California gun laws headed for legal showdown

California gun laws headed for legal showdown – Press Enterprise

California governors, legislators, and voters have been imposing extra restrictions on weapons and ammunition, one atop one other, for greater than a half-century on the speculation that they save lives.

California now has the nation’s most restrictive gun laws however gun homeowners contend that they violate the U.S. Constitution’s “right to bear arms,” and the difficulty may land within the Supreme Court after three selections by one federal choose supporting that competition.

San Diego Judge Roger Benitez issued his newest determination final week, declaring that the state’s 32-year-old ban on “assault weapons” violates the Constitution’s Second Amendment.

“This case is not about extraordinary weapons lying at the outer limits of Second Amendment protection,” Benitez wrote. “They banned ‘assault weapons’ are not bazookas, howitzers, or machine guns. Those arms are dangerous and solely useful for military purposes,” his ruling stated. “Instead, the firearms deemed ‘assault weapons’ are fairly ordinary, popular, modern.”

Previously, Benitez had dominated towards a state ban on firearm magazines containing greater than 10 cartridges and a requirement that ammunition purchasers should bear background checks.

The earlier rulings are making their means via the appellate course of and the newest case is headed there as a precursor to a possible showdown within the Supreme Court, which now has a 6-3 conservative majority with current appointments by former President Donald Trump.

Benitez’s earlier rulings on journal and ammunition restrictions solely indicate that restrictions on precise weapons are unconstitutional whereas his newest squarely frames the difficulty, and thus its consequence, no matter it might be, will carry probably the most weight.

A complicating issue is how California legislation defines an “assault weapon.” Its definition doesn’t take care of lethality, however moderately a weapon’s “features” corresponding to a removable journal or a pistol grip.

Thus two semi-automatic rifles that fireplace equivalent cartridges may be differentiated basically by their look. One that appears scary due to its “features,” such because the AR-15, is supposedly banned whereas one other that fires the identical .223 cartridge, corresponding to Ruger’s Mini-14, is completely legal.

One says “supposedly” as a result of AR-15s and related weapons are readily and legally out there for sale in California after being rendered “featureless” by slight modifications to their look.

It signifies that state officers who defend California’s gun laws are within the awkward place of claiming {that a} weapon’s scary seems to be an ample trigger to be prohibited.

“This is an average case about average guns used in average ways for average purposes,” Benitez stated. “One is to be forgiven if one is persuaded by news media and others that the nation is awash with murderous AR-15 assault rifles. The facts, however, do not support this hyperbole, and facts matter.”

Gov. Gavin Newsom, who personally sponsored the journal and ammunition gross sales laws, promised a vigorous legal struggle to uphold California’s rules.

“Today’s decision is a direct threat to public safety and the lives of innocent Californians, period,” Newsom stated in a press release. “As the son of a judge, I grew up with deep respect for the judicial process and the importance of a judge’s ability to make impartial fact-based rulings, but the fact that this judge compared the AR-15 — a weapon of war that’s used on the battlefield — to a Swiss Army Knife completely undermines the credibility of this decision and is a slap in the face to the families who’ve lost loved ones to this weapon. We’re not backing down from this fight, and we’ll continue pushing for common-sense gun laws that will save lives.”

Given the make-up of the Supreme Court, nevertheless, Newsom’s possibilities of prevailing could also be lower than 50-50.

CalMatters is a public curiosity journalism enterprise dedicated to explaining how California’s state Capitol works and why it issues. For extra tales by Dan Walters, go to

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