By: Konrad Holden
On Friday, Southern District of California Judge Roger T. Benitez ruled that California’s ban on so-called “assault weapons” is unconstitutional. The judge’s opinion rested on crime statistics in California and legal arguments related to the 2nd Amendment. Attorneys expect this ruling to be challenged in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
In 2019, the Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) filed a lawsuit on behalf of multiple California residents and firearms dealers to challenge the “Assault Weapons Control Act” of 1989.
That lawsuit has finally been resolved in favor of the 2nd Amendment.
Judge Roger T. Benitez ruled that the 1989 law is unconstitutional and slammed the state of California for trampling on its citizens’ rights. The ruling also includes an injunction that prohibits state police from enforcing the 32 year-old ban.
Benitez’s opinion includes this statement, which should come as a breath of fresh air to every red-blooded American: “It should be an easy question and answer. Government is not free to impose its own new policy choices on American citizens where Constitutional rights are concerned.”
Benitez based the ruling partially on statistical crime data showing that Californians are much more likely to be killed by a knife than by an “assault weapon”. “According to F.B.I. statistics for 2019, California saw 252 people murdered with a knife, while 34 people were killed with some type of rifle – not necessarily an AR-15. A Californian is three times more likely to be murdered by an attacker’s bare hands, fists, or feet, than by his rifle,” Benitez writes.
Attorneys close to the case expect the ruling to be appealed and potentially taken to the Supreme Court.
“This historic victory for individual liberty is just the beginning, and FPC will continue to aggressively challenge these laws throughout the United States. We look forward to continuing this challenge at the Ninth Circuit and, should it be necessary, the Supreme Court.” - Brandon Combs, Firearms Policy Coalition President
“To give full life to the core right of self-defense, every law-abiding responsible individual citizen has a constitutionally protected right to keep and bear firearms commonly owned and kept for lawful purposes.” - Judge Roger T. Benitez, Southern District of California