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Newsom Signs Bill Allowing Civil Suits Against Gun Dealers, Makers

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed one of two bills allowing private rights of action against gun dealers and manufacturers, taking a swipe at a similar law in Texas that goes after abortion, Courthouse News Service reports. Lawmakers passed two bills involving private rights of action, though Newsom has so far only signed one. Both pieces of legislation were modeled after a Texas law that allows individuals to sue anyone who performs or aids in the obtainment of an abortion. “Our kids, families and communities deserve streets free of gun violence and gun makers must be held accountable for their role in this crisis," Newsom said. "Nearly every industry is held liable when people are hurt or killed by their products — guns should be no different.”


The new law will allow individuals, groups, communities, and others to file a civil suit against a gun dealer or manufacturer that sells or produces a firearm that creates an unreasonable risk of harm to public health and safety, mainly assault firearms and other firearms not allowed under state law. The law also bars guns from being marketed to youth. The American Civil Liberties Union has voiced concern about both pieces of legislation, saying that private rights of action erodes the power of the state has in enforcing state laws and opens a Pandora’s box of such lawsuits. As part of the call to action by Newsom to stop gun violence, lawmakers considered a number of gun control-related measures — increasing background check scrutiny for young buyers, more surveillance at gun stores and ending gun shows at county fairgrounds.