‘Assault weapons’ ban overturned in California, Judge calls it ‘unconstitutional’

Though it seems rare these days, a California District judge issued a ruling last night that restores rights back to the citizens of California, rights that are protected by the Second Amendment.

U.S. District Court Judge Roger Benitez ruled that California’s 30-year ban on so-called “assault rifles” such as the AR-15 was unconstitutional. His strongly worded ruling included a permanent injunction against enforcement of the California Penal Codes that relate to “assault weapons.”

“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, 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 the ruling. “Yet, the State of California makes it a crime to have an AR15 type rifle. Therefore, this Court declares the California statutes to be unconstitutional.”

California law first banned “assault weapons” in 1989 under the guise that they thought it would reduce or eliminate mass shootings, according to the ruling. However, Benitez describes the laws against the popular rifle as a “failed experiment.”

“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,” he said. “The facts, however, do not support this hyperbole, and facts matter.”

Benitez pointed out that the state’s own evidence showed that mass shootings continue at the same rate as prior to the ban.

He also called the term “assault weapon” a bit of a “misnomer” and suggested that they could also be called “home defense rifles” or “anti-crime guns.”

“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 guns are dangerous and solely useful for military purposes,” Benitez explained. “Instead, the firearms deemed ‘assault weapons’ are fairly ordinary, popular, modern rifles. This is an average case about average guns used in average ways for average purposes.”

California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) issued a statement criticizing the judge’s ruling stating that the comparison 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,” Newsom added.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta also vowed to appeal the ruling, “Today’s decision is fundamentally flawed, and we will be appealing it,” he said in a press release.

Benitez has reigned in California’s seemingly out-of-control legislature on gun laws in the past. In 2019, he overturned California’s ban on so-called “high capacity” magazines, or those that held more than 10 rounds, although these larger-capacity magazines are actually considered standard for many rifles. Benitez’s ruling in Duncan v. Becerra amounted to what many gun enthusiasts referred to as “freedom week” because the ruling essentially gave amnesty to many large-capacity magazines and allowed them to be imported and sold in California for at least a short period of time before the 9th Circuit overturned it.

The latest ruling is good news for constitutionalists and gun advocates alike. The Second Amendment states that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” Much to the dismay of liberal gun-grabbing activists, there is no caveat for “scary looking” guns.

Ashley Hill

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