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Assault rifle ban overturned again

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A San Diego federal judge today overturned

California's three-decades-old ban on assault weapons for the second time in

recent years.

U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez, who has frequently ruled in favor

of firearm advocates seeking to overturn state laws governing guns and

ammunition, issued an injunction Thursday prohibiting state officials from

enforcing the ban.

In a written ruling, the judge stated that officials are seeking to

prohibit individuals from acquiring guns used commonly in mass shootings and

other criminal activities. But Benitez ruled such a ban infringes on the Second

Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.

``We hear constantly about mass shootings for days and weeks and on

anniversaries,'' Benitez wrote. ``But how often do we celebrate the saving of

the life of Jane Doe because she was able to use a semi-automatic weapon to

defend herself and her family from attackers? Are the lives of Jane, John, and

Junior Doe worth any less than others? Are they less important?''

The judge also stated that what officials describe as assault weapons

are ``no more dangerous than other arms the state does not ban. The banned arms

are just modern versions of rifles, shotguns, and pistols.''

Benitez gave the California Attorney General's Office 10 days to seek

a stay of the injunction, and on Thursday afternoon, the office announced it

had filed a notice of appeal.

``Weapons of war have no place on California's streets,'' California

Attorney General Rob Bonta said in a statement. ``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


Cody J. Wisniewski of The Firearms Policy Coalition, one of the

plaintiffs in a San Diego lawsuit that led to Benitez's ruling, said in a

statement, ``Today's opinion is yet another thorough demonstration of the

unconstitutional nature of these types of bans on constitutionally protected

arms. We're elated that the court has recognized that California's ban flies

directly in the face of peaceable individuals' constitutionally protected right

to keep and bear arms, and we look forward to continuing to demonstrate that

point in courtrooms in California and across the country.''

Benitez previously overturned the ban in 2021. Though the state

appealed, the case was sent back down to Benitez following the Supreme Court's

ruling in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen, which

altered the standard by which firearms-related cases could be analyzed.

The judge also ruled last month against California's ban on gun

magazines that hold more than 10 bullets and previously struck down a state law

requiring background checks for ammunition purchases.

Benitez's pro-gun rulings led Gov. Gavin Newsom to publicly describe

the judge as ``a wholly owned subsidiary of the gun lobby and the National

Rifle Association.''

In a statement issued following Thursday's ruling, Newsom said,

``Judge Benitez is hellbent on making it more dangerous for our kids to go to

school, for families to go to the mall or to attend a place of worship. We are

working with Attorney General Rob Bonta to fight this extreme and logically

incoherent ruling and keep California safer, but we should not have to go get

Judge Benitez overturned every time he decides to write a love letter to the

gun lobby.''

Copyright 2023, City News Service, Inc.

CNS-10-19-2023 16:07


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