By: Zachary Lopez (ZachNews):
California: A federal judge has overturned California’s ban on assault weapons, ruling that it violates the constitutional right to bear arms.
United States District Judge Roger Benitez of San Diego on Friday, June 4th, 2021 ruled that the state’s three-decade-old ban definition of illegal military-style rifles unlawfully deprives law-abiding Californians of weapons commonly allowed in most other states and by the U.S. Supreme Court.
“Under no level of heightened scrutiny can the law survive,” said United States District Judge Roger Benitez.
United States District Judge Roger Benitez issued a permanent injunction against enforcement of the law, but stayed it for 30 days to give California’s Attorney General Rob Bonta time to appeal.
In his 94 page ruling, United States District Judge Roger Benitez spoke favorably of modern weapons, saying that they were overwhelmingly used for legal reasons.
“Like the Swiss Army knife, the popular AR-15 rifle is a perfect combination of home defense weapon and homeland defense equipment. Good for both home and battle,” said United States District Judge Roger Benitez in his ruling’s introduction.
California Governor Gavin Newsom issued a statement regarding the ruling today, saying, “Today’s decision is a direct threat to public safety and the lives of innocent Californians, period. As the son of a judge, I grew up with deep respect for the judicial process and the importance of a judge’s ability to make impartial fact-based rulings, but the fact that this judge compared the AR-15 – a weapon of war that’s used on the battlefield – to a Swiss Army Knife completely undermines the credibility of this decision and is a slap in the face to the families who’ve lost loved ones to this weapon. We’re not backing down from this fight, and we’ll continue pushing for common sense gun laws that will save lives.”
California’s Attorney General Rob Bonta calls today’s ruling flawed, saying that it will be appealed.
California first restricted assault weapons in 1989, with multiple updates to the law since then.
Assault weapons as defined by the law are more dangerous than other firearms and are disproportionately used in crimes, mass shootings and against law enforcement, with more resulting casualties, the state attorney general’s office argued, and barring them “furthers the state’s important public safety interests.”
Further, a surge in sales of more than 1.16 million other types of pistols, rifles and shotguns in the last year – more than a third of them to likely first-time buyers – show that the assault weapons ban “has not prevented law-abiding citizens in the state from acquiring a range of firearms for lawful purposes, including self-defense,” the state contended in a court filing in March.
Similar assault weapon restrictions have previously been upheld by six other federal district and appeals courts, the state argued. Overturning the ban would allow not only assault rifles, but things like assault shotguns and assault pistols, state officials said.
But United States District Judge Roger Benitez disagreed, saying in his ruling, “This case is not about extraordinary weapons lying at the outer limits of Second Amendment protection. The banned ‘assault weapons’ are not bazookas, howitzers, or machine guns. Those arms are dangerous and solely useful for military purposes.”
United States District Judge Roger Benitez said that despite California’s ban, there currently are an estimated 185,569 assault weapons registered with the state.
“This is an average case about average guns used in average ways for average purposes. One is to be forgiven if one is persuaded by news media and others that the nation is awash with murderous AR-15 assault rifles. The facts, however, do not support this hyperbole, and facts matter,” said United States District Judge Roger Benitez in his ruling.
United States District Judge Roger Benitez added, “In California, murder by knife occurs seven times more often than murder by rifle.”
The case will now go to a three-judge panel in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and could be headed for the United States Supreme Court.
More information is still coming in regards this breaking news story as well as any local reaction if any arrives.