Payam Javan: In a significant legal development, U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez of San Diego, who had previously overturned California’s long-standing ban on assault weapons, repeated his decision, asserting that the state’s attempts to restrict sales of semiautomatic guns infringe upon the constitutional right to bear arms. While acknowledging the potential misuse of powerful weapons like AR-15 rifles by criminals, the judge argued that such firearms are also owned by law-abiding citizens who use them for self-defense. This ruling, reminiscent of a 2021 decision, could overturn multiple state statutes related to assault weapons. California Attorney General Rob Bonta promptly filed a notice of appeal, emphasizing the state’s commitment to keeping “weapons of war” off its streets.
The judge’s decision follows a pattern of striking down California firearms laws, including a recent ruling preventing the state from banning gun owners from having detachable magazines with a capacity of more than 10 rounds. The attorney representing the plaintiffs, who sought to overturn the law, hailed the ruling as constitutionally sound, vowing to continue the fight for Second Amendment rights through any appeal. Benitez’s comparison of the AR-15 to historical items like Bowie knives underscores his belief in the long-standing tradition of lawful gun ownership in the United States.