at least every three years starting in 2024. 

Newsom has also taken out an ad in three Texas newspapers slamming Gov. Greg Abbott (R) for his record on guns and abortion. The ad uses Abbott’s words in reference to the Texas abortion law to note how gun violence takes children’s lives every year.

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