GUEST PRESS RELEASE: Californians will be able to sue those responsible for illegal assault weapons and ghost weapons
Modeled after Texas abortion law upheld by SCOTUS, California became the first state allowing individuals to sue those who spread illegal weapons
SANTA MONICA — At Santa Monica College, the site of a mass shooting that claimed the lives of six people, including the shooter in 2013, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday signed the nation’s first legislation allowing individuals to prosecute those who are spreading illegal guns as California continues to crawl its gun safety protections.
SB 1327, written by Senator Bob Hertzberg (D-San Fernando Valley), allows Californians to sue those who manufacture, sell, transport or distribute illegal assault weapons and ghost weapons – weapons made at home to avoid tracing – for damages of up to minus $10,000 per weapon involved. The same damages are also available against arms dealers who illegally sell firearms to people under the age of 21. The legislation is modeled after Texas’ ill-advised anti-abortion bill, SB 8, which grants $10,000 bonuses to doctors, providers and others involved in providing lifesaving abortion care.
After the United States Supreme Court refused to block the Texas law last fall, Governor Newsom asked the California legislature to pass a similar bill to add a new tool to California’s gun safety toolkit.
“Our message to criminals spreading illegal weapons in California is simple: You have no safe haven here in the Golden State. As the Supreme Court strikes down reasonable gun safety measures, California continues to add new ways to protect our children’s lives. California will use every tool at its disposal to save lives, especially in the face of an increasingly extreme Supreme Court,” Governor Newsom said.
The Governor spoke at Santa Monica College, the site of a 2013 mass shooting that killed six people, including the shooter. The 2013 shooting involved an unserialized AR-15 type semi-automatic rifle built by the shooter using legally purchased components, a ghost gun that would be put on trial once SB 1327 would be in effect.
“For the sake of our children, this is a common-sense measure to ensure that California’s streets, schools, and communities continue to be among the safest in the nation,” Senator Hertzberg said. after the Governor signed into law SB 1327.
“Today is a momentous day for California,” said Mia Tretta, gun violence survivor and volunteer with Students Demand Action. “SB 1327 will make it easier for victims of ghost gun violence, like me, to help enforce our gun laws. It will save lives by attacking the illegal ghost gun industry.
“While some politicians erect roadblocks or say nothing can be done, here in California we are proving once again that we can take on the gun lobby and protect our communities,” the attorney general said. Rob Bonta. “With these new laws, California protects life, security, and liberty. We have the strictest gun safety laws in the country and one of the lowest gun death rates. It is not a coincidence. More guns don’t make us safer – laws like these do. Period. I am committed to upholding our common sense gun safety laws and keeping weapons of war off our streets and out of the hands of dangerous individuals.
“The continued need for common sense solutions to our country’s tragic history of gun violence is urgent and necessary,” said Senator Anthony Portantino. “This includes SB 1327 – which I am proud to co-author with Senator Hertzberg. I am grateful to Governor Newsom for his partnership on this important bill that will keep our communities safe and improve public safety. of all Californians. If Texas can outrageously use this type of law to attack a woman’s reproductive freedom, we can do the same in California to hold gun runners accountable.”
“Untraceable ghost guns purchased without background checks have fueled gun violence across California and the country for far too long,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action and California resident. “Thanks to the leadership of gun sense lawmakers and the relentless advocacy of our grassroots military, California continues to lead the country in taking vital steps to combat phantom guns.”
California’s gun safety policies save lives and provide a national model for other states to follow. According to the Giffords Law Center, in 2021 California was ranked the number one state in the nation for gun safety. As California tightened its gun laws, the state recorded a gun death rate 37% lower than the national average. Meanwhile, other states such as Florida and Texas, with lax gun regulations, have seen double-digit increases in gun death rates. As a result of California’s actions, the state has cut its gun death rate in half and Californians are 25% less likely to die in a mass shooting compared to residents of other states.
Last month, Governor Newsom announced a record $156 million in gun violence prevention grants through the California Violence Prevention and Intervention Grants Program (CalVIP). The funding will support 79 cities and nonprofits that implement anti-violence programs tailored to the unique needs of their local communities.
A recent study of the Violence Prevention Research Program at the University of California, Davis found that California’s red flag law was used to stop 58 mass shooting threats.
CONTACT: Governor’s Press Office: (916) 445-4571