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Newsom reveals plan to exploit Supreme Court response to Texas abortion law, enact strict gun control

Rich Pedroncelli/AP/Bloomberg via Getty Images

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced late Saturday a plan to enact new restrictions on the Second Amendment because the Supreme Court has refused to block Texas' abortion law.

The Supreme Court declined on Friday to block a new abortion law in Texas that outlaws abortions after the heartbeat of an unborn baby is detected. The unique law relies on civil, not criminal, enforcement. The Supreme Court, however, did not rule on the constitutionality of the law, and allowed lawsuits against the law to proceed.

What did Newsom say?

The California governor announced late Saturday that he has directed California lawmakers and the California attorney general to enact new gun control policies by crafting a law that mirrors the Texas abortion law.

Newsom said he wants a law that directs civil enforcement against Californians "who manufactures, distributes, or sells an assault weapon or ghost gun kit or parts in the State of California."

"I have directed my staff to work with the Legislature and the Attorney General on a bill that would create a right of action allowing private citizens to seek injunctive relief, and statutory damages of at least $10,000 per violation plus costs and attorney’s fees, against anyone who manufactures, distributes, or sells an assault weapon or ghost gun kit or parts in the State of California," Newsom said.

"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," he added.

Newsom admitted that the Supreme Court's decision encouraged him to act.

"I am outraged by yesterday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing Texas’s ban on most abortion services to remain in place, and largely endorsing Texas’s scheme to insulate its law from the fundamental protections of Roe v. Wade," he said. "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."

An "assault weapon" is different from an "assault rifle" in that an "assault weapon" is a semi-automatic rifle that merely looks scary. An "assault weapon" is typically outfitted with a pistol grip, detachable magazine, flash suppressor, and barrel shroud. An "assault rifle," on the other hand, most often refers to a fully automatic rifle, which are already illegal in the U.S. except under certain highly regulated circumstances.

Could Newsom's plan work?

Constitutional scholar Jonathan Turley explained Sunday that Newsom's law "is certain to play better on cable than in the courts," and that it will never "work legally."

Meanwhile, California state Sen. Brian Dahle (R) pointed out the difference between abortion rights and Second Amendment rights: one is explicitly written into the Bill of Rights.

"The right to bear arms is different than the right to have an abortion. The right to have an abortion is not a Constitutional amendment. So I think he’s way off base,” Dahle said, the Associated Press reported. “I think he’s just using it as an opportunity to grandstand."

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