Newsom Threatens Texas-Style Private Lawsuits Against Makers of ‘Ghost Guns, Assault Weapons’

It’s unclear whether Newsom will follow through on his threat. (Photo: Gavin Newsom Facebook)

California Gov. Gavin Newsom threatened last week to enact a law that would allow private citizens to seek injunctive relief against anyone who makes or sells “an assault weapon or ghost gun kit or parts in the State of California.”

The move comes in response to a Supreme Court decision allowing a Texas law to stand that permits private citizens to sue abortion providers. As many on the Left promised to do if the Court failed to block the Texas law, Newsom is attempting to use Texas’ pro-life strategy to target gun rights.

“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,” Newsom said in a statement. “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.”

The gun rights community has slammed the move as more of a political stunt than a serious attempt to curb gun-related violence. In an email to GunsAmerica, Second Amendment Foundation founder Alan Gottlieb called the “scheme” a “dead-bang loser for Gavin Newsom.”

Gottlieb does not believe such a law would stand up in court, and sees the statement as a “ploy to intimidate SCOTUS to throw the Texas abortion law out.”

SEE ALSO: 9th Circuit Upholds California’s Ban on ‘Large-Capacity’ Magazines 

The National Rifle Association also blasted the move as a “stunt.”

“Gov. @GavinNewsom misunderstands the actions of the Supreme Court – and the limits of his war on lawful gun ownership. His promise to run roughshod over the Second Amendment is little more than political theater,” the organization posted on Twitter. “He and fellow Democrats should proceed at their own peril: the American people will not tolerate another taxpayer-funded assault on constitutional freedom.”

It’s unclear precisely how far Newsom’s law would extend, and the governor’s office has offered little additional detail. His statement seems to suggest that private citizens would be able to sue both companies that make “ghost gun” kits and all other companies that manufacture parts for “assault weapons.”

Many companies that manufacture parts for AR-15s and other semi-automatic rifles could not survive a series of lawsuits that are each attached to a $10,000 fine. Newsom’s law could end the sale of all AR-15 parts in the state, since virtually all those parts could also be used in rifles the state has designated as “assault weapons.”

In its hearing of the Texas abortion law case, liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor warned that the scheme would be used to target other “constitutional rights.”

“The Court clears the way for States to reprise and perfect Texas’ scheme in the future to target the exercise of any right recognized by this Court with which they disagree,” she wrote.

SEE ALSO: California Adds ‘Unfinished Frames or Receivers’ to List of Items Confiscated After Red Flag Order

The gun-rights community has also expressed concern. The pro-gun Firearms Policy Coalition filed a brief with the Supreme Court in support of abortion providers because they feared exactly what Newsom is threatening to do.

“If Texas’s scheme for postponing or evading federal judicial review is successful here, it will undoubtedly serve as a model for deterring and suppressing the exercise of numerous constitutional rights,” Erik S. Jaffe, a lawyer for the group, wrote in the brief. “New York is already experimenting with private enforcement of anti-gun laws and will no doubt gladly incorporate the lessons of this case to insulate its future efforts to suppress the right to keep and bear arms.”

In order to follow through on his threat, Newsom would likely need to support of the legislature, where Democrats hold a supermajority.

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About the author: Jordan Michaels has been reviewing firearm-related products for over six years and enjoying them for much longer. With family in Canada, he’s seen first hand how quickly the right to self-defense can be stripped from law-abiding citizens. He escaped that statist paradise at a young age, married a sixth-generation Texan, and currently lives in Tyler. Got a hot tip? Send him an email at jordan@gunsamerica.com.

{ 9 comments… add one }
  • KMacK December 17, 2021, 2:08 pm

    As a California resident (who has a decent arsenal without legal complications) I can say this: He damn well better not. I suspect he was being dramatic, since such even a PROPSED law like that would cost him his Governorship, especially after he so came down on Texas’ sneaky laws regarding abortion…
    His suggestion of drafting a similar law is probably him blowing hot air (something he loves to do for the Newsies since it gets him free airtime).
    While I admit this state has some truly idiotic anti-gunners, not all of us want to sing “Kum-ba-ya” when someone tries to rob us. While carry permits are difficult to get, once issued they stick… and home invasion robberies here are rather low due to the fact we are allowed to defend house and home.
    So…Governor Motormouth did a “News Spot” for free publicity. Calm down, he does this all the time and nothing happens.

  • John December 17, 2021, 9:24 am

    Newsome thinks that a law will fix anything. Latest new one is that one cannot put food waste in their trash because it causes methane in the landfills. So I guess he will hire a cop to ride in every garbage truck. How exactly are people who live in apartment buildings supposed to do composting? He is advocating more living density also.
    Now he will need to have a cop checking every machine shop like I have in my auto restoration shop.
    All the laws and costs to enforce them and punish the perpetrators were thrown out by Newsome when he released prisoners and some have already committed murder. There is a law making murder illegal isn’t there?

  • D.J. December 17, 2021, 8:40 am

    Is it just me , or does the photo at the head of this
    article look like images we have seen from “ May Day “
    parades in Red Square ?

    • Zupglick December 17, 2021, 9:08 pm

      I don’t know, but Harris looks like she just swallowed something nasty.

  • Rob December 17, 2021, 4:50 am

    Precedent Trump banned a gun accessory by illegal, unconstitutional edict.

    For that, he should have been impeached.

    Although he received massive support from the firearms community, Donald Judas did absolutely nothing validate that support.

    In fact, his gun accessory ban by dictatorial edict and his support for red flag laws harmed the cause of liberty.

    Shame on him.

    It amazes me how many yet view this anti-gun New Yawk con artist as a savior.

    His actions did not match his rhetoric.

    Actions speak louder than words.

    • Robert December 17, 2021, 3:22 pm

      Seems you’re a little bit slow there cupcake. President Trump is no longer president anymore. It’s time to MoveOn snowflake

    • Zupglick December 17, 2021, 9:03 pm

      Trump’s problem is we didn’t educate him.
      Newsom’s problem is he’s an idiot.

    • Kane December 17, 2021, 9:29 pm

      “It amazes me how many yet view this anti-gun New Yawk con artist as a savior.”

      This is how it works. You look at all the cadidates running for office and then you try and find the besy choice. Trump also had that horrible son in law that should never have been part of the administration. Trump was NOT a longtime suppoter of the 2A but how does he look compared to the self soiling corrupt Demshevik that got 13 serivce members blown up “evacuationg” Afghanistan? How are you liking this inflation?

      What did you think of Trump’s position on preventing Soc Sec bureacrats from preventing a person with a rep payee from excersizing their 2A rights.

      How do you like Kamela Harris? How lohg before China kicks Biden’s dentures in? What do you think of the 1619 project? Your post and the many others like it ignores the consequences of losing on principle.

  • Rob December 17, 2021, 4:40 am

    Newsom is a goof, yet name one major gun control repeal/restriction repeal/restoration of rights accomplished by Donald Judas Trump in his four-year tenure as president.

    I will not hold my breath while I wait.

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