Newsom to Apply Texas Abortion Law Enforcement Mechanism to Curb ‘Assault Weapons’ Sales

Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks at Universal Studios Hollywood in Universal City, Los Angeles, Calif., June 15, 2021. (Mario Anzuoni/Reuters)

California governor Gavin Newsom (D.) is strategizing to use the enforcement mechanism of a recently enacted Texas abortion law, which the Supreme Court allowed to survive on Friday, to curb the sale and circulation of “assault weapons” in the state.

On Saturday, Newsom said in a press release that the governor’s office would work with the legislature and attorney general to create a bill that would empower private citizens to sue for at least $10,000 “anyone who manufactures, distributes, or sells an assault weapon or ghost gun kit or parts in the State of California.”

“If the most efficient way to keep these devastating weapons off our streets is to add the threat of private lawsuits, we should do just that,” he noted.

In June, a federal judge reversed a ban on the manufacture and sale of certain “assault weapons” in California, arguing it was unconstitutional and triggering the outrage of anti-gun advocates when he said an AR-15 rifle was “good for both home and battle.”

Newsom’s statement came after the Supreme Court allowed Texas’s heartbeat law, which prohibits abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, to remain in effect, although it also allowed legal challenges against it to proceed in court. That measure includes a novel provision, which Newsom’s gun initiative takes influence from, that leaves enforcement to private individuals rather that state officials to sue medical practitioners who perform and those who aid or abet an abortion.

“But if states can now shield their laws from review by the federal courts that compare assault weapons to Swiss Army Knives, then California will use that authority to protect people’s lives, where Texas used it to put women in harm’s way,” Newsom said Saturday.

“SCOTUS is letting private citizens in Texas sue to stop abortion?! If that’s the precedent then we’ll let Californians sue those who put ghost guns and assault weapons on our streets,” Newsom said in a different tweet Saturday.

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