Newsom to Sign Bill Allowing Residents to Sue Over Illegal Guns

SACRAMENTO — On a Saturday night in December, Governor Gavin Newsom of California was so dismayed by the Supreme Court’s decision to allow Texas residents to sue abortion providers that he go straight to social media called for legislation that would allow private citizens to enforce their own state’s gun laws.

It sounded so tit-for-tat that many Californians wondered if he was trying to rise from one of his favorite losers, Governor Greg Abbott of Texas. Others suspect him seriously because it means accepting a bounty enforcement system that he considers legally dubious.

Seven months later, Newsom is not only ready to sign the bill on Friday, but he’s leaning more than ever into his rhetoric against Republicans. He run an ad This month in Florida attacks the state’s Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, a 2024 presidential candidate. He has criticized other states for banning abortion and tore up the Supreme Court for recent decisions. Their recent overturned Roe v. Wade case and gave Americans broad rights to arm themselves in public.

While he has repeatedly asserted that he has no intention of running for the White House in 2024, Mr Newsom’s actions sometimes seem to believe his claims. Florida Advertising – a $105,000 spot More value in free publicity – turning heads in national political circles. His visit to Washington this month and his statement this spring that Democrats have reacted too lightly to the Republican moves.

“I think he realized that Democrats yearn for a hero,” said Kim Nalder, a professor of political science at California State University, Sacramento. “He’s building a profile as a left-hand alternative to the aggressive policymaking we’ve seen by Republicans in recent years.”

No legislation encapsulates Mr. Newsom’s fire-fighting attitude better than the bill co-opted an anti-abortion tactic in Texas to enforce California’s bans on assault weapons and ghost guns.

It aims to bury banned gun dealers in litigation. A reward of at least $10,000 per firearm and legal fees, will be awarded to plaintiffs who successfully sue anyone who imports, distributes, manufactures, or sells an assault-style weapon, rifle. 50mm guns, guns without serial numbers, or firearms usable parts are prohibited in California.

State Senator Bob Hertzberg, a veteran San Fernando Valley Democrat who has been tapped by the governor to craft and run the complex legislation. “We are just saying that no constitutional rights to an AR-15, a .50 caliber machine gun or a ghost gun with a serial number are excluded.”

On Friday, Mr Newsom ran an ad in three Texas newspapers reprimanding Governor Abbott for spending $30,000, according to campaign spokesman Nathan Click. The full-page rampant replaces the word “abortion” with “gun violence” in an Abbott quote about Texas’ abortion law. It also calls gun enforcement legislation “California’s answer to Texas’s wrongful bill that sets bonuses to doctors and patients.” Mr Abbott’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The bill forms the basis of a comprehensive arms restriction package that Mr. Newsom signed this month. The new laws include new limits on gun advertising to minors; increased restrictions on unregistered “ghost guns”; and a 10-year gun ban for those convicted of child abuse or elder abuse.

“It’s time for us to stand up,” Mr. Newsom said at the end of June after the court overturned a New York law, similar to California’s, that severely restricted “public carry-on” permits. He later said that California had anticipated the ruling and that it was amending the state’s law in ways that would compensate for “this politicized and radicalized Supreme Court.” He has 16 gun bills on the table, he said, and he plans to sign them all.

California’s law comes as mass shootings have increased pressure to take action on gun violence, as death tolls have increased this year from Buffalo arrive Uvalde, Texas. Last month, President Biden signed The most important gun violence law to obliterate Congress for nearly three decades, expand the background check system for gun buyers under the age of 21, and spend millions of dollars getting states to enact “red flag” laws that allow the government to temporarily Collect guns from people deemed dangerous.

But the congressional response, capped by a strong gun lobby and deep partisan polarization, is far from comprehensive solutions. many gun violence researchers feel necessary. And the conservative 6-3 majority on the Supreme Court signaled a trend to not only preserve but further expand gun rights.

That has led the Democratic-led states to find their own solution. The search has extended beyond gun violence policies as court rulings have decimated reproductive rights and put LGBTQ protections and other civil liberties in jeopardy. . Increasingly, the mission from the left is being led by Mr Newsom, who has had political capital to spare since last year, when he crush a Republican-led recall.

Dan Schnur, a former Republican strategist who now teaches political science at the University of Southern California and the University of California, Berkeley, says the governor’s motives are easy to deduce: Mr. his California way” was a success, and using a national platform to call on Republicans to help rally voters across multiple media markets within his own vast state .

In addition, Mr. Schnur said, “He’s running for president.”

Mr Newsom has said he has a “deep interest” in the White House. “But being seen as a player on the national pitch will serve him, even if he never runs,” said Mr Schnur. “Mario Cuomo has been playing that game for years.”

California’s gun laws are among the strictest in the United States, helping the state provide one of the countries with the lowest gun death rate. Follow Centers for Disease Control and Preventionand California Institute of Public Policy determined that Californians are approximately 25% less likely to die in mass shootings than residents of other states.

However, California’s gun policies have become strained as conservative federal judges, many of whom are appointed by the Trump administration, take an increasingly hardline stance on Second Amendment rights. .

California’s gun bounty law is expected to face legal challenges that could eventually land on the Supreme Court. The measure won’t take effect until next year and includes a legal trigger that will automatically void if the courts rescind the Texas facility. National Rifle Association and other gun advocates argued that applicable state law provides remedies for the illegal activities of firearms manufacturers and dealers in California.

Similar groups have argued from the outset that the measure’s bounty plan can – and will – limit the Second Amendment, and the American Civil Liberties Union echoed their concerns.

“The problem with this measure is the same as the anti-abortion laws in Texas: a letter protesting California’s law. The group also alleges that the law would “escalate an “arms race” in innovative legal attacks on politically sensitive issues including contraception, gender-affirmative care and human rights. vote.

A recent legislative update by the NRA said that for this and several other gun bills, it has “reviewed all available options including litigation.”

In the meantime, Hertzberg said, Democrats will use all available tools.

“I disagree with the Supreme Court,” he said, “but if Texas is going to use this legal framework to harm women, then California will use it to save lives by illegally bringing out guns. Street.”

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