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Gun Groups Contest CA Law On Citizen Suits Vs. Illegal Gun Makers

Gun rights groups filed suit challenging a California gun law that emulates a Texas abortion measure by letting private citizens sue illegal firearms manufacturers. The case will test the legal underpinnings of a gun restriction that California Gov. Gavin Newsom framed as a rebuke to Texas and the U.S. Supreme Court. The outcome could affect both California’s gun laws and the anti-abortion law that inspired them, Politico reports. After the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a Texas law deputizing private citizens to sue abortion providers, Newsom announced California would respond by applying the same logic to people who distribute or manufacture classes of firearms that are prohibited in California.

A collective of gun rights groups and individuals say California’s law is unconstitutional because it limits their ability to dispute gun laws. A federal lawsuit objects to a provision in the law requiring people who challenge California gun laws to pay opponents’ attorney’s fees if they don’t prevail. The lawsuit contends that the provision “singles out firearms advocates’ protected activity and seeks to choke off their access to the courts.” Some of the plaintiffs have also sued California to invalidate its ban on assault weapons. While the lawsuit does not explicitly dispute the private lawsuit component of the law, it targets a common feature of California’s gun law and Texas’s abortion measure, which also requires challengers to pay legal fees.

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A daily report co-sponsored by Arizona State University, Criminal Justice Journalists, and the National Criminal Justice Association

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