California Law Allowing Private Residents To Sue Gunmakers Takes Effect
January 6, 2023 | Tags: ZEROHEDGECalifornia Law Allowing Private Residents To Sue Gunmakers Takes Effect
Authored by Jill McLaughlin via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),
A new California gun law allowing private citizens to sue manufacturers and retailers for selling banned firearms went into effect this year.
California’s new regulations give private citizens the ability to sue anyone who imports, distributes, manufactures, or sells assault firearms, homemade weapons, ghost guns, or .50 BMP rifles.
The law, Senate Bill (SB) 1327, also restricts the sale of firearms to anyone under 21 years old.
These restrictions are already enforced by California; however, this new law allows citizens to sue violators for at least $10,000.
This is modeled after the Texas Heartbeat Act which allows private citizens to sue anyone involved in providing abortions after a doctor has detected a fetal heartbeat. In that law, citizens can file lawsuits against doctors, clinics, or anyone involved in the abortion.
“California explicitly passed this bill, SB 1327, as sort of a response to Texas’s policy decision,” Attorney Jim Manley, with the conservative Pacific Legal Foundation, told The Epoch Times. “This is sort of a weird way of restricting certain rights by not involving the state in the process.”
The law creates another layer of restrictions for firearms dealers by doubling down on existing California gun bans.
However, firearms deals are not able to challenge SB 1327 because the state has been removed from imposing the restrictions, and instead, individual citizens would be enforcing them, Manley said.
“Assault weapons, .50 BMGs, and firearms being sold to people under 21 were already illegal in California,” Manley said. “And the [law] is explicit in saying this does not change that. This just creates another avenue to enforce those restrictions.”
When California lawmakers first wrote SB 1327, the state did not have restrictions on homemade firearms or ghost guns. But within a month of passing the bill, the state included them.
It’s rare for a state to institute “double enforcement”—with private cause of action laws and criminal penalties—for the same restrictions, Manley said.
The additional layer of restrictions means that even if a judge overturned the state’s criminal restrictions on gun laws, private citizens would still be able to enforce them.
“It’s kind of a weird, convoluted situation,” Manley said.
The new law was first passed by legislators who included a “fee-shifting” provision allowing the state to collect attorney’s fees from anyone who sued over the law. But a federal judge in San Diego blocked this provision in December.
The Gun Owners of California organization was against the legislation, saying the law would create “a legal mess and is designed to bankrupt gun businesses.”
“The judge found [the law] was unconstitutional and he called it tyrannical,” Gun Owners of California Executive Director Sam Paredes told The Epoch Times.
The group doesn’t anticipate the law to be enforced until the legal resolution is completed.
“We’re waiting to see what the state’s going to do,” Paredes said.
The Texas abortion rights law was passed before the Supreme Court issued the historic June 24 Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 precedent that legalized abortion in the United States.
The ruling essentially made Texas’s law moot, said Manley, of the Pacific Legal Foundation.
The California law would be automatically repealed if the Texas abortion rights law is totally invalidated by the United States or Texas supreme courts.