Just blocks from the scene of the worst mass shooting in Sacramento’s history, legislative leaders stood on the West Steps of the Capitol Building on Tuesday, April 5, to detail what they say are “commonsense gun violence solutions” that are advancing through the legislative process.
The legislation — Senate Bill 1327, authored by Majority Leader Emeritus Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) and Sen. Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) — would create a first-in-the-nation private right of action for citizens to bring a civil action against those who manufacture, distribute, transport, import into California or sell assault weapons, .50 BMG rifles, ghost guns or ghost gun kits.
It would also allow citizens to sue for $10,000 on each weapon involved, as well as attorney fees.
SB 1327 cleared a key legislative hurdle after being passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill is modeled after a recent anti-abortion Texas law.
On Sunday, April 3, six people were killed and 11 were wounded as gunfire erupted at 2 a.m. on the streets as bars were closing in downtown Sacramento. As of Wednesday, April 6, three arrests have been made — including two brothers, one of them who was wounded and is hospitalized — as police continue their investigation
“The alarm bells are blaring,” Hertzberg said. “We could not have a clearer call for action to stop gun violence than what happened on Sunday at the doorstep of our state’s democracy. The Legislature will act.
“This creates a powerful incentive for folks to help get these weapons off the streets and out of the hands of criminals. It also creates a powerful deterrent effect for those seeking these kinds of weapons,” Hertzberg said.
Gov. Gavin Newsom has indicated he will sign the bill when it arrives on his desk.
“This week’s unconscionable act of gun violence is a tragic reminder of the lives that are at stake in this crisis that endangers communities across the country,” Newsom said.
“Today, the Legislature took an important step towards holding the gun industry accountable for mass shootings in our communities involving illegal firearms and protecting residents, utilizing the US Supreme Court’s ruling that allowed private citizens in Texas the ability to sue abortion providers. So long as the Supreme Court has set this precedent, California will use it to save lives.”
Gun violence prevention advocates Moms Demand Action and The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence were also on hand to urge support for the legislation.
“Californians are tired of gun violence dominating our news and devastating our communities,” said Krystal LoPilato, volunteer leader with the California chapter of Moms Demand Action. “And, unfortunately this public health crisis stretches further than the shootings that make the news.
“Our hearts are with all the survivors and victims of the shooting in Sacramento and we are committed to fighting for legislation that would ensure accountability for the individuals and manufacturers contributing to this violence.”