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California bills would make it easier to sue gun manufacturers

New legislation targets marketing guns to children in the state.

SAN DIEGO — New legislation is in the works to make it easier to sue gun manufacturers and hold them accountable for mass shootings.

The pair of proposed laws in Sacramento would include civil liability for marketing guns to minors.

Assemblymember Phil Ting is the author of AB 1594. It would allow victims of gun violence to sue gun manufacturers and sellers.

“This is really about the gun industry taking greater accountability for what the weapons that they put on our streets are doing,” said Ting, a Democrat representing San Francisco.

The other bill, AB 2571, would restrict advertising of firearms to minors.

“There's no question that the industry starts very young in terms of their marketing, not just in California but really all across the country, in hopes that once someone turns the legal age where they can own a gun, that they will go out and purchase a gun,” said Ting.

Federal law generally shields gun manufacturers from lawsuits but there are exceptions.

In February, families from the Sandy Hook massacre settled a lawsuit against Remington Arms for $73 million.

In San Diego, a lawsuit is ongoing against Smith & Wesson, brought by the survivors of the Poway synagogue shooting.

Still, not everyone believes the gun industry is the problem.

“It would be like suing Ford if someone decides to drink and drive,” said Michael Schwartz, executive director of San Diego County Gun Owners PAC.

“Suing a manufacturer, particularly a gun manufacturer, and blaming it on advertising is pretty ridiculous,” he said. “It's truly tragic that people decide to commit crime, but it's not the tools.  We can't focus in on the tools.”

Governor Gavin Newson has indicated he will sign both AB 1594 and AB 2571 if and when they come to his desk.

WATCH RELATED: California laws that could have made a difference in Texas mass shooting, expert says (May 2022)

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