Federal Judge Overturns Calif. Ban on ‘Assault’ Weapons

(USA Features) A federal judge on Friday tossed out California’s blanket ban on dozens of semi-automatic rifles ubiquitously called “assault weapons,” writing that the prohibition violates the Second Amendment.

“This case is 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,” U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez wrote in the court order filed late on Friday.

California banned such weapons 32 years ago, prohibiting the sale of those firearms in 1989. It was challenged in 2019 in a lawsuit filed against the California attorney general by a number of plaintiffs including resident James Miller and the San Diego County Gun Owners.

“Government is not free to impose its own new policy choices on American citizens where Constitutional rights are concerned,” Benitez, a George W. Bush appointee, added.

“It is declared that these statutes unconstitutionally infringe the Second Amendment rights of California citizens,” his order further stated.

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Benitez, who was born in Cuba, granted California Attorney General Rob Bonta’s request for a 30-day stay of his ruling to give the state a chance to appeal it, which Bonta said would happen.

“Today’s decision is fundamentally flawed, and we will be appealing it,” Bonta said in a statement.

Seven states, including California, and the District of Columbia have enacted laws banning such weapons.