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    Judge eviscerates new heavy-handed California gun laws
    • October 25, 2023

    For the second time this year, U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez struck down heavy-handed California laws regulating the Second Amendment’s right “to keep and bear arms.” In September, he threw out a law limiting magazines to 10 rounds. Last week he dumped a California law banning so-called “assault weapons,” which really are just mean-looking rifles that scare politicians who don’t know anything about guns.

    He ruled, “The American tradition is rich and deep in protecting a citizen’s enduring right to keep and bear common arms like rifles, shotguns, and pistols. However, among the American tradition of firearm ownership, there is nothing like California’s prohibition on rifles, shotguns, and handguns based on their looks or attributes.”

    As with the earlier decisions, the new one is being appealed by Attorney General Rob Bonta, who said, “Weapons of war have no place on California’s streets. This has been state law in California for decades, and we will continue to fight for our authority to keep our citizens safe from firearms that cause mass casualties.” Gov. Gavin Newsom seconded that: “Californians’ elected representatives decided almost 35 years ago that weapons of war have no place in our communities.”

    But as Sam Parades, executive director of Gun Owners of California, told us, Benitez “meticulously and methodically broke down and destroyed” Bonta’s arguments. “We believe that the California Assault Weapons Control Act will go into the dustbin of history.”

    Indeed, Benitez thoroughly eviscerated the hollow arguments of Bonta and Newsom.

    “Other than their looks,” he wrote, “these prohibited rifles are virtually the same as other lawfully possessed rifles. They have the same minimum overall length, they use the same triggers, they have the same barrels, and they can fire the same ammunition, from the same magazines, at the same rate of fire, and at the same velocities, as other rifles.”

    Related: Will Gov. Newsom ever realize California’s gun laws must follow the Second Amendment?

    The insistence of Bonta and Newsom to hyperbolically refer to the prohibited weapons as “weapons of war” mainly speaks to their ignorance of what they think they are talking about.

    Benitez also directly notes that the sort of weapons Bonta and Newsom want banned are commonly used in acts of self-defense. While Bonta and Newsom are rightly horrified by mass shootings committed with such weapons, they pay no regard to the stories of those who use them lawfully and legitimately to save themselves and their families.

    Citing research indicating that there are up to three million defensive uses of guns per year, Benitez presents multiple specific cases of people using AR-15’s to protect themselves against violent criminals. The ability of Californians to protect themselves should matter.

    “California’s answer to the criminal misuse of a few is to disarm its many good residents,” Judge Benitez wrote. “That knee-jerk reaction is constitutionally untenable, just as it was 250 years ago. The Second Amendment stands as a shield from government imposition of that policy.”

    Both of Benitez’s actions against overreaching gun laws in California could end up in the U.S. Supreme Court, which last year in its Bruen decision upheld a broad reading of the Second Amendment, among other things permitting carrying guns in public as an individual right. The current makeup of the court bodes well for the protection of the Second Amendment.

    But for now, we give kudos to Judge Roger Benitez for standing up to the tyrannical impulses of Newsom and Bonta to disarm the law-abiding.

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    ​ Orange County Register