California Law Allowing Private Residents to Sue Gunmakers Takes Effect

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A new California gun law allowing private citizens to sue manufacturers and retailers for selling banned firearms went into effect this year.

California’s new regulations give private citizens the ability to sue anyone who imports, distributes, manufactures, or sells assault firearms, homemade weapons, ghost guns, or .50 BMP rifles.

The law, Senate Bill (SB) 1327, also restricts the sale of firearms to anyone under 21 years old.

These restrictions are already enforced by California; however, this new law allows citizens to sue violators for at least $10,000.

This is modeled after the Texas Heartbeat Act which allows private citizens to sue anyone involved in providing abortions after a doctor has detected a fetal heartbeat. In that law, citizens can file lawsuits against doctors, clinics, or anyone involved in the abortion.

“California explicitly passed this bill, SB 1327, as sort of a response to Texas’s policy decision,” Attorney Jim Manley, with the conservative Pacific Legal Foundation, told The Epoch Times. “This is sort of a weird way of restricting certain rights by not involving the state in the process.”

The law creates another layer of restrictions for firearms dealers by doubling down on existing California gun bans.

However, firearms deals are not able to challenge SB 1327 because the state has been removed from imposing the restrictions, and instead, individual citizens would be enforcing them, Manley said.

“Assault weapons, .50 BMGs, and firearms being sold to people under 21 were already illegal in California,” Manley said. “And the [law] is explicit in saying this does not change that. This just creates another avenue to enforce those restrictions.”

When California lawmakers first wrote SB 1327, the state did not have restrictions on homemade firearms or ghost guns. But within a month of passing the bill, the state included them.

It’s rare for a state to institute “double enforcement”—with private cause of action laws and criminal penalties—for the same restrictions, Manley said.

By Jill McLaughlin

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