California governor wants similar law in Texas to ban assault weapons

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – California Governor Gavin Newsom on Saturday pledged to allow private citizens to ban the manufacture and sale of assault weapons in the state, citing the same authority claimed by conservative lawmakers of Texas to ban most abortions once a heartbeat is detected.

California has banned the manufacture and sale of many assault-type weapons for decades. A federal judge overturned the ban in June, ruling it unconstitutional and angering Democratic leaders in the state by comparing the popular AR-15 rifle to a Swiss army knife as “good for both home and battle.” The California ban remained in place while the state appealed.

Meanwhile, Republican lawmakers in Texas this year passed a law banning abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which normally occurs around six weeks pregnant. Texas law allows private citizens to enforce the ban, allowing them to sue abortion clinics and anyone else who “helps and encourages” the procedure.

The United States Supreme Court on Friday allowed Texas law to remain in effect while abortion clinics file a lawsuit to block it. The move infuriated Newsom, a Democrat who supports the right to abortion.

“If states can now protect their laws from scrutiny by federal courts that compare assault weapons to Swiss Army knives, then California will use that authority to protect people’s lives, where Texas has used it to. put women at risk, ”Newsom said in a statement. statement released by his office at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Newsom said he had asked his staff to work with the state legislature and its Democratic attorney general to pass legislation that would allow citizens to sue to enforce California’s assault weapons ban. Newsom said those suing could earn up to $ 10,000 per violation plus other costs and attorney fees against “anyone who manufactures, distributes or sells an assault weapon” in California.

“The most effective way to keep these devastating weapons off our streets is to add the threat of private lawsuits, we just should to that,” Newsom said.

The legal battle over Texas abortion law has focused on its unusual structure and whether it unduly limits how the law can be challenged in court. Texas lawmakers have given law enforcement responsibility to individuals rather than state officials.

The case has raised a complex set of questions about who, if any, can sue in federal court, the usual route to challenge abortion restrictions.

Newsom’s gun proposal would have to pass the California state legislature first before it could become law. The Legislative Assembly is not currently in session and is expected to meet again in January. It usually takes about eight months for new bills to pass by the Legislature, except in special circumstances.

State Senator Brian Dahle, a Republican from Bieber, would oppose the plan but predicted that it could likely be passed by the Democratic-dominated California state legislature. He said the proposal was most likely a blow for Newsom to win the favor of his progressive voter base ahead of a possible presidential bid in the future.

“The right to bear arms is different from the right to have an abortion. The right to abortion is not a constitutional amendment. So I think he’s a long way from the base, ”Dahle said. “I think he’s just using it as an opportunity to introduce himself.”

But Saturday night’s Newsom statement is a fulfilled prophecy for some gun rights groups who predicted progressive states would attempt to use Texas’ abortion law to restrict access to guns to fire. That’s why the Firearms Policy Coalition, a nonprofit group that advocates for gun rights, filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court to oppose the Texas law.

“If Texas wins its bet here, New York, California, New Jersey and others will not be far from adopting equally aggressive schemes to not only relax but freeze the right to keep and bear arms. lawyer Erik Jaffe wrote on behalf of the Firearms Policy Coalition.

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