Federal judge overturns CA’s three decade old ban on assault weapons; compares the AR-15 to a Swiss Army knife

Late Friday, U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez of San Diego overturned California’s three-decade-old ban on assault weapons, ruling that it violates the constitutional right to bear arms. However, he issued a 30 day stay on the order to give CA Attorney General Rob Bonta time to appeal.

“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 judge said in his ruling’s introduction.

Governor Newsom issued a statement condemning the ruling and calling it a “a direct threat to public safety and the lives of innocent Californians, period.” He also said the judge’s 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,” Newsom said in a statement. “We’re not backing down from this fight, and we’ll continue pushing for common sense gun laws that will save lives.”

California will appeal the judge’s ruling.

This is not the only ruling from Benitez, a federal judge nominated by President George W. Bush on May 1, 2003, CA has appealed.

According to KCRA:

The state is appealing Benitez’s 2017 ruling against the state’s nearly two-decade-old ban on the sales and purchases of magazines holding more than 10 bullets. That decision a weeklong buying spree before the judge halted sales during the appeal. It was upheld in August by a three-judge appellate panel, but the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said in March that an 11-member panel will rehear the case.

The state also is appealing Benitez’s decision in April 2020 blocking a 2019 California law requiring background checks for anyone buying ammunition.

Both of those measures were championed by Newsom when he was lieutenant governor, and they were backed by voters in a 2016 ballot measure.

A summary of District of Columbia v. Heller:

Limitations on the Right to Keep and Bear Arms

Second Amendment rights are not absolute, according to Scalia. Thus, the amendment does not grant the “right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever for whatever purpose” (Heller.,at 2816). Among “presumptively lawful” regulatory measures are laws that (1) prohibit carrying concealed weapons, (2) prohibit the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, (3) forbid the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or (2) impose conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. He adds that he could also find “support in the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons” (Id., at 2816, 2817). In a footnote, Scalia says the list of presumptively lawful measures “does not purport to be exhaustive.”

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