Last Friday a San Diego federal judge overturned California state’s thirty-year long ban on assault weapons on the grounds that the law violates the Second Amendment of the Constitution.
U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez said that the ban could not “survive” under any “level of heightened scrutiny” just before he issued a permanent injunction set to take effect in 30 days.
Benitez says that the state’s special classification of military style weapons leaves California residents deprived of the rights which U.S. citizens enjoy in many other states.
In his argument, he compared the AR-15 specifically to a Swiss Army knife because it serves as a tool for many purposes including home self-defense and “homeland defense” making it ideal for repelling invaders. He called the design “a perfect combination.”
The lawsuit was filed in San Diego by a number of pro-gun advocacy firms, including the California Gun Rights Foundation, San Diego County Gun Owners PAC, and the Second Amendment Foundation & Firearms Policy Coalition. The groups challenge California firearm laws which are the most onerous and strict in the entire country.
Benitez spoke further in his ruling, saying that “one is to be forgiven” as a citizen opposed to AR-15 ownership if they are “persuaded by news media” which regularly and emphatically portrays the ‘black rifle’ class of weapon as “murderous. . . assault rifles.” He called the AR-15 class of guns “ordinary guns,” not to be associated with true weapons of war such as howitzers, bazookas, or machine guns. He said that such comparisons are “hyperbole” and should be dismissed in light of “the facts.”
Benitez notes that there are currently 185,569 registered assault weapons in the state in spite of the ban.
California Governor Gavin Newsom was quick to condemn the ruling as “a direct threat” to the lives of California citizens and public safety generally. He also attacked Benitez’s Swiss Army Knife analogy as a point which undermines the ruling’s “credibility” and he further attacked the injunction as disrespectful of families who have suffered losses at the hands of murderers who have used such weapons.
Bob Bonta, the state’s Attorney General said that the state will be appealing the ruling.
California issued an outright assault weapons ban in 1989, stacking on many additional laws since then which are anti-Second Amendment.
The state also seeks appeal against Benitez’s ruling in 2017 which struck down the state’s ban on ‘high-capacity’ magazines, those holding over 10 rounds, as well as his blocking of a 2019 law which required background checks for the purchase of ammunition.
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.
This is a direct threat to public safety and innocent Californians. We won’t stand for it. https://t.co/feL5BABTXa
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) June 5, 2021
Author: Jessie Simpson