Governor Newsom is taking action to hold the gun industry accountable and advance California’s nation-leading safeguards

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A bill introduced today by Senator Hertzberg will allow private individuals to hold the gun industry accountable through civil lawsuits, and AB 1594 would allow individuals and the Attorney General to sue gun manufacturers and sellers

AB 2571 would prohibit the marketing of certain categories of guns to children

AB 1621 would tighten restrictions on ghost weapons

DEL MAR — Along with California Attorney General Rob Bonta, lawmakers and local leaders, Gov. Gavin Newsom today announced a new package of meaningful gun safety laws to expand the state’s leading defenses against gun violence. The package includes a measure the governor called for in December to hold the gun industry accountable through private lawsuits and a law that would ban the advertising of certain categories of guns to children.

“California will continue to lead the fight to end gun violence with bold action to address the national crisis that is putting millions of Californians at risk,” Gov. Newsom said. “It’s time to go on the offensive with new measures that empower individuals to hold irresponsible and negligent arms industry actors accountable, take action against shameful advertising aimed at our children, and more. This isn’t about attacking law-abiding gun owners — it’s about stopping the tragic violence that is ravaging communities across the country.”

Gov. Newsom announces a gun safety package at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, where the sale of firearms and ammunition was banned under a law he signed into law in 2019.

Following the US Supreme Court decision allowing most abortion services to be banned in Texas, Governor Newsom directed his administration to work with the Legislature to propose a measure like the bill introduced today by Senator Robert Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys ) is introduced, modeled after the Texas abortion law. The law would allow private individuals to sue anyone who manufactures, distributes, transports, imports, or sells assault weapons, .50 BMG rifles, ghost weapons, or ghost weapon kits into the state.

“In a just world, a woman’s right to vote would be sacrosanct, and the people of California would be protected from spirit weapons and offensive weapons. Unfortunately, a misguided Supreme Court decision has turned common sense on its head. With this law, we are using the court’s flawed logic to protect all Californians and save lives,” Senator Hertzberg said.

Also included, AB 1594 by Assembly members Philip Ting (D-San Francisco), Mike Gipson (D-Carson), and Christopher Ward (D-San Diego), would allow individuals and the California Attorney General to sue manufacturers and sellers of firearms for harm to sue caused by their product. In 2005, Congress passed the Lawful Trade in Arms Protection Act, which shields gun manufacturers and dealers from civil lawsuits if crimes are committed with the guns they manufacture. AB 1594 utilizes an exception to federal law that allows gun manufacturers or sellers to be sued for violations of state laws related to the sale or marketing of firearms.

“No industry should be given a special exemption from protecting its customers, especially any industry that is responsible for the deaths of thousands of Americans each year,” said Attorney General Bonta. “In 2005, the federal government stripped Americans of the right to hold gun manufacturers and distributors accountable for the harm their behavior causes when their products are used unlawfully — leaving only a narrow exception for such lawsuits. Today, using this exception, we begin the process of restoring those rights in California. AB 1594 requires the gun industry to take reasonable steps to ensure their products are not being used unlawfully. When the gun industry ignores that responsibility — one common to companies in almost every industry in the country — this law provides victims and their families with an additional legal avenue to hold the gun industry financially responsible.”

“We need to make our communities safer. Almost every industry in the United States can be held accountable for what their products do, but the gun industry is not held to the same standard. Financial implications could eventually push them to act more responsibly by improving their practices and complying with California’s strict gun laws,” Assemblyman Ting said.

“The US has less than 5 percent of the world’s population, yet we account for nearly a third of the world’s mass shootings,” said Assemblyman Ward. “This is a public health crisis that the federal government has consistently failed to address. California must act and hold irresponsible, reckless, and negligent gun manufacturers, dealers, and vendors accountable.”

The administration also worked closely with the Legislature to introduce AB 2571 by Rebecca Bauer-Kahan (D-Orinda), which proposes identifying specific categories of weapons, such as semi-automatic weapons or firearms of a specific caliber, that cannot be under not be marketed to minors under any circumstances. Additionally, Governor Newsom highlighted Assemblymember Gipson’s AB 1621 to further restrict ghost guns in California by bringing the state into compliance with a proposed new federal rule that would result in many gun kits and “80 percent receivers” being full firearms and ready-made receivers are functionally regulated. By law, these could not be sold without a serial number or without a background check on the buyer.

“Weapons manufacturers see our children as their next generation of customers and target them with sophisticated and manipulative advertising. The advertising of these weapons is shameless. Children in California are not allowed to buy or own a gun but are promoted across all media including cartoons, video games and social media. I am proud to stand with Governor Newsom on these important reforms – enough is enough,” said Assembly Member Bauer-Kahan.

“Even before the pandemic, stories of gun violence families kept me up at night. My own son and his fiancee were victims… and this problem has only gotten worse. In the community of Watts, which I represent, there were 22 homicides from January to November 2020, almost double the number for the previous year,” said Assemblyman Gipson. “For communities, gun violence is also our wildfire, which we are working diligently to contain. And the victims are our babies, sisters, brothers, friends and acquaintances – all of whom deserve life but have been deprived of their potential. To say that this issue is personal to me is an understatement and sending thoughts and prayers just isn’t enough. AB 1621 seeks to eradicate ghost guns from our streets, and this effort is nothing short of a life-saving, common-sense approach to accommodate families who continue to bear the burden of losing a loved one to incidents that otherwise could have been prevented. We need the sweeping reform that each bill in this package is designed to deliver together – this is wholeheartedly about saving lives, nothing less.”

The governor’s proposed Real Public Safety Plan would create a new statewide gun buyback program to provide appropriate grants and safe disposal options to remove guns from our streets and includes additional funding for the California Gun Violence Research Center at the University of California, Davis.

California pioneered statewide gun safety protections, which voters approved in Proposition 63 to ban ownership of large-capacity ammo magazines and require background checks to keep ammunition away from dangerous individuals. Since taking office, Governor Newsom has signed several laws aimed at reducing gun violence, including tightening gun violence restraining orders, regulating the sale of firearms and ammunition, and accelerating ghost gun regulation. The 2021 state budget invested $200 million in the CalVIP program, which supports initiatives aimed at breaking the cycle of violence in disproportionately affected communities. The budget also allocated $11 million to facilitate awareness, education, and training related to gun violence restraints and $10.3 million for local law enforcement agencies to assist in the seizure of firearms from individuals , whose possession is forbidden.

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