The move makes California the first state that allows people to sue those spreading illegal weapons for damages.
CALIFORNIA, USA — California has become the first state to allow citizens to sue people who sell or spread illegal guns. The law, signed by Governor Gavin Newsom Friday, is modeled after a Texas lawsuit deterring abortions.
The law allows people to sue anyone making, selling, transporting or distributing illegal guns and so-called “ghost guns,” or guns made at home to avoid tracing.
Under the law, people can sue for damages of at least $10,000 per weapon involved. Some damages are also available against gun dealers who illegally sell guns to people under 21.
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“Our message to the criminals spreading illegal weapons in California is simple: you have no safe harbor here in the Golden State. 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,” Gov. Newsom said.
Newsom called on legislators to pass a bill similar to a Texas law allowing citizens to sue anyone who provides or assists in providing an abortion. The Supreme Court declined to block the Texas law last fall.
“If Texas is going to use this legal framework to essentially outlaw abortion and harm women, all with the Supreme Court’s blessing, California is going to use it to save lives and take AR-15s off our streets,” said state Senator Bob Hertzberg (D-San Fernando Valley), who authored the bill.
A UC Davis study, published this year, said California’s “red flag” law – known as a gun violence restraining order – was used to prevent 58 mass shootings. According to the governor’s office, the new law is meant to bolster California’s gun safety “toolkit.”
RELATED: Study: California’s ‘red flag’ law able to take gun from potential mass shooters
“With these new laws, California is protecting life, safety, and freedom,” said Attorney General Rob Bonta, in part, in a news release. “We have the strongest gun safety laws in the nation, and one of the lowest firearm mortality rates. This is not a coincidence. More guns do not make us safer — laws like these do. Period. 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 also took out a full-page ad in Texas newspapers calling out Gov. Greg Abbott for his policies on abortion and guns.