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Tipsheet

Newsom to Sign Gun Control Bill Modeled After Texas' 'Heartbeat' Abortion Ban

AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes

Pro-abortion California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced Friday that he is signing a first-of-its-kind gun control law modeled after a Texas law that bans abortions in the state after fetal heartbeat detection.

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Newsom’s announcement comes one month after two major Supreme Court rulings pertaining to gun control and abortion. In the abortion case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the Court overturned landmark case Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion in all 50 states in 1973 (via Associated Press): 

His action comes one month after conservative justices overturned women’s constitutional right to abortions and undermined gun control laws in states including California.

Newsom stitched the two hot-button topics together in approving a law allowing people to sue anyone who distributes illegal assault weapons, parts that can be used to build weapons, guns without serial numbers, or .50 caliber rifles. They would be awarded at least $10,000 in civil damages for each weapon, plus attorneys fees.

“While the Supreme Court rolls back reasonable gun safety measures, California continues adding new ways to protect the lives of our kids,” Newsom said in a statement released before he signed the bill. “California will use every tool at its disposal to save lives, especially in the face of an increasingly extreme Supreme Court.”

Lawmakers patterned the bill, at Newsom’s request, after a Texas law allowing citizens to sue anyone who provides or assists in providing an abortion. The U.S. Supreme Court gave preliminary approval to the Texas law, but California’s law will automatically be invalidated if the Texas law is eventually ruled unconstitutional.

“It’s a crappy decision, but the reality is that as long as it is the law let’s make benefit of it by virtue of saving lives, trying to save lives, in California,” the bill’s author, Democratic state Sen. Robert Hertzberg, said in an interview. “It’s all about these two big issues that are facing us. And you can’t have a double standard. You can’t have one standard for guns and another standard for women’s reproductive health. It’s not right.”

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Townhall covered in December how Newsom directed state lawmakers to draft legislation to crack down on firearms and adopt language similar to Texas’ abortion law, S.B. 8. He reportedly said that “the threat of private lawsuits” could be the “most efficient way to keep these devastating weapons off our streets.”

Days before the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the justices struck down a New York law requiring applicants for a license to carry a firearm outside their home to provide a “proper cause” to do so. The court said the law violated the Second Amendment.

In the Dobbs case, the justices wrote in the majority opinion that the U.S. Constitution does not protect the right to abortion and determined that Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey were both wrongly decided.

“The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled; and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives,” the opinion stated.

“Like the infamous decision in Plessy v. Ferguson, Roe was also egregiously wrong and on a collision course with the Constitution from the day it was decided. Casey perpetuated its errors, calling both sides of the national controversy to resolve their debate, but in doing so, Casey necessarily declared a winning side. Those on the losing side—those who sought to advance the State’s interest in fetal life—could no longer seek to persuade their elected representatives to adopt policies consistent with their views. The Court short-circuited the democratic process by closing it to the large number of Americans who disagreed with Roe.”

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