Tuesday, 28 September, 2021

Judge rules California's decades-old assault weapon ban violates Second Amendment

California's Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom Judge OVERTURNS California's 32 year ban on assault rifles after ruling it violates Second Amendment
Cecil Davis | 06 June, 2021, 17:54

A "failed experiment." that's how a US federal judge described California's three-decade long ban on assault weapons, as he overturned it on Friday, calling the ban unconstitutional. He issued a permanent injunction against enforcement of the law but stayed it for 30 days to give state Attorney General Rob Bonta time to appeal.

"This is a direct threat to public safety and innocent Californians". "Good for both home and battle, the AR-15 is the kind of versatile gun that lies at the intersection of the kinds of firearms protected under District of Columbia v. Heller", Benitez wrote in his opinion".

"Overturning CA's assault weapon ban and comparing an AR-15 to a SWISS ARMY KNIFE is a disgusting slap in the face to those who have lost loved ones to gun violence", California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, said late Friday.

Newsom added: "We're not backing down from this fight, and we'll continue pushing for common sense gun laws that will save lives".

"Today's decision is fundamentally flawed, and we will be appealing it", Bonta said in a press release.

Benitez also noted that since the original ban in 1989, California has amended the definition of "assault weapons" multiple times, in an apparent effort to disarm citizens.

"The burden on the core Second Amendment right, if any, is minimal, the state argued, because the weapons can still be used just not with the modifications that turn them into assault weapons", he wrote then, the AP reported.

He handed down the two page ruling in response to a lawsuit filed against the State of California by James Miller, Patrick Russ, Ryan Peterson and the the San Diego County Gun Owners Political Action Committee.

The lawsuit said California is "one of only a small handful states to ban numerous most popular semiautomatic firearms in the nation because they possess one or more common characteristics, such as pistol grips and threaded barrels".

But Benitez said the Supreme Court recognizes "that the Second Amendment guarantee includes a right to keep and bear firearms that have 'some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well-regulated militia, '" quoting from Miller's filing. In March, following the killing of 10 people in Boulder, Colorado, US President Joe Biden urged Congress to push for restrictions on assault weapons. "Those arms are unsafe and exclusively useful for military purposes". "Instead, the firearms deemed "assault weapons" are fairly ordinary, popular, modern".

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The lawsuit said California is "one of only a small handful states to ban numerous most popular semiautomatic firearms in the nation because they possess one or more common characteristics, such as pistol grips and threaded barrels", frequently but not exclusively along with detachable ammunition magazines. Plaintiffs argued that gun owners who wanted to use high-capacity magazines in their legal semiautomatic rifles or pistols were prohibited from doing so by the California law, which would impose criminal penalties on otherwise law-abiding citizens for modifying their firearms.

"Even in California, despite being banned for 20 to 30 years, according to the State's own evidence, there are 185,569 "assault weapons" now registered with the California Department of Justice", he noted.

"This is an average case about average guns used in average ways for average purposes", the ruling said.

In the ruling, Benitez used the moniker "modern rifles" to describe AR-15s and other firearms the left labels as "assault weapons". "The facts, however, do not support this hyperbole, and facts matter".

He called the California law a "failed experiment" to prevent mass shootings or attacks on law enforcement.

The Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC), a nonprofit that advocates for constitutional rights, said the ruling was the correct one.

The ruling, which came on National Gun Violence Awareness Day, has been denounced by gun control advocacy groups, who note that it is "especially insulting", as mass shootings in which the AR-15 or any of its hundreds of variants are often used, are happening across the US.

"Too many families across the nation have lost loved ones in shootings carried out with assault weapons". Money from the tax would have funded gun violence research and prevention programs.

The state is appealing Benitez's 2017 ruling against the state's almost two-decade-old ban on the sales and purchases of magazines holding more than 10 bullets.