Send Lawyers, Guns, and Money: Newsom Calls For Gun Ban Modeled on Texas Abortion Law

California Gov. Gavin Newsom thrilled many this weekend by saying that his administration will model a new law on Texas’ abortion ban that would let private citizens sue anyone who makes or sells assault weapons or ghost guns. It won’t work. Legally, that is. It will be hugely successful politically, but not without costs to the state and potential litigants.

Gov. Newsom denounced the Supreme Court in Women’s Health v. Jackson for refusing to enjoin the Texas law that allows people to sue anyone who “aids or abets” an abortion performed after about six weeks. That led to widespread calls for the passage of legislation to “codify Roe,” including from the White House.

Newsom, however, wants to replicate the law to limit Second Amendment rights the way that conservatives used it to limit reproductive rights.

“I am outraged by yesterday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing Texas’s ban on most abortion services to remain in place. But if states can now shield their laws from review by the federal courts that compare assault weapons to Swiss Army knives, then California will use that authority to protect people’s lives, where Texas used it to put women in harm’s way.”

Newsom said that his staff will be working with the Legislature and California Attorney General Rob Bonta to craft the bill to let citizens sue anyone who “manufactures, distributes, or sells an assault weapon or ghost gun kit or parts” in California. They could seek damages of at least $10,000 per violation plus costs and attorney’s fees.

Good luck with that.

The problem is multifold. First, the Texas law was quickly found to be unconstitutional by the district court, as would the California law. Indeed, many of us declared the law as facially unconstitutional under existing precedent on the day that it was enacted. That means that, while there are litigation costs, those costs would decrease quickly as other courts declare challenges to be unconstitutional.

Second, the Supreme Court just allowed pre-enforcement challenges so the California law could be challenged to avoid any “chilling effect” on gun rights. Eight out of nine justices agreed that such early challenges are permissible against those with enforcement responsibilities in the abortion area. As a state that has led efforts to limit gun rights, there are a host of such officials with similar licensing powers in California.

Third, and most importantly, Newsom limited the law to gun manufacturers, distributors, and sellers” to the exclusion of a wider array of purchasers or “aiders and abetters.” The Texas law was so menacing because it exposed such a wide array of people to potential lawsuit. It would not be quite as popular to go after gun owners or gun rights groups. Yet, Newsom is targeting businesses which are going to be less intimidated by such litigation costs in a law that would be clearly unconstitutional.

That is why, if the law is crafted as Newsom suggests, this won’t work legally. Nevertheless, there will be much cooing on cable programs at the cleverness of Newsom and the comeuppance for conservatives. Newsom will seize the moment in terms of popularity while leaving the costs to others to bear in the later failed litigation.

Newsom did not help things by declaring “If the most efficient way to keep these devastating weapons off our streets is to add the threat of private lawsuits, we should do just that.” That is openly acknowledging that this law is meant to achieve indirectly what the state has failed to do directly: reduce gun ownership. That is precisely why the Supreme Court just green-lighted pre-enforcement challenges to the Texas law and now, with the help of Newsom, the California law would collapse quickly on the same grounds.

In the recent decision, Chief Justice John Roberts noted that

“The clear purpose and actual effect of S. B. 8 has been to nullify this Court’s rulings. … Indeed, “[i]f the legislatures of the several states may, at will, annul the judgments of the courts of the United States, and destroy the rights acquired under those judgments, the constitution itself becomes a solemn mockery.” United States v. Peters, 5 Cranch 115, 136 (1809). The nature of the federal right infringed does not matter; it is the role of the Supreme Court in our constitutional system that is at stake.”

With his bravado, Newsom has guaranteed that courts will strike down his law as an open “mockery” of gun rights precedent and he will actually box in liberal judges and jurists in voting against the California law on the same grounds.

Indeed, the California law would put the Biden Administration into a bind. It just intervened first as an amicus party and then an actual party in the Texas litigation. (As expected, the Court tossed out the Biden Administration’s lawsuit as “improvidently granted”). The Administration insisted that such a law is an abomination given that the rights of abortion are established and this is an effort to nullify those rights through exposure to lawsuits. Here Newsom himself said that that is precisely what they want to do.

So, will the Biden administration refuse to oppose the law in defense of established gun rights as it did reproductive rights? If so, it would support criticism of the Justice Department of advancing political agendas and make Attorney General Merrick Garland look like a feckless functionary. With the mid-term elections looming and falling polling numbers across the country, that is probably not a choice the Biden Administration would like to make to defend a legislatively-supported soundbite.

Once the early courts strike down the California law, some citizens could face sanctions for frivolous lawsuits seeking litigation costs (unless such motions are blocked under the law).  Moreover, there will be a great expense of drafting and defending a law designed to support a soundbite. Many judges will be even less enamored with being asked to participate in what is largely political performance art.

That is why the new California law is certain to play better on cable than in the courts.

418 thoughts on “Send Lawyers, Guns, and Money: Newsom Calls For Gun Ban Modeled on Texas Abortion Law”

  1. To the Biden Administration and to Hunter Biden and all those that suck up to China:
    “China has blocked all imports from Lithuania and has ordered multinational companies to sever ties with the Baltic country or face being shut out of the Chinese market.

