Newsom’s Gun Policy Proposal: Legal Experts Respond

The state legislature and its attorney general will work to pass legislation that would allow private citizens to sue to enforce the assault weapons ban.

CALIFORNIA, United States — Republican lawmakers in Texas have passed a law banning abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which normally occurs at around six weeks of pregnancy. Texas law allows private citizens to enforce the ban, giving them the power to sue abortion clinics and anyone else who “aids and abets” the procedure.

On Friday, the United States Supreme Court allowed the Texas law to remain in effect while abortion clinics file a lawsuit to block it. The move infuriated California Governor Gavin Newsom, a Democrat who supports abortion rights.

Governor Newsom the Saturday pledged to empower private citizens to enforce a ban on the manufacture and sale of assault weapons in the state, citing the same authority claimed by conservative Texas lawmakers to ban most abortions once a heartbeat is detected.

“Texas law is structured in such a way that it appears the state has passed a law that conflicts with federal law,” said Mary-Beth Moylan, associate dean of the McGeorge School of Law.

“I think the likelihood of the legislature considering passing a law and the attorney general’s office helping to draft such a law is probably good,” Moylan said. “Whether or not the courts treat gun laws the same way the court treats abortion laws is a more difficult question.”

Moylan and legal analyst Wendy Patrick said the Texas law opens a box of opportunity for other states.

“The Texas law could be a model for red states,” Patrick said, “but the court’s rationale could be a model for blue states in terms of new laws allowing private citizens to bring certain types of lawsuits. “

Moylan thinks it will likely pass in California, but adds that it will be challenged immediately and realistically end up in the US Supreme Court.

What she points out, and hopes it doesn’t, is that the conservative supermajority that is the Supreme Court might not treat the issues of abortion and gun rights the same way.

“We want to have a judicial system that is impartial and treats all different types of rights equally,” Moylan said.

Newsom’s agenda has upset gun rights activists. The National Rifle Association (NRA) has shared on social media that this is just political theater and that Americans will not tolerate another assault on constitutional liberty.

As for who is on board with Newsom, the Attorney General is one of them. Rob Bonta said he looks forward to working with the legislature and the governor on this.

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