(ReclaimingAmerica.net) – In a landmark win for 2nd Amendment advocates, U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez has ruled against California’s “assault weapons” ban, describing the law as “extreme” and devoid of “historical pedigree.”
The ban, implemented in 1989 following the Stockton school shooting, restricted the transfer, production, and possession of certain semiautomatic firearms.
Judge Benitez, appointed by former President George W. Bush, pointed out that the American tradition has a strong history of defending “a citizen’s enduring right to keep and bear common arms like rifles, shotguns, and pistols” without limiting them based on their appearance or attributes.
Benitez argued that many rifles outlawed under this ban are “virtually the same” as others legally owned in California, differing only in aesthetics. He stated: “This case is about California laws that, in contrast to these constitutional principles, make it a crime to acquire and possess many common modern semiautomatic firearms. Modern semiautomatic rifles like the AR-15 platform rifle are widely owned by law-abiding citizens across the nation. Other than their looks (the State calls them ‘features’ or ‘accessories’) these prohibited rifles are virtually the same as other lawfully possessed rifles.”
Highlighting a difference in publicized misuse and actual defensive uses of such firearms, Benitez added that while tragic events involving guns receive significant attention, instances where citizens utilize them for self-defense are underreported. He emphasized, “In California, while modern semiautomatics are not rare, they are rarely the problem.” Statistics from the Attorney General’s annual report indicated that “assault weapons” infrequently featured in violent crimes.
Benitez referenced past court decisions, including the Supreme Court’s Bruen (2022) and Heller (2008) rulings, to underscore his stance that the California ban did not align with the nation’s historical perspective on firearms. He concluded by siding with the plaintiffs, directing law enforcement to refrain from upholding California’s “assault weapons” ban.
However, recognizing the potential for an appeal, Benitez stayed his decision for ten days, allowing Attorney General Rob Bonta to initiate an appeal process. Responding to the decision, Bonta remarked, “Once again, this district court issued a dangerous and misguided decision and I will work vigorously to reverse it on appeal.”
This case, known as Miller v. Bonta, is filed under No. 3:19-cv-01537 in the United States District Court, Southern Court of California.