Legislation called for by Governor Newsom will enable private citizens to hold the gun industry accountable through civil litigation
SACRAMENTO – Today, the California Senate Judiciary Committee passed SB 1327, private right of action legislation authored by Senator Robert Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) and sponsored by Governor Gavin Newsom to limit the spread of assault weapons and ghost guns. Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last December allowing Texas’s ban on most abortion services to remain in place, Governor Newsom directed his Administration to work with the Legislature to propose a measure, modeled on the structure of Texas’s abortion law, to enable private citizens to hold the gun industry accountable through civil litigation for the proliferation of illegal firearms. “This week’s unconscionable act of gun violence is a tragic reminder of the lives that are at stake in this crisis that endangers communities across the country,” said Governor Newsom. “Today, the Legislature took an important step towards holding the gun industry accountable for mass shootings in our communities involving illegal firearms and protecting residents, utilizing the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that allowed private citizens in Texas the ability to sue abortion providers. So long as the Supreme Court has set this precedent, California will use it to save lives.” SB 1327 allows private citizens to bring civil actions against any person who manufactures, distributes, transports, imports into the state or sells assault weapons, .50 BMG rifles, ghost guns, or ghost gun kits. “I am proud to be working with Governor Newsom and his Administration to bring accountability to gun manufacturers and others who are flooding our streets with dangerous and deadly weapons,” said Senator Hertzberg. “The alarm bells are blaring. We could not have a clearer call for action to stop gun violence than what happened on Sunday at the doorstep of our state’s democracy. The Legislature will act.” Senator Hertzberg’s bill is part of a larger legislative package supported by Governor Newsom to strengthen gun laws and protect Californians. In February, the Governor highlighted additional gun safety legislation, including AB 1594 by Assemblymembers Philip Ting (D-San Francisco), Mike Gipson (D-Carson) and Christopher Ward (D-San Diego), which would allow individuals and the California Attorney General to sue manufacturers and sellers of firearms for the harm caused by their products. AB 2571 by Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan (D-Orinda) would restrict marketing of firearms to minors. And AB 1621 by Assemblymember Gipson seeks to further restrict the proliferation of ghost guns. Governor Newsom’s proposed Real Public Safety Plan would create a new statewide gun buyback program to provide matching grants and safe-disposal opportunities to get guns off our streets. The plan also includes additional funding for California’s gun violence research center at the University of California, Davis. California pioneered statewide gun safety protections, approved by voters in Proposition 63, to ban possession of large-capacity ammunition magazines and require background checks to keep ammunition out of the hands of dangerous people. Since assuming office, Governor Newsom has signed multiple bills aimed at reducing gun violence, including strengthening gun violence restraining orders, regulating the sale of firearms and ammunition and accelerating the regulation of ghost guns. The 2021 state budget invested $200 million in the CalVIP program, which supports initiatives designed to break the cycle of violence in disproportionately impacted communities. The budget also provided $11 million to facilitate outreach, education and training efforts related to gun violence restraining orders and $10.3 million for local law enforcement agencies to support the seizure of firearms from individuals prohibited from possessing them.