Federal Judge Strikes Down California’s Ban On ‘Assault Weapons’

A federal judge recently struck down California’s ban on so-called “assault weapons,” arguing that such a prohibition against firearms violates every American’s Second Amendment rights.

U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez of San Diego found that law-abiding Americans who carry firearms such as AR-15s should not be penalized because of criminals.

“California’s answer to the criminal misuse of a few is to disarm its many good residents,” Benitez wrote in a 79-page ruling, as reported by the Daily Wire. “That knee-jerk reaction is constitutionally untenable, just as it was 250 years ago. The Second Amendment stands as a shield from government imposition of that policy.”

Benitez was appointed by former President George W. Bush in 2001. Since taking office, the federal judge has ruled in favor of many pro-Second Amendment organizations who challenged California’s irrational ban on “assault weapons.”

An attorney for the plaintiffs, John Dillon, who sued California over its “Assault Weapons Control Act,” lauded Benitez’s ruling as “constitutionally sound and addresses the many inadequacies of the State’s arguments and so-called justifications for this unconstitutional ban.”

“We will continue to fight for our Plaintiffs’ Second Amendment rights through any appeal until the State is forced to start respecting these rights,” Dillon told the Associated Press (AP).

Benitez originally overturned California’s ban on “assault weapons” in 2021, calling the law a “failed experiment” at stopping Californians from purchasing certain firearms.
Recently, Benitez reiterated his comments on the law in a ruling, where he compared the use of AR-15s to knives.

“Like the Bowie Knife which was commonly carried by citizens and soldiers in the 1800s, ‘assault weapons’ are dangerous, but useful,” Benitez wrote. “But unlike the Bowie Knife, the United States Supreme Court has said, ‘[t]here is a long tradition of widespread lawful gun ownership by private individuals in this country.’”

California Attorney General Rob Bonta, a Democrat, filed a notice of appeal to overturn Benitez’s ruling.
Bonta called Benitez’s decision “dangerous and misguided.”

“Weapons of war have no place on California’s streets,” Bonta said in a news release. “This has been state law in California for decades, and we will continue to fight for our authority to keep our citizens safe from firearms that cause mass casualties. In the meantime, assault weapons remain unlawful for purchase, transfer, or possession in California.”

This is not the first time Benitez has overturned anti-Second Amendment California laws.

In September 2023, the federal judge ruled that the state could not ban magazines holding more than ten rounds of ammunition.

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