Federal Judge Declares California’s Assault Weapons Ban Unconstitutional

On Thursday, a federal judge reiterated a prior decision, stating that California’s efforts to ban the sale of semiautomatic firearms infringe upon the constitutional right to bear arms. Several California individuals, desiring to possess firearms such as the AR-15, along with gun advocacy organizations like the Firearms Policy Coalition, the California Gun Rights Foundation, and the Second Amendment Foundation, initiated the legal challenge.

U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez, based in San Diego, acknowledged that while potent firearms such as the AR-15 rifles are often associated with criminal activities, they are also legally owned by individuals for self-defense.

Judge Benitez stated, “While California believes its ‘assault weapon’ prohibition addresses public safety concerns, it criminalizes residents who acquire these guns for their own protection. Such a justification is insufficient to support the ban.”

This recent pronouncement mirrors a 2021 verdict where Benitez labeled California’s assault weapon prohibition as ineffective. He has consistently challenged various gun laws in California. Recently, he determined that the state cannot prevent gun owners from possessing magazines that can contain over 10 rounds.

Benitez’s current judgment challenges several of the state’s regulations on assault weapons. He granted California a 10-day window to appeal this decision to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Drawing a historical parallel, Benitez said, “Much like the Bowie Knife, which was popular among civilians and military personnel in the 19th century, ‘assault weapons’ have their dangers but also their uses. The long-standing tradition of lawful gun ownership in America cannot be overlooked.”

Benitez further commented on the selective media coverage of firearm incidents, questioning, “The media emphasizes mass shootings, but seldom do we recognize the instances where a semi-automatic weapon saved lives. Aren’t the lives of those saved by such means just as valuable?”

Speaking on the ruling, Cody J. Wisniewski from The Firearms Policy Coalition, a party in the related San Diego case, expressed, “This judgment robustly underscores the unconstitutional character of such bans. We’re thrilled to see the court uphold the fundamental right to bear arms, and we remain committed to championing this right in courts across the nation.”

As always, if you have any questions on California Compliant AR-15s or California Compliant Guns in general, be sure to follow Dirty Bird Industries.

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