Gun Manufacturers & Sellers Can Now Be Sued in California After Newsom Signs Bill

A similar measure survived legal challenges in New York.

California Governor Gavin Newsom signed on Monday a bill that will allow victims of gun crimes to sue gun manufacturers and dealers. In a video statement, Newsom said that other industries are held accountable when their products cause harm except for the gun industry. “Today, California is going to change that,” Newsom said. “They can no longer hide from the mass destruction that they have caused.”

“If you’ve been hurt or a family member is a victim of gun violence, you can now go to court and hold the makers of these deadly weapons accountable,” Newsom added.

Gun manufacturers and retailers have been shielded from civil suits since the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act was signed into law in 2005. According to The Epoch Times, the new California gun law, which comes into effect in July 2023, takes advantage of an exemption to the federal statute that allows gun makers or sellers to be sued for violations of state laws concerning the sale or marketing of firearms.

The bill was authored by California state representative Phil Ting, a Democrat. It will allow for lawsuits to be filed by individuals, state, and local governments and the state attorney general.

Republicans urged members of the state legislature to vote against the bill, arguing that it is simply a roundabout way to put gun manufacturers out of business by burying them with frivolous lawsuits. “Assembly Bill 1594 would allow governments and victims of violence involving firearms to sue firearm manufacturers or retailers for liability when firearms are used in incidents of deaths or injuries, even if they have broken no laws!” wrote the California Republican Assembly before the bill was passed.

Democrat lawmakers have praised the legislation, arguing that it will hold the gun industry accountable. Ting said the firearms industry has “enjoyed federal immunity” for far too long. “Hitting their bottom line may finally compel them to step up to reduce gun violence by preventing illegal sales and theft,” he said.

“In California, we refuse to settle with thoughts and prayers as innocent lives are lost—we demand and will deliver urgent action, now,” said California Attorney General Rob Bonta.

Proponents of the bill are confident it will withstand legal challenges after a similar measure was upheld by New York’s highest court.

Reporting by The National File.