    The extraordinary sanctions, which amount to a full economic boycott of Lithuania, are in retaliation for the country’s decision to allow Taiwan to open a representative office in its capital, Vilnius.”

    The Chinese are waging war, presently without guns. We don’t need Presidents who have personal financial attachments to China, where we have already seen American weaponry being leaked to the Chinese thorough some of the deals being made.

    1. S. Meyer,
      “seen American weaponry being leaked to the Chinese thorough some of the deals being made.”

      Who allowed this? If this was known (rather than careless oversight), depending upon the weaponry, is it treasonous?

      1. It’s been well publicized. Some people that liked Bill Clinton didn’t want to vote for him because he too permitted advanced weaponry knowledge to be sent to China.

  2. I wonder if this headline makes any sense to anyone on the blog.

    “FDA Says It Now Needs 75 Years to Fully Release Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine Data”

    However, if one refuses the vaccine even if they already contracted the virus, they can be forced to take it.

    1. A lot of things no longer make much sense… unfortunately. The example you cite is particularly insane.

      Farther down in the comments, you asked Sam (?) about an inflation calculation which shows a 15% rate versus the published rate of 6.8%. You might want to take a look at John Williams’ website, Williams is an economist who tracks changes to the CPI formula and has done so for many years.

      1. This is the point:

        “In general terms, methodological shifts in government reporting have *depressed* reported inflation, moving the concept of the CPI away from being a measure of the cost of living needed to maintain a constant standard of living.” (Emphasis added.)

        On that same page, Williams shows actual, real-world inflation at about 15%. Elsewhere, he explains (mostly in lay terms) how and why the government’s inflation calculations were corrupted. In summary, when you mix politics and economics, you get politics.

        Thanks for the reference.

      2. Thanks, Spanky. The CPI can be looked at from many directions. “Consistent with the Methodologies of Pre-1980 Headline CPI Reporting, the November 2021 ShadowStats Alternate CPI Annual Inflation at 14.9%”

        I can’t say much about it. The economy keeps changing. That means that one will always have difficulty comparing one year’s CPI to another. COLA is fixed to the CPI, as are certain loans, mortgages and financial instruments. It has gotten to the point we don’t know if the dog is wagging the tail or the tail wagging the dog. Politics corrupt the economic system.

        I believe that what we are going to see from inflation will be very painful, especially to those whose incomes fall behind the CPI. We noticed that under Carter where a lot of seniors were slaughtered.

        It is a way of lowering debt, but reflecting a greater risk to the lender. Interest rates could rise substantially, causing ever-increasing difficulty in servicing the debt. That will lead to severe turmoil and pain, eventually forcing spending to stop.

  3. Ben, many of your responses were removed when they took out the trash last night. That is fine, for I can respond to all in a singular response without dealing with your incessant craziness.

    I suggest you read the New Yorker more carefully before commenting on it. The New Yorker is one of those spin machines that focuses only on situations that match its desired conclusions. That causes you to get even more confused over the facts. Don’t forget, to force gullible people like you to agree with their findings, they force-feed you while lying by omission. They leave out those things that would tell you that their conclusions are dead wrong.

    Add your lack of critical thinking skills with your lack of knowledge, and you are left with the debating ability of a turkey on its deathbed.

    1. S. Meyer said to Ben: “I can respond to all in a singular response without dealing with your incessant craziness.”

      S. Meyer, that caught my eye because I had been wondering about Ben’s prolific output of mega-ego braggadocio, name-dropping, and sometimes bizarre comments. I decided to look beyond this page and went to one of his articles in “The Fly Fish Journal” titled “The Lake Effect”.


      The editor, or someone in that capacity, introduced Ben’s article by saying when he approaches his subject:

      “he’ll adjust his “bipolar” glasses….”

      I wonder what he meant by that?

  4. Ben, when we last had a short discussion on economics you got lost, so I am reaching out to you with a bit of help.
    Bill that Biden says pays for itself actually adds $3 trillion to deficit, CBO warns
    West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, a pivotal vote for the Democrats on the bill, calls the CBO’s latest cost analysis “very sobering.”

    1. “Bill that Biden says pays for itself actually adds $3 trillion to deficit, CBO warns”

      Nor does the other $2 billion in welfare spending “pay for itself.” It’s the taxpayer who will be compelled to pay for it, via higher taxes on *everyone*.

  5. OT: Some people are not disturbed by the rising homicide rate and some people are. Ben’s recent comments should make one believe he doesn’t care about illegal aliens, murderers and rapists entering the country. He appears to support those that have supported violence in the streets.

    Twelve U.S. cities, all led by Democrats, broke annual homicide records in 2021

    Blue cities were disproportionately receptive to the Black Lives Matter defund-the-police movement pushed by progressives in 2020.

    1. Wow you are dumb.

      Im guessing you’re from the south?

      OR the northern midwest?

      Just you and your kind stay out of California and everything will be AOK.

      Raining today, which is rare.

      1. I haven’t taken drugs for decades.

        Too strong these days.

        Even weed is WAAYYYYY too strong.

        My friends in Santa Cruz are making millions growing the world’s best marijuana.

        None of them touch the stuff.


        1. “I haven’t taken drugs for decades.”

          Maybe they fried your brain decades ago.

  6. How does the United States decide which tyrannies it will tolerate and which it will not?
    So many tyrannized, suffering people, and it is allowed to happen.

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