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CA Assembly endorses plan to allow citizens to sue those who provide dangerous firearms

Senate Bill 1327 aims to hold gun manufacturers and those flooding the streets with guns accountable.
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A Texas-style law that enables private citizens to sue “dangerous manufacturers” passed its first-floor vote on Monday by the California Assembly. 

As the first of its kind, Senate Bill 1327, authored by Senate Majority Leader Emeritus Bob Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, and Sen. Anthony Portantino, D-La Canada Flintridge, passed in a 50-19 vote in the 80-member Assembly. The legislation is supported by Gov. Gavin Newsom, to hold gun manufacturers and those flooding the streets with guns accountable. 

According to Hertzberg, the legislation is structured after Texas’ SB 8, which allows almost anyone to sue abortion providers and others who “aid and abet a person obtaining abortion care”. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to block the law last December

“While the Supreme Court recognizes an individual constitutional right to bear arms, it certainly does not recognize a constitutional right to own, manufacture, or sell an illegal assault weapon or ghost gun,” reads a statement from Hertzberg’s office. 

The bill automatically will be invalidated if the Texas law is ruled unconstitutional.

SB 1327 would “create a first-in-the-nation private right of action for citizens to bring a civil action against those who manufacture, distribute, transport, import into California, or sell assault weapons, .50 BMG rifles, ghost guns, or ghost gun kits. It allows citizens to sue for $10,000 on each weapon involved, as well as attorney fees,” according to Hertzberg’s office.

Senators passed a version of the legislation a 24-10 in May. The earlier version was passed at the heels of mass shootings in New York, Buffalo, and Uvalde, Texas. 

Approval of the legislation comes after the U.S. Supreme Court last week broadly expanded those who can carry a concealed weapon in public. The nation’s highest court struck down the New York laws requiring “good cause” to carry a concealed weapon in a 6-3 decision. 

The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department said it will “continue to evaluate this decision and what it means for San Diego County”. 

“We anticipate an increase in applications for Concealed Carry Permits. Any changes to our policies and procedures will be posted on our public webpage,” a department statement reads.   

The legislation is slated to return to Senate next week for a final vote. 

“What we have now is too many shootings,” said Asm. Philip Ting of San Francisco, Floor sponsor for Hertzberg’s bill said shortly before the vote. “This is common-sense gun legislation (and) puts the power back in the people’s hands.”