Federal judge again rules that California’s ban on assault weapons is unconstitutional | AP News

A federal judge who previously overturned California’s three-decade-old ban on assault weapons did it again on Thursday, ruling that the state’s attempts to prohibit sales of semiautomatic guns violates the constitutional right to bear arms.

U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez of San Diego conceded that powerful weapons like AR-15 rifles are commonly used by criminals, but said the guns are importantly also owned by people who obey the law and feel they need firearms to protect themselves.

The judge’s ruling is nearly identical to a 2021 decision in which he called California’s ban on assault weapons a “failed experiment.” Benitez has has repeatedly struck down multiple California firearms laws. Just last month, he ruled the state cannot ban gun owners from having detachable magazines that hold more than 10 rounds.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta had appealed the judge’s 2021 ruling but before the 9th Circuit could decide the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in a New York case that set a new standard for how courts should consider gun restrictions. The 9th Circuit vacated Benitez’s previous decision and sent the case back to him to reconsider under the new standard.

Full story: Federal judge again rules that California’s ban on assault weapons is unconstitutional | AP News

6 Replies to “Federal judge again rules that California’s ban on assault weapons is unconstitutional | AP News”

  1. I find this court decision to be incredibly frustrating. It, like all court decisions, is based on constitutionality. Our Constitution was written in 1787. To apply a literal interpretation of the Second Amendment to the American firearm crisis is ludicrous. Clearly, our forefathers could have never imagined the weapons of war that we have today. However, they did foresee a need for flexibility in the law; hence the ambiguity and an allowance for altering in our Constitution. Our laws have developed as our nation did, yet a 5-word sentiment written over 200 years ago remains the justification to inhibit efforts to create a safer America. So while I understand the constitutional basis for this decision, I highly disagree with the judge’s interpretation and application of the law. Do you agree with the court’s decision, why or why not?

    1. I definitely do not agree with the court’s decision. Making the decision under the guise of protecting gun owners from being seen as criminals is a fallacy (in placement of another word I’d like to use) that’s just another fight in the ongoing debate between gun owners’ rights and the safety of those who live in America.
      I also don’t think it violates the 2nd Amendment, as the citizens of California are still able to bear arms.

      I honestly don’t think it’s truly or just a thing of wanting to exercise their right to bear arms; I think it’s out of spite for a lot of people. They know that there’s no need for assault weapons to be readily available for purchase and on the streets, but as soon as someone speaks of banning them or making them harder to obtain, then they’re suddenly worried about their 2nd Amendment rights. Its extremely questionable, the entire debate.

    2. Hey Bree you make some great points in your post but I believe there is a whole other issue many people don’t consider when it comes to ar-15s or other semi-automatic rifles. I believe many people want AR-15s banned because they look very threatening and militaristic. Statistics show that handguns are used to commit crimes/acts of violence significantly more than AR-15’s but it is banning semi-automatic rifles many politicians push for. If people are serious about reducing gun violence through gun control then it is the handguns they should be going after. But the fact is if you lay a handgun next to an AR-15 everyone believes the AR-15 is the more dangerous weapon on the streets when this is simply not the case. I believe politicians are pushing for the ban of semi-automatic rifles because it is easier to gain support for when in truth they are responsible for a very small fraction of the gun violence in this country.

      1. What about the fact that military-style rifles are disproportionately involved in mass shootings and fatalities (not all shootings generally)?

    3. I find myself disagreeing with this court’s decision as well. The Constitution definitely was crafted in a different era, and the framers definitely could not have foreseen the advanced weaponry of today. It’s essential to recognize that interpretations of constitutional amendments can evolve over time to address contemporary challenges. While the Second Amendment remains a fundamental part of our legal framework, its interpretation can and should adapt to the changing context. Whether one agrees with the court’s decision often hinges on differing perspectives and beliefs about the balance between individual gun rights and public safety. Some argue that restrictions on certain firearms are necessary for a safer society, while others emphasize the importance of upholding the Second Amendment’s original intent. Ultimately, the ongoing discourse on this issue highlights the importance of a thoughtful, informed, and inclusive conversation about gun control and constitutional rights. I wonder how this situation got to be so incredibly political to the point where judges go against the very reason they exist, to interpret the law, and simply stick to their own personal and political beliefs?

  2. I feel as if this is just another political fight under the guise of discussing the constitutionality of a law that could be, or has already been proven, beneficial. While discussing the constitutionality of a law is definitely political, I think the issues of America’s gun crisis now stems from a belief of “they’re trying to take our guns”, instead of stemming from a belief of “getting these guns off of the streets can lower the risk of harm coming to many”. It’s no longer a safety issue; it’s a gun issue and a gun-owner’s rights issue.
    My question is what will it take for this debate to be a discussion and not a constant fight between opposing political parties?

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