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Newsom Signs Bill Allowing Gun Makers To Be Sued
Firearm Store Sales As Biden Announces Restrictions, Including On 'Ghost Guns' California-compliant AR-15 rifles, upper receivers and gun accessories for sale at Hiram's Guns / Firearms Unknown store in El Cajon, California, U.S., on Monday, April 26, 2021. President Joe Biden's planned executive actions would crack down on "ghost guns," which can be assembled from kits and are not traceable by law enforcement because they lack serial numbers, as well as braces for pistols that make firearms more stable and accurate. Photographer: Bing Guan/Bloomberg via Getty Images Bloomberg / Contributor
Photographer: Bing Guan/Bloomberg/Contributor via Getty Images

Democratic Governor of California Gavin Newsom recently several gun measures into law, including one on Tuesday that would allow lawsuits to be filed against gun makers.

The law, AB 1594, creates a “firearm industry standard of conduct,” including the requirement to “[e]stablish, implement, and enforce reasonable controls” and “[t]ake reasonable precautions to ensure that the firearm industry member does not sell, distribute, or provide a firearm-related product to a downstream distributor or retailer of firearm-related products who fails to establish, implement, and enforce reasonable controls.”

If a member of the gun industry fails to comply with these standards and others set forth in the bill, they may be sued.

“To the victims of gun violence and their families: California stands with you. The gun industry can no longer hide from the devastating harm their products cause,” Newsom said in a statement, per the Los Angeles Times. “Our kids, families and communities deserve streets free of gun violence and gun makers must be held accountable for their role in this crisis. Nearly every industry is held liable when people are hurt or killed by their products — guns should be no different.”

Newsom also signed two other laws last month, one which aims to crack down on gun advertising towards young people, and another that seeks to place limitations on the ability of citizens to make guns at home. Both of these laws went into effect immediately, while the law regarding lawsuits won’t take effect until July 1 of next year.

Second Amendment Foundation spokesperson Dave Workman said this recent law seems like an “issue that shouldn’t really go anywhere because of the federal statute that prohibits this kind of legal action.”

Sam Paredes, executive director of Gun Owners of California, told The Daily Wire, “There is no question that every gun measure that the governor signs will be challenged in court.”

“It is already legal for people to file a lawsuit against any business, whether it’s a gun-related business or not, if they have committed a crime in the sales and marketing of their guns or the manufacturing of their products,” he said.

Paredes said proponents of the law know that the lawsuits won’t win in court, “but they have a concentrated effort to try to bankrupt the firearms industry by requiring them to defend themselves in court, which, as you know, is a very expensive proposition even when you win.”

Regarding whether the law would even help cutting down on gun violence, Paredes was adamant, saying, “This law would have absolutely zero impact on the criminal misuse of firearms at all.”

Paredes pointed out that all the law does is allow victims “an opportunity to look for a deep pocket to pay for the victimization that they’ve experienced,” and the “deep pocket” is unrelated to the crime. “It’s the manufacturers of lawful products that were misused by a criminal to create victims. So this has zero impact on the reduction of gun crimes in California and nationwide,” he added. 

Speaking of the other two bills recently signed by Newsom, Paredes said that it is legal for a lawful citizen to create one’s own gun in all fifty states. He pointed out that “all of these laws only affect the law-abiding citizens. No criminal will be prohibited in any way, prevented in any way, from manufacturing their own gun out of nothing.”

Paredes said they have already filed a lawsuit against the law cutting down on advertising guns to young people on First Amendment grounds. He added that the attempt “basically wipes out all youth programs that have a shooting component to it.”

Workman at the Second Amendment Foundation said he thinks the law restricting advertising is “going to run into a First Amendment challenge,” noting that a lawsuit has been filed by multiple gun rights organizations, including his group.

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