California Governor Gavin Newsom signed the new legislation on Friday that allows private citizens to take legal action against anyone who manufactures, sells, transports, or distributes illegal “assault weapons and ghost guns.”
Crafted to mimic Texas’ heartbeat abortion bill, the law grants $10,000 in damages per weapon and affords residents the ability to sue someone who illegally sells firearms to people under 21.
The governor initiated this legislation in December 2021, mere days after the Supreme Court ruled that Texas’ heartbeat law could remain.
Newsom also signed several other anti-gun violence laws on Thursday. The provisions include a 10-year handgun possession ban for individuals found guilty of child or elder abuse, a restriction on the number of guns anybody can manufacture without a license, and a requirement that the state justice department examine gun dealers at least every three years starting in 2024.
The Democratic governor has enacted some of the strictest laws and mandates in the country, generally speaking, and is proud of it.
To drive his point home, the signing of the measure took place at Santa Monica College, the scene of a 2013 tragedy in which a shooter killed five people using an AR-15 rifle that had been assembled from parts bought legally. The new law would have made that firearm illegal.
In the press release he stated:
“Our message to the criminals spreading illegal weapons in California is simple: you have no safe harbor here in the Golden State. While the Supreme Court rolls back reasonable gun safety measures, California continues adding new ways to protect the lives of our kids. California will use every tool at its disposal to save lives, especially in the face of an increasingly extreme Supreme Court.”
Lawsuits challenging the new law are expected to surface quickly.
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