While President Biden signed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act into law a couple of weeks, providing modest gun safety provisions, some state legislators have taken matters into their own hands to hold gun companies responsible. California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a law on Tuesday which would allow gun violence victims as well as the state and local governments to sue gun makers for damages, according to CNN.
California already has the strictest gun laws in the nation. Still, this new measure is squarely aimed at hitting the pockets of companies who continue to profit while mass shootings impact the lives of Americans. Assemblymember Phil Ting, who co-sponsored the bill, believes impacting gun companies’ profits “may finally compel them to step up to reduce gun violence by preventing illegal sales and theft.”From CNN:
“Gun violence is now the leading cause of death among kids and teens in the United States, surpassing car accidents. I see no better argument for stronger gun safety legislation,” Ting said. “For far too long, the firearms industry has enjoyed federal immunity from civil lawsuits, providing them no incentive for them to follow our laws.”
In addition, the new legislation will provide $156 million in gun violence prevention grants to support nearly 80 cities and nonprofit organizations in implementing anti-violence programs tailored to their local communities. The new law will go into effect on July 1, 2023. As Politico notes, Newsom also plans to sign more legislation allowing victims to sue people or companies that distribute banned firearms like assault weapons.
“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,” the governor said.
The new laws, including a measure restricting firearm advertising to minors, will meet legal challenges down the road. Executive director of the Gun Owners of California Sam Paredes believes that the bills violate the 1st, 2nd and 14th Amendments.
“None of this stuff, none of the bills that are going to the governor’s desk that he is going to sign pass that [constitutional] test, from our opinion. And I think we will find out in court if our opinion is correct,” Paredes said.