The new law will allow citizens to sue anyone who distributes illegal assault weapons or parts that can be used to build weapons, guns without a serial number or .50-caliber rifles.
Those who bring lawsuits against individuals who fit the criteria above could be awarded at least $10,000 per weapon, plus attorneys fees.
This comes just under a month after the Supreme Court struck down a New York gun control law regarding concealed carry permits.
“While the Supreme Court rolls back reasonable gun safety measures, California continues adding new ways to protect the lives of our kids,” Newsom said in a statement, The Associated Press reported. “California will use every tool at its disposal to save lives, especially in the face of an increasingly extreme Supreme Court.”
The law is shaped after a Texas abortion law that was signed before Roe v. Wade was overturned. Texas’ law allows citizens to sue anyone who provided an abortion or assisted someone in receiving an abortion. It received preliminary approval from the U.S. Supreme Court but if the court reverses its decision and finds the Texas law unconstitutional, California’s new gun law would be struck down.
The California legislation has been criticized by both gun advocates and the American Civil Liberties Union for creating a bounty system through civil lawsuits.
In a statement in May, ACLU California Action said the legislation was an “attack on the Constitution” by undermining due process and setting a “dangerous” legal precedent.
“The problem with this bill is the same problem as the Texas anti-abortion law it mimics,” the ACLU statement said. “It creates an end run around the essential function of the courts to ensure that constitutional rights are protected.
Opponents of the bill also say the language discourages legal challenges as it requires plaintiffs or lawyers to pay legal fees if they lose a lawsuit.
The California chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action released a statement supporting the bill as well as other pieces of gun reform legislation Newsom signed.
Newsom signed eight other pieces of gun reform including measures to bar gun sales on state property, adding child and elder abuse to the lists of crimes to block someone from gun ownership, and boosting gun dealership inspections.