by Photo by Sarah Berjan

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill that allows individuals, local governments, and the state’s Attorney General to sue those spreading illegal guns, the first of its kind in the nation. 

Authored by Sen. Bob Hertzberg (D-San Fernando Valley), SB 1327 allows Californians to sue those making, selling, transporting, or distributing illegal assault weapons, unserialized and unserialized firearms, commonly known as ghost guns. The legislation is modeled after Texas’ anti-abortion bill, SB 8, which places $10,000 bounties on doctors, providers, and others involved in providing abortion care.

The bill allows individuals to sue for damages of at least $10,000 per weapon involved, according to Newsom's office. The same damages are also available against gun dealers who illegally sell firearms to those under 21 years of age. 

“For the sake of our children, this is a common sense step toward ensuring California streets, schools, and communities continue to be among the safest in the nation,” Senator Hertzberg said after the Governor signed SB 1327 into law.

The bill has received criticism from the American Civil Liberties Union, calling it an “attack on the constitution—– in a proxy battle meant to deter the United States Supreme Court from upholding a virtually identical law enacted in Texas to rescind abortion rights”.

“No worthy motive and no permissible goal can justify such a radical and dangerous assault on our constitutional structure. Replicating the reprehensible Texas model only serves to legitimize and promote it, as evidenced by the copycat measures already enacted in some states, with many more pending around the country,” the ACLU wrote in a letter of opposition. 

In June, Newsom announced $156 million in gun violence prevention grants as part of the California Violence Intervention and Prevention Grant Program (CalVIP). The funding supports 79 cities and nonprofit organizations that implement anti-violence programs.

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