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California Gov. Newsom Signs Legislation Allowing Gun Manufacturers to Be Sued For Negligence

California Governor Gavin Newsom has signed a bill that will allow individuals, local governments and the state’s attorney general to sue gun manufacturers over crimes that are committed with their weapons.

The Firearm Industry Responsibility Act will also ban the manufacture or sale of guns that are “abnormally dangerous and likely to create an unreasonable risk of harm to public health and safety in California.”

In a tweet with a video announcing his signature, Gov. Newsom wrote that “irresponsible gun manufacturers and distributors can no longer hide from the mass destruction they have caused in California.”

The governor added that Assemblymember Phil Ting’s bill will allow “victims of gun violence can go to court and hold the makers of these deadly weapons accountable.”

In the video, Gov. Newsom asserted that “nearly every industry is held to account when their products cause harm or injury. All except one: the gun industry.”

Gov. Newsom claimed that this is because the “gun lobby” buys politicians to “shield themselves from liability.”

“Today, California is going to change that. They can no longer hide from the mass destruction that they have caused,” the governor continued.

Assemblymember Ting said in a press release that “while the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) enacted in 2005 shields gun producers and dealers from civil liability when their products are used to commit crimes, there’s an exception to the federal statute, if those companies and sellers break state laws.”

Ting claimed that on those grounds, gun manufacturers break California law by creating a “public nuisance.”

“Gun violence is now the leading cause of death among kids and teens in the United States, surpassing car accidents. I see no better argument for stronger gun safety legislation. I thank the Governor for signing AB 1594,” said Assemblymember Ting. “For far too long, the firearms industry has enjoyed federal immunity from civil lawsuits, providing them no incentive for them to follow our laws. Hitting their bottom line may finally compel them to step up to reduce gun violence by preventing illegal sales and theft.”

In their report, The Hill notes that, “the news comes after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a New York law that made it more difficult to conceal and carry a handgun outside the home, expanding the Second Amendment’s constitutional right to bear arms. The Firearm Industry Responsibility Act is likely to be challenged in court and could be ruled unconstitutional after the Supreme Court ruling.”

Earlier this month, the governor — who is widely believed to have presidential asperations — signed legislation making it illegal to market guns to minors.

Ironically, the governor is also expected to sign a bill based on the Texas abortion law that allows civilians to sue those who those who perform the procedure or help a woman obtain one. If passed, it will allow people to sue gun manufacturers and dealers for “at least $10,000” if their guns were used in a crime that caused “harm or injury.”

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