LOS ANGELES (AP) — Governor Gavin Newsom on Tuesday signed legislation into law that would allow lawsuits against gun makers and distributors after gun violence.
Beginning July 2023, the bill, AB 1594, allows residents, the state’s attorney general, and local governments to sue the industry in civil court. Assemblymember Phil Ting, Mike A. Gipson, and Chris Ward authored the legislation.
The bill features various safeguards intended to reduce gun violence, and requires the industry to take “reasonable” efforts to make sure that their products are not used unlawfully.
Gun manufacturers & distributors have been shielded from the mass destruction they cause for too long.— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) July 12, 2022
Today, CA changes that.
I just signed a bill that will allow victims of gun violence to sue the makers of these deadly weapons & hold them accountable. pic.twitter.com/S0AlrrkhML
“Nearly every industry is held liable when their products case harm or injury. All except one — the gun industry,” Newsom said in a video Tuesday announcing that he had signed the bill on Monday.
With the new law, he said, “gun makers will finally be held to account for their role in this crisis.”
California’s law allows gun makers and dealers to also be sued for alleged violations of other laws, including false advertising, unfair competition or deceptive acts or practices.
“Hitting their bottom line may finally compel them to step up to reduce gun violence by preventing illegal sales and theft,” said the bill's author, Democratic Assemblyman Phil Ting.
The law will also prohibit manufacturers and retailers from making, importing or selling guns or related products that are “abnormally dangerous and likely to create an unreasonable risk of harm.”
That could include kits for building untraceable “ghost guns," "bump stocks" that increase the rate of fire for semi-automatic weapons, or “bullet button" assault weapons that allow for rapid reloading.
Last month, Governor Newsom announced a record $156 million in gun violence prevention grants provided as part of the California Violence Intervention and Prevention Grant Program.