Politics

Federal judge overturns assault weapons ban in California, calling 32-year-old law unconstitutional

A federal judge Friday overturned California’s 32-year-old ban on assault weapons, ruling that it violates the constitutional right to bear arms.

U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez of San Diego ruled that the state’s definition of illegal military-style rifles unlawfully deprives law-abiding Californians of weapons commonly allowed in most other states and by the U.S. Supreme Court. “Under no level of heightened scrutiny can the law survive,” Benitez said. He issued a permanent injunction against enforcement of the law but stayed it for 30 days to give state Attorney General Rob Bonta time to appeal.

Judge Benitez noted that the case was about “what should be a muscular constitutional right and whether a state can force a gun policy choice that impinges on that right with a 30-year-old failed experiment.” He continued, saying, “It should be an easy question and answer.” Judge Benitez, who was nominated by former President George W. Bush, stated that “Government is not free to impose its own new policy choices on American citizens where constitutional rights are concerned.” Judge Benitez said that the firearms banned under the state’s law were not “bazookas, howitzers or machine guns,” but rather “fairly ordinary, popular, modern rifles.”

ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: MOTHER JONES

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