President Joe Biden came into office with the promise of implementing new gun control legislation — but the nation’s courts appear to have something to say about such efforts.
This week, a federal judge struck down California’s decades-old ban on so-called assault weapons, Breitbart reported.
“Commonly owned by law-abiding citizens”
In his ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Roger T. Benitez of California’s Southern District determined the ban to be an unconstitutional violation of the Second Amendment.
Siding with the plaintiff in the case of Miller v. Bonta, Benitez wrote: “The Supreme Court clearly holds that the Second Amendment protects gun commonly owned by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes.”
He went on to acknowledge that the same amendment requires that the exercise of that right has “some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well-regulated militia,” though that does not mean individual rights can be unjustly curtailed.
Weapons like the AR-15 rifle, dubbed an “assault weapon” by critics, are not the “extreme” firearms that have been prohibited under prior Supreme Court rulings, the judge determined, but were regularly used by “average” Americans for hunting and personal protection.
“This case is not about extraordinary weapons lying at the outer limits of Second Amendment protection,” one portion of the 94-page ruling declared. “The banned ‘assault weapons’ are not bazookas, howitzers, or machineguns. Those arms are dangerous and solely useful for military purposes. Instead, the firearms deemed ‘assault weapons’ are fairly ordinary, popular, modern rifles. This is an average case about average guns used in average ways for average purposes.”
“A shield from government imposition”
Benitez insisted that the government is “not free to impose its own new policy choices on American citizens where constitutional rights are concerned,” suggesting that such a precedent could have dire consequences in the future.
“California may certainly conceive of a policy that a modern rifle is dangerous in the hands of a criminal, and that therefore it is good public policy to keep modern rifles out of the hands of every citizen,” he wrote. “The Second Amendment stands as a shield from government imposition of that policy.”
As for the roughly 30-year statewide ban, Benitez called it a “failed experiment” that needs to end. He apparently recognized the ramifications of his ruling and issued a 30-day stay on its implementation to give Democratic state Attorney General Rob Bonta time to mount an appeal.
“Because this case involves serious questions going to the merits, a temporary stay is in the public interest,” Benitez wrote.
Bonta indicated that he would be appealing the decision and Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom weighed in on a ruling he called “a direct threat to public safety and the lives of innocent Californians, period.”