On Friday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) expressed support for Assembly Bill 1594, which would allow residents and local governments to sue firearms manufacturers and Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs).
The bill, according to the governor, was drafted in response to the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Texas’ pro-life bill that bans abortion after six weeks. Part of the Supreme Court’s decision also allows residents to sue providers for performing abortions after the six-week timeframe.
According to Newsom, the proposed gun control bill mimics Texas’ pro-life legislation but is applied to another highly controversial topic.
“If Texas can use a law to ban a woman’s right to choose and to put her health at risk, we will use that same law to save lives and improve the health and safety of the people in the state of California,” Newsom said during a Friday press conference, NPR reported. “There is no principled way the U.S. Supreme Court cannot uphold this California law. Full stop. It is quite literally modeled after the law they just upheld.”
AB 1594 “would allow local governments and survivors of gun violence to pursue legal action in California courts against irresponsible, reckless or negligent gun manufacturers, importers and dealers,” The Sacramento Bee reported.
Assemblyman Phil Ting, one of the bill’s cosponsors, said this is the Golden State’s way of holding the firearms industry accountable.
“With great power comes great responsibility,” Ting told The Bee. “Every industry is held responsible for the products that they sell, except for one, and that’s the gun industry. Here in our state what we hope to do is make that industry accountable for the guns they put on our streets every single day.”
Newsom expressed the same sentiment on Twitter:
Gun industry greed has fueled the gun violence epidemic.
We are unveiling new tools to hold gun manufacturers accountable for the deaths their products cause.
Nearly every industry is held liable when people are hurt or killed by their products – guns should be no different.
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) February 18, 2022
What AB 1594 fails to take into account is the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), which protects gun manufacturers and FFLs from being held liable when their products are used to commit a crime.
Once the product leaves the manufacturer’s facility, they are no longer responsible for how the firearm is used. The same is true for FFLs.
It’s almost as though gun control advocates in California magically “forgot” that federal law trumps state law. When this goes to court – because we know it will – the courts are likely to strike it down under preemption laws.