The tyranny-prone, leftist state of California just got another one of its anti-liberty policies struck down by a federal judge. This time, it was the state’s ban of so-called “assault weapons,” meant to prohibit modern, highly popular semi-automatic rifles like AR-15s that can accept military-standard magazines and shoot quickly and accurately.
The judge who struck down the ban is a District Court judge in San Diego, Judge Roger Benitez. The federal judge ruled that the state’s three-decade-old ban of most popular “assault rifles” is an unconstitutional violation of the right to bear arms enshrined in the Second Amendment.
In his ruling, Judge Benitez argued that the actions of a handful of horrible criminals that perpetrate mass shootings and other forms of horrific violence are not suitable groups for limiting the self-defense and firearm ownership rights of the state’s millions of residents, many of whom might carry or use weapons like the AR-15 for self-defense, were it not for the prohibition.
Explaining his ruling in the conclusion to the 79-page ruling, Judge Benitez wrote, “The State’s attempt to ban these popular firearms creates the extreme policy that a handful of criminals can dictate the conduct and infringe on the freedom of law-abiding citizens.”
Continuing, he cited a seminal firearm rights case, D.C. v. Heller, writing, “As Heller explains, the Second Amendment takes certain policy choices and removes them beyond the realm of permissible state action. California’s answer to the criminal misuse of a few is to disarm its many good residents.”
He next explained the intent of the Second Amendment and what that amendment enshrines, writing, “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. There is only one policy enshrined in the Bill of Rights. Guns and ammunition in the hands of criminals, tyrants and terrorists are dangerous; guns in the hands of law abiding responsible citizens are necessary.“
Continuing that explanation of the amendment and what it protects, he wrote, “To give full life to the core right of self-defense, every law-abiding responsible individual citizen has a constitutionally protected right to keep and bear firearms commonly owned and kept for lawful purposes. In early America and today, the Second Amendment right of self-preservation permits a citizen to ‘‘repel force by force’ when ‘the intervention of society in his behalf, may be too late to prevent that injury.’'”
Connecting that to the California law and explaining why the state could not strip millions of their rights because of the actions of a few bad apples, Benitez wrote, “Unfortunately, governments tend to restrict the right of armed self-defense. Punishing every good citizen because bad ones misuse a gun offends the Constitution.”
John Dillon, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said, “The Court’s decision is 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.”
California Attorney General Rob Bonta, on the other hand, said, “Weapons of war have no place on California’s streets. 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.”
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