CA Bill Would encourage Private Citizens to Enforce Assault Weapon Ban

  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom introduced a bill that would allow citizens to enforce gun laws.
  • The bill copies the same style as a Texas one encouraging citizens to sue over illegal abortions.
  • “They set the tone, tenor, the rules,” said Newsom. “We are going to play by those rules.”

California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a new gun control bill at a press conference Friday. The bill mimics the format of Texas’s controversial abortion ban — one that is enforced by private citizens.

The proposed bill, AB 1594, encourages California residents to go after gunmakers, distributors of ghost guns, and illegal assault weapons through civil litigation.

Newsom compared to a similar bill in Texas that bans abortion after the six-week mark and deputizes citizens by allowing them to sue abortion providers who provide abortions after six weeks.

“It’s time to go on the offensive with new measures that empower individuals to hold irresponsible and negligent gun industry actors to account, crack down on shameful advertising that targets our kids, and more. This is not about attacking law-abiding gun owners – it’s about stopping the tragic violence ravaging communities across the country,” Newsom said.

Newsom, a vocal critic of the Texas abortion ban, argued that if the Supreme Court upheld the Texas law, then the proposed California one would have to be upheld, too.

“But they opened up the door. They set the tone, tenor, the rules. And either we can be on the defense complaining about it or we can play by those rules. We are going to play by those rules,” the governor said .

“We’ll see how principled the US Supreme Court is,” he added.

The Firearms Policy Coalition, an organization focused on the “Right to Bear Arms,” ​​released a statement about the proposal: “Newsom’s proposed policies are just modern-day Jim Crow laws designed to suppress the exercise of human rights, increase law enforcement encounters, and incarcerate for non-violent crimes the people that the tyrants who run California don’t like.”

“In a just world, a woman’s right to choose would be sacrosanct, and California’s people would be protected from ghost guns and assault weapons. Sadly, a Supreme Court decision has turned common sense on its head,” Senate Majority Leader Emeritus Robert Hertzberg said in a press release. “With this bill, we take advantage of the Court’s flawed logic to protect all Californians and save lives.”

However, experts expressed concern about these types of bills — which can be used to skirt the Constitution — to Insider’s Kelsey Vlamis, saying that laws that allow citizens to enforce state laws would ultimately lead to “a surveillance state of vigilantism.”

“It’s one thing for the state to tell you to behave, it’s another for your neighbor to tell you,” Jon D. Michaels, a professor of law at the University of California, Los Angeles, previously told Insider.

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