Gavin Newsom Signs New Gun Control Law Allowing Lawsuits Against Gun Manufacturers

Californians will soon be able to sue gunmakers if they experience harm from their products, under a law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday.

Assembly Bill 1594 specifically authorizes individuals, the California attorney general, or city or county prosecutors to bring civil actions against firearms manufacturers “for an act or omission in violation of the firearms industry standard of conduct ”, according to the legislative summary of the bill.

The law takes effect on July 1, 2023.

In signing the bill, Newsom said in a statement that California stands with victims of gun violence and their families.

“Our children, families and communities deserve streets free of gun violence and gun manufacturers must be held accountable for their role in this crisis. Almost all industries are liable when people are injured or killed by their products; guns should be no different,” Newsom said.

AB 1594 was part of a package of gun control bills sent to Newsom in response to the ongoing crisis of gun violence across the country. The bill, authored by Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, is based on a Texas law that allows private rights of action against those who aid and abet people seeking abortions.

You are likely to face a tough legal challenge.

In a statement, Ting said that gun violence is the leading cause of death among young people in the United States, surpassing even car accidents.

“For too long, the firearms industry has enjoyed federal immunity from civil lawsuits, providing them with no incentive to follow our laws. Reaching their ultimate goal may finally compel them to step up to reduce gun violence by preventing illegal sales and theft,” Ting said.

If challenged, the law would be defended in court by the state Attorney General’s Office. Incumbent California Attorney General Rob Bonta, a Democrat Newsom appointee, said in a statement that there have been more mass shootings this year than there have been days in the year. That’s true, according to the Archive of Armed Violencethat tracks shootings across the country.

“In California, we refuse to settle for thoughts and prayers while innocent lives are lost; we demand and will deliver urgent action, now,” Bonta said in a statement.

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