California Governor Gavin Newsom has never been shy about taking a controversial position.
His decision to order San Francisco officials to perform same sex weddings shortly after he became Mayor in 2004 started the political ball rolling on what eventually ended up with the US Supreme Court legalizing gay marriage in America.
Now Governor Newsom has set his sights on the epidemic of assault rifles and ghost guns. Don’t under estimate Newsom’s forward looking political street smarts.
Excerpted from San Francisco Chronicle 12.11.2021
In a new approach to gun control inspired by Texas’s controversial approach to banning most abortions, California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Saturday announced that his administration will work to make it easier for private citizens to sue people who sell assault rifles and parts for untraceable ghost guns.
“If states can now shield their laws from review by the federal courts that compare assault weapons to Swiss Army knives,” Newsom said in a press release late Saturday, “then California will use that authority to protect people’s lives, where Texas used it to put women in harm’s way.”
Jessica Levinson, a Supreme Court expert who teaches constitutional law at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, told The Chronicle that the announcement is another example of Newsom hoping to be a “quarter step ahead of public opinion and one step ahead of where he can go legally,” pointing to his support of same-sex marriage, legalization of marijuana and other laws.
“He is proposing to use a mechanism that many — that he and many others — have vilified. But I think it’s quite smart, right? I think it’s a big ‘Fuck you’ to the Supreme Court,” Levinson said. “If you’re going to allow unconstitutional laws — or I should say in this case, constitutionally questionable laws — that are insulated from judicial review, then we’re going to use that to our advantage.”
“SCOTUS is letting private citizens in Texas sue to stop abortion?!,” Newsom tweeted Saturday. “If that’s the precedent then we’ll let Californians sue those who put ghost guns and assault weapons on our streets.”
State officials will aim to craft a measure that would allow residents to seek damages of at least $10,000, plus legal fees, against anyone who manufactures, distributes or sells an assault weapon or ghost gun kit in California.