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TEXAS – Calif. Bill Would Allow Citizens to Enforce Assault Weapon Ban



DEL MAR, Calif. (AP) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed Friday letting private citizens in his state sue gun makers to stop them from selling assault weapons just as Texas lets its residents sue abortion providers to stop the procedures, then essentially dared the U.S. Supreme Court to treat both issues the same.

At a news conference in the coastal town of Del Mar, north of San Diego, Newsom said he thought the Texas law was wrong and the Supreme Court’s decision in December to let it stay in effect while it’s appealed was “absurd” and “outrageous.”

“But they opened up the door. They set the tone, tenor, the rules. And either we can be on the defense complaining about it or we can play by those rules. We are going to play by those rules,” Newsom said. He later added: “We’ll see how principled the U.S. Supreme Court is.”

The unique Texas law, approved last year, bans all abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, usually around the sixth week of pregnancy. The law does not let the government enforce it. Instead, private citizens can sue abortion providers or anyone who “aids and abets” the procedure.

The theory is that because the government can’t enforce the law, then abortion advocates can’t sue the state to block it. That makes it much harder to challenge in court.

A bill in the California Legislature unveiled Friday would do the same thing. But instead of abortion providers, it would let people sue gun-makers and others who sell, make or distribute assault-style guns in the state.

California has banned the sale and manufacture of many assault-style guns for decades. But last year, U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez overturned that law, ruling it was unconstitutional while comparing an AR-15 rifle to a Swiss Army knife as “good for both home and battle.” The ruling incensed Newsom and he vowed to fight back.

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