California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom is backing state legislation that would allow citizens to enforce gun restrictions on assault weapons, the same way Texas is allowing private bounties on abortion providers in the state.
A new bill in California would allow private citizens go after gun makers in the same way Texas lets them target abortion providers, though gun advocates immediately promised a court challenge if it becomes law.
Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday backed legislation that would let private citizens enforce the state’s ban on assault weapons. It’s modeled after a Texas law that lets private citizens enforce that state’s ban on abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected.
Newsom said he hopes the proposal forces the U.S. Supreme Court’s hand on the Texas abortion law. He said it will either expose their “hypocrisy” if they should block California’s proposal that affects the gun industry and not the Texas law on abortion, “or it’ll get them to reconsider the absurdity of their previous decision.”
“There is no principled way the U.S. Supreme Court cannot uphold this California law. None. Period full stop. It is quite literally modeled after the law they just upheld in Texas,” Newsom said.
The Firearms Policy Coalition, an advocacy group, pledged a court challenge should the California bill become law.
The proposed firearm restrictions are “really just modern-day Jim Crow laws designed to suppress the exercise of human rights the tyrants who run California don’t like,” the group said, promising to “litigate wherever needed to protect the rights and property of peaceable gun owners in California.”
The group and Assembly Minority Leader James Gallagher, a Republican, said Newsom is trying to distract from failing policies elsewhere that recently have prompted falling polling numbers.
“California already has the strictest gun laws in the nation, so it’s not clear what Governor Newsom is hoping to accomplish here besides a sad publicity stunt,” Gallagher said in a statement.
Texas and other conservative-led states have tried for years to ban abortions once a heartbeat is detected, at around six weeks of pregnancy, which is sometimes before the person knows they are pregnant. But the states’ attempts have been blocked by the courts.
But Texas’ new abortion law is unique in that it bars the government from enforcing the law. The idea is if the government can’t enforce the law, it can’t be sued to block it in court. That hasn’t stopped abortion providers from trying to block the law. But so far, the U.S. Supreme Court’s conservative majority has allowed the abortion law to stay in place pending a legal challenge.
That decision incensed Newsom and his Democratic allies in the state Legislature. California has banned the manufacture and sale of assault weapons for decades. But last year, a federal judge overturned that ban. The law is still in place while the state appeals the decision.
But the decision inspired Newsom and Democrats in the state Legislature to copy Texas’ abortion law, but make it apply to gun makers instead of abortion providers.
“Our message to the United States Supreme Court is as follows: What’s good for the goose is good for the gander,” said Democratic state Sen. Bob Hertzberg, the author of the proposal. “I look forward to rushing a new bill to the governor’s desk to take advantage of that United States Supreme Court guidance.”
Personally this is a great idea, and I'd like to see states like New York and Illinois follow up with similar proposals. Democrats?
More of this, please.