The governor of California, Gavin Newsom – who, I might add, has set his ultimate aim at the White House – has put himself in the spotlight again, this time with his plan for more gun control in his state.
This comes on the heels of his announcement last week that he wants to make California a “sanctuary” for women who want abortions, in anticipation of a potential reversal of Roe v. Wade and in response to the new Texas abortion law, which the Supreme Court let stand.
Under that law, private citizens can file civil suits against abortion providers. Newsom announced that he wants to have California do the same, but apply it to gun control.
Long opposed to guns and their ownership, and despite California’s already tough gun ownership laws and gun bans, Newsom announced that California will use the Texas concept of using the courts, this time to rid the state of guns, primarily “assault weapons.” He announced that he will work with state legislators to come up with a plan for a new assault weapons law that would allow private citizens to use the courts to “enforce” it.
Newsom’s proposal would allow state residents to sue for damages of up to $10,000 per violation of the gun ban plus attorney fees “against anyone who manufactures, distributes or sells an assault weapon or ghost gun kit or parts” in the state.
In addition to announcing the proposal, the governor added, “If the most efficient way to keep these devastating weapons off our streets is to add the threat of private lawsuits, we should do just that.”
Needless to say, the announcement opened a landslide of discussion in the media. There are questions about the constitutionality of the decision as well as how it would work and ultimately what it would do the burden on the courts, which are already dealing with enormous caseloads.
One aspect of the issue is the constitutionality of such a move. As reported in the East Bay Times, Berkeley Law School dean and constitutional law expert Erwin Chemerinsky commented on that.
He said the Texas law deals with a constitutional right. The California proposal does not, because the Court has never ruled that such gun activities are “constitutional rights.” There is no constitutional right to an assault weapon, the argument goes, so California is well within its right to establish such a law.
He added that such a law is not violating the Constitution but “is seeing where exactly those constitutional rights lie and testing those boundaries, which states always do.”
California has banned the manufacture and sale of assault style weapons for decades. In June, a federal judge overturned the ban, but it remains in place while an appeal works its way through the courts.
In addition to the discussions in the media, the reaction from gun rights/Second Amendment rights groups was vehement and prompt. The NRA called Newsom’s idea a “political gun control stunt – political theatre.” They called it another move to have taxpayers fund assaults on the Constitution and freedom. The implication was that Newsom is using the move to pad his credentials as a future political candidate. Never forget that his long-term goal is Washington.
Another of the organizations to react was the Firearms Policy Coalition. It’s a nonprofit group based in Sacramento (California’s capital) that works to increase gun ownership rights. Attorney Erik Jaffe said, “If Texas prevails in its law, other states, including California will copy it to freeze our rights to keep and bear arms.”
As part of its response, the group said it expected “tyrants like Gavin Newsom” to use the Texas model as a way to attack “fundamental human rights” surrounding gun ownership. In its press release, the group said it is “prepared to litigate against Newsom’s law. If Gavin Newsom wants to play a game of constitutional chicken, we will prevail.”
That attitude leaves no room for doubt as to where they stand, and I suspect there are other organizations willing to do the same. But given that California has billions in extra money in the coffers from tax collections, it would appear that if Gavin Newsom does get his idea into law, he’s got the money to pay for it, and it could be in the courts for decades.
Regardless of where you stand on gun ownership and use, the whole concept to me is absurd. Why don’t we sue car companies for the accidents and deaths caused by the use of their products? What about the misuse of knives? And drugs? And food? And anything else that can cause harm if misused? We don’t do that for good reason. Yet the anti-gunners put their own definition on the laws and try to eliminate the weapons from society.
I might appreciate their anti-gun efforts if they would apply them to the guns (and drugs) pouring across our southern border, through Mexico and from countries across the world. Those weapons and drugs are bombarding our country, and yet there is barely a word about it and what should be done to stop it. It needs to start in Washington, yet the Biden administration is pretty tight-lipped about what they will do, if anything.
As for our “Border Czar,” Vice President Kamala Harris?
I suspect, it will be a cold day in Hades when American citizens voluntarily give up their right to protect themselves. They are not the ones in the streets. They are the ones who want a safe home and family. As for me, as I always said, no one has the right to tell me I can’t protect myself, my family and my home.
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