A long-established California law prohibiting the ownership of assault weapons has been invalidated by a federal judge, who deemed the restrictive measure both “extreme” and in violation of constitutional rights. US District Judge, Roger T. Benitez, arrived at his decision on Thursday, stating that the ban infringed upon Second Amendment rights of residents. His ruling was grounded on the absence of historical precedent for such a regulation, a key element required by a landmark Supreme Court ruling of the previous year, which altered the metrics used to examine the legality of firearms regulation.
Judge Benitez referred to this same argument in the prior month when he abolished California’s prohibition on high-capacity magazines. As per the state’s viewpoint, the legislation aimed at preventing mass shooters from procuring assault weapons. However, Benitez rebutted, highlighting that the outlawed firearms are frequently utilized by law-abiding civilians for personal protection.
“California has opted to strip its many respectable residents of their weaponry as a response to the illicit misuse by a few. Such a knee-jerk reaction is untenable within the bounds of our constitution, as it was 250 years ago,” Benitez stated scribing his judgment.
The discredited law, as judged by Benitez, offered a comprehensive definition of assault weapons which included a wide range of semi-automatic rifles, handguns, and shotguns. The verdict succumbed to censure from Governor Gavin Newsom, deeming it to be a “flagrant slap in the face” to all victims of mass shootings & their families.
“Despite the resolve of Californian elected representatives nearly 35 years ago to ban war weaponry from our neighborhoods, Judge Benitez today refuted this, ignoring public safety concerns and believing he knows best”, Newsom vociferously stated in a public communique.
A stay of injunction was implemented by the judge, thereby granting the state a crucial 10-day period to make an appeal. Consequently, the state’s Attorney General, Rob Bonta, lodged a swift notice of appeal while underlining that the ban will prevail for the moment. Bonta, expressing his disdain at the court’s judgment, labeled it as “perilous and unenlightened.”
Bonta reiterated, “Weapons of war ought not to be a common sight on Californian streets. This has been a strict state law in California for many years, and we intend to carry on with our battle to preserve our prerogative to shield our citizens effectively from firearms that can lead to mass devastation.”
On behalf of some of the plaintiffs, Attorney John Dillon, reasserted the constitutionality of the decision. He criticized the state’s arguments and the supposed reasons for maintaining the unconstitutional ban as deficient.
It is important to note the invalidated law is among a long string of firearm restrictions that have come under judicial scrutiny, following a Supreme Court ruling that set a new precedent on gun laws last June. That ruling stated firearm regulations must adhere to the country’s “historical tradition” to be in concordance with Second Amendment rights. This essentially specifies that contemporary gun laws must align with historical regulations pertaining to firearms.