California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has gained inspiration from Texas’ controversial heartbeat law that essentially bans abortions around six weeks gestation, but Newsom’s proposed plans are sure to make conservatives nervous.
The Democratic governor announced over the weekend his intentions to model a law after the Texas Heartbeat Act. But rather than curb abortion in his state, Newsom — who recently pledged to make California a “sanctuary” state for abortion pending Roe is overturned — is setting his sights on firearms.
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Newsom said Saturday he plans to give private citizens the power to sue to try to ban the sale and production of “assault weapons” in California, NPR reported.
The governor released a strongly worded statement Saturday in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s rejection of the Biden administration’s attempt to block the Texas law from taking effect.
As CBN News previously reported, the Supreme Court ruled Friday that Texas abortion providers can sue in lower courts to attempt to block the law, but that the law itself will remain in effect.
The opinion by Justice Gorsuch stresses “the ultimate merits question” of whether the Texas law is constitutional “is not before the Court.” The ruling simply allows the clinics’ lawsuit to go forward in the lower courts. The law remains in place for now.— SCOTUSblog (@SCOTUSblog) December 10, 2021
“The opinion by Justice Gorsuch stresses ‘the ultimate merits question’ of whether the Texas law is constitutional ‘is not before the Court.'” the SCOTUS Blog tweeted Friday. “The ruling simply allows the clinics’ lawsuit to go forward in the lower courts. The law remains in place for now.”
Newsom is “outraged” by the court’s approach to the Texas law — and said as much in his Saturday statement.
“I am outraged by yesterday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing Texas’s ban on most abortion services to remain in place, and largely endorsing Texas’s scheme to insulate its law from the fundamental protections of Roe v. Wade,” he said. “But if states can now shield their laws from review by the federal courts that compare assault weapons to Swiss Army knives, then California will use that authority to protect people’s lives, where Texas used it to put women in harm’s way.”
Newsom then revealed that he has directed staff to work on a bill that would mirror the Texas law and “create a right of action allowing private citizens to seek injunctive relief, and statutory damages of at least $10,000 per violation plus costs and attorney’s fees, against anyone who manufactures, distributes, or sells an assault weapon or ghost gun kit or parts in the State of California.”
These proposals seem to directly mirror the Texas abortion law, which gets around the normal method of waging legal challenges. Rather than holding state officials responsible to enforce laws, Texans are empowered to sue abortion doctors and those who assist in the abortion process, as Reuters noted.
It seems California, too, will appeal to the use of private lawsuits in the pursuit of gun crackdowns.
The move isn’t entirely surprising, considering some speculated other states might use the Texas abortion blueprint to curb gun use, among other issues and rights.
While much remains unsettled, one fact is for certain: the battle over the Texas law is nowhere near over.
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