For a second time, U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez of San Diego ruled that California’s ban on so-called “assault weapons” is unconstitutional. The longstanding law prohibits popular semiautomatic rifles enjoyed by sport shooters and utilized for self-defense.
The jurist determined that the criminal acts of a few cannot override the Second Amendment rights of millions of Americans who obey the law.
In making his ruling, Benitez leaned on last year’s Supreme Court Bruen decision overturning a New York gun control law. He said there are “no founding era dead ringers or historical twins” for California’s overreach.
Benitez ruled in the case brought by several gun rights advocacy groups against the three-decade-old Assault Weapons Control Act. He chided lawmakers for targeting “good residents” because of the “criminal misuse of a few.”
The George W. Bush appointee declared the state’s reaction to violent crime is just as wrong as it would have been 250 years ago.
— New York Post (@nypost) October 20, 2023
He correctly noted that the Second Amendment is a barrier to states imposing such policies on law-abiding citizens. Benitez called California’s controversial law “constitutionally untenable.”
State attorneys argued that firearms regulations should change along with technology over time, but Benitez rejected this position. It was his second encounter with the state’s 1989 law.
He ruled against it in 2021 only to see an appeals court vacate his decision. The panel ordered him to review the case again under the auspices of the 2022 Bruen decision.
Led by anti-gun zealot Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), the Golden State may have the most onerous restrictions on weapons in the country.
The Democrat currently seeks to export his administration’s failed gun control policies nationwide in the form of a proposed 28th Amendment.
California Attorney General Rob Bonta vowed to appeal the latest ruling against the “assault weapon” ban, calling it “dangerous and misguided.” He added, “Weapons of war have no place on California’s streets” and he “will work vigorously to reverse it on appeal.”
But John Dillon, an attorney for the plaintiffs, lauded the decision as “constitutionally sound.” He said Benitez addressed “the many inadequacies of the State’s arguments and so-called justifications for this unconstitutional ban.”