Late Friday afternoon, Judge Roger T. Benitez of the Southern District of California issued a ruling in Miller vs. Bonta, holding that California’s assault weapons ban is unconstitutional.

In the decision Judge Benitez ruled that many of the categories of firearms California classifies as “assault weapons” are protected by the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Furthermore, the Second Amendment stands as a shield from the government imposing this policy.

The court went on to order an injunction against, “Defendant Attorney General Rob Bonta, and his officers, agents, servants, employees, and attorneys, and those persons in active concert or participation with him, and those duly sworn state peace officers and federal law enforcement officers who gain knowledge of this injunction order or know of the existence of this injunction order,” preventing them “from implementing or enforcing” the following:

Penal Codes

California Penal Code §§ 30515(a)(1) through (8) (defining an “assault weapon” by prohibited features);

§ 30800 (deeming those “assault weapons” a public nuisance);

§ 30915 (regulating those “assault weapons” obtained by bequest or inheritance);

§ 30925 (restricting importation of those “assault weapons” by new residents);

§ 30945 (restricting use of those registered “assault weapons”) ;

§30950 (prohibiting possession of those “assault weapons” by minors); and,
the penalty provisions §§ 30600, 30605 and 30800 as applied to “assault weapons” defined in Code §§ 30515(a)(1) through (8).

Here’s a little bit of context on what lead to this pivotal decision by Judge Roger T. Benitez. This court decision stems from a 2019 filing by Firearms Policy Coalition known as Miller vs. Becerra. In that original court filing FPC challenged California’s Assault Weapons Control Act (ACWA) ban rifles that have certain characteristics, including firearms whose magazines can hold 10 or more rounds. In the lawsuit FPC also argued that the firearms that are being banned are constitutional protected and are no more lethal than other firearms that are not banned by California’s policy. Also, noting that the weapons can be possessed lawfully in vast majority of the United States.

This only the beginning in this case. Judge Benitez issued a one month stay in the ruling. Potentially, giving time for ruling to be challenged in the 9th Circuit Court.

Here are links to FPC statements on the ruling and the legal timeline for the court filings and decision.

What do you think of California Southern District Court decision? Let us know in the comments below.

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