California Gov. Gavin Newsom endorsed a Democratic proposal to allow citizens to sue their neighbors and businesses to enforce Golden State gun control – modeled after a Texas heartbeat bill that has been praised on the right and reviled by the left.
The pro-life legislation in Texas allows citizens to enforce an abortion ban by suing providers and anyone else involved in helping a woman end her pregnancy after a fetal heartbeat is detected.
“It’s time to go on the offensive with new measures that empower individuals to hold irresponsible and negligent gun industry actors to account, crack down on shameful advertising that targets our kids and more,” the governor said during a news briefing. “This is not about attacking law-abiding gun owners – it’s about stopping the tragic violence ravaging communities across the country.”
Newsom’s announcement follows through on a promise made in mid-December to utilize the legislative tactic to turn the tables on gun control.
According to Newsom’s office, the bill, spearheaded by Democratic state Sen. Robert Hertzberg, “would allow private citizens to sue anyone who manufactures, distributes, transports, imports into the state or sells assault weapons, .50 BMG rifles, ghost guns, or ghost gun kits.”
Jonathan Turley, one of the nation’s leading legal scholars and a law professor George Washington University, said the bill would be “dead on arrival” if written as the governor described it Friday.
“Before you allow citizen enforcement of prohibitions, you have to establish that the prohibitions themselves are constitutional,” he wrote in an essay dissecting the issue – noting that a recent California law barring AR-15s could be struck down, pending the results of an ongoing court battle.
He also noted that the Supreme Court in December ruled it would allow Texas abortion providers to challenge the state law before enforcement begins.
“The same would likely be true for the California law,” he added.
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