There’s a saying, “Be careful what you wish for because you just might get it.”
As republicans and anti-choice activists celebrate the recent Supreme Court (SCOTUS) ruling upholding Texas’s abortion ban, California Gov. Gavin Newsome is considering turning the tables by applying the high court’s ruling to “ghost gun” firearms sales.
He tweeted over the weekend:
SCOTUS is letting private citizens in Texas sue to stop abortion?!
If that's the precedent then we'll let Californians sue those who put ghost guns and assault weapons on our streets.
If TX can ban abortion and endanger lives, CA can ban deadly weapons of war and save lives. https://t.co/N5Iur9PEUZ
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) December 12, 2021
He added in a statement:
“I have directed my staff to work with the Legislature and the Attorney General on a bill that would 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. If the most efficient way to keep these devastating weapons off our streets is to add the threat of private lawsuits, we should do just that.”
Newsome taking advantage of the SCOTUS precedent opens the door to making it easier for citizens to sue corporations for a raft of potential offenses, like polluting the environment.
As reported in Salon:
“Legal experts had predicted something like this would be coming after the Supreme Court’s decision to let the Texas abortion ban stand. It’s precisely why some gun rights groups had opposed the Texas abortion law. Even Chief Justice John Roberts had warned it would create a model that others could apply to different issues.”
New York Attorney General Letitia James praised Newsome’s proposal, stating:
“When I heard about that, I said to my team, ‘We need to follow his lead.’ And the reason why that is, is because gun manufacturers and gun distributors in this country are immunized. No liability whatsoever.
“They are the only industry that is protected in this country and given the carnage and given the fact that this is the ninth anniversary of Sandy Hook, I am sick and tired of prayers and individuals whose hearts go out to all of those who have lost lives. We can do something about it.”
“We are reviewing it and talking to California, and so this is a first. The Office of Attorney General Letitia James is looking at that model and I congratulate Governor Newsom.”
The Texas law the SCOTUS upheld creates vigilantes of private citizens by encouraging them to sue abortion providers and anyone suspected of “aiding and abetting” a woman considering obtaining an abortion after six weeks when most women don’t know yet they are pregnant.
However, the Court also ruled that, while the law stands, abortion providers are able to sue some state officials in federal court over it.
To translate, the litigation can continue against some defendants but the practical effect is abortion is still mostly banned in Texas and the public health crisis and havoc continues. #liberateabortion #BansOffOurBodies #abortionisessential
— Fatima Goss Graves (@FGossGraves) December 10, 2021
Image credit: Flickr