A federal judge has blocked a California gun law that enabled private citizens to sue manufacturers of illegal guns.
The law emulated a controversial abortion measure in Texas. It was intended to provoke a fight in the court system.
The injunction from Judge Roger Benitez sets the California law on a potential path to the Supreme Court. That could ultimately set up a test of both of the laws.
This is exactly what California Gov. Gavin Newsom wanted.
“I want to thank Judge Benitez. We have been saying all along that Texas’ anti-abortion law is outrageous. Judge Benitez just confirmed it is also unconstitutional,” Newsom said.
“The provision in California’s law that he struck down is a replica of what Texas did, and his explanation of why this part of SB 1327 unfairly blocks access to the courts applies equally to Texas’ SB 8.”
In his ruling, Judge Benitez highlighted the ties between the two laws. He cited Newsom’s condemnations of the Texas measure that deputizes citizens to sue abortion providers as evidence that the California gun law is unconstitutional.
Some key quotes include calling the laws “cynical”, “an abomination,” “outrageous,” and “objectionable.”
California enacted the legislation in July to allow private citizens to sue those who sell, make, or transport certain weapons into the state. The law includes a free-shifting penalty in the government’s favor that applies to litigation challenging state and local firearm regulations.
“The question is whether they are complete and abject hypocrites and frauds if they reject our bill that’s modeled after that abortion bill as it relates to a private right of action to go after assault weapons,” Newsom said last year about the dual laws.
However, the conservative-stacked Supreme Court has already shown it has an expansive view of gun rights. The court has become much more politically conservative, so even if both laws make their way to the top court, experts fear the rulings will allow the Texas abortion ban to continue while striking down the California gun law, despite hypocrisy.