Under the California law, a person would also be able to sue a licensed firearms dealer who “sells, supplies, delivers, or gives possession or control of a firearm” to anyone under 21 years old. It allows citizens to sue for a minimum of $10,000 on each weapon involved, as well as attorney fees.
Newsom, a Democrat, on Friday acknowledged that the law would likely be challenged in court.
The law, introduced in February, says that it would become “inoperative upon invalidation” of the Texas abortion law, should the US Supreme Court or Texas Supreme Court strike down that measure. The California law would then be “repealed on January 1 of the following year.”
While the Democratic governor said Friday that there is a “subzero” chance that he runs for the White House in 2024, he has doubled down lately in his challenge of other big state Republican governors, who like him are speculated presidential candidates.
Ahead of the legislation signing Friday, he ran a full-page newspaper ad in three Texas newspapers that attacked Texas Gov. Greg Abbott over his position on abortion rights and guns. “If Texas can ban abortion and endanger lives, California can ban deadly weapons of war and save lives,” Newsom said in a statement to CNN. “If Governor Abbott truly wants to protect the right to life, I urge him to follow California’s lead.”
During Friday’s signing ceremony, Newsom argued that it’s time to “act differently” in response to rights being “wiped out in real time” by red states. He said he would highlight this legislation for other governors to enact in their states.
But asked directly about a presidential bid, the governor said Friday: “Subzero, I’ll say it in five languages now. I don’t know how more often I can say it.”
“I can’t take what’s happening in this country, I can’t take the assault on liberty and freedom. I can’t take the rhetoric,” he said, adding, “This is a challenging moment. The Supreme Court has put this responsibility squarely on the doorstep of governors now, and legislative leaders, and local leaders across this country. And we have to meet this moment and we can’t do it with passivity that we’ve seen in the past.”
Senate Bill 1327 has, however, garnered criticism from the American Civil Liberties Union California Action, which warned that the measure would set a “dangerous legal precedent — not only undermining fundamental principles of due process, but eliminating the judicial as a check and balance against the political branches, effectively unraveling the separation of powers doctrine.”
CNN’s Dan Merica, Andy Rose and Tierney Sneed contributed to this report.