California Now Allows Private Citizens to Sue Gunmakers


    California's SB 1327 law was enacted on January 1st, 2023. It allows private citizens of the state to file lawsuits against gun manufacturers who infringe lawful state regulations such as the “assault weapons” ban or the ban on sales of guns to persons under 21.

    The Los Angeles Times reported that those who support the new law see the option of lawsuits as a means for “enlisting an army of grass-roots enforcers” to protect law enforcement's “assault weapons” ban and the minimum age requirement.

    SB 1327 was enacted as a response against the Texas heartbeat law that permits abortionists to be sued for terminating pregnancy after 6 weeks gestation.

    The law has an element of fee shifting which U.S. District Court Judge Roger Benitez blocked on December 20, 2022.

    The fee-shifting mechanism was developed to deter lawsuits from gun restrictions in California.

    Benitez wrote:

    “These provisions in SS 1021.11 (a) will expose attorneys to the possibility of joint and separate responsibility for the fees of the government, and unlike the typical fee shifting clauses, this risk will be extended for three years following the end of appellate review of the first litigation, rather than being part of the decision in the initial lawsuit. California's SS 1021.11 scheme of monetary and punitive sanctions for litigation is in complete contradiction to the system, the intention of Congress as stated in SS 1988.”

    Benitez said, “Defendant Attorney General Rob Bonta and the intervenor for defendant governor Gavin Newsom, and their agents, officers servants, employees and attorneys, as well as individuals who are actively in collaboration or with them, and all who are aware of this injunction or have knowledge of this injunction , are prohibited from applying or applying California Code of Civil Procedure SS 1021.11 and attorneys, as amended by S.B. 1327.”


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