Responding to a lawsuit brought by Second Amendment advocates, U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez ruled a 1989 state law was illegal in light of the New York gun rights case that was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in June 2022.
"It's a very big win for us,” Alan Gottlieb, executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation, says of Judge Benitez’s ruling.
Gottlieb and the Foundation were among several plaintiffs that sued to challenge the California law. Other groups are the California Gun Rights Foundation and the Firearms Policy Coalition, among others.
The decision last week is the second time Judge Benitez has ruled in the lawsuit; he issued an identical ruling in 2021 but was ordered by the famously liberal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider his opinion. Then came the New York gun club ruling by the high court, which helped Benitez with his legal analysis of lawful gun ownership.
In his most recent ruling, Benitez called firearms such as the AR-15 “dangerous but useful” and wrote that it was unfair for lawful gun owners to be barred from owning them for self-defense because others use them to commit crimes.
Gottlieb says the California law classified an “assault weapon” as basically a semi-automatic weapon with any of 30 cosmetic characteristics.
"That have nothing to do with the rate of firepower, its accuracy, caliber of ammunition, or anything,” he tells AFN.
Among gun-hating activists, the AR-15 is the most hated and their most frequent target. It is also a frequent target of lies and exaggerations, such as claims it a “machine gun” and is more “powerful” than other firearms.
"Weapons of war have no place on California's streets," Rob Bonta, California’s liberal attorney general, said in a statement immediately after the ruling.
Bonta (pictured at left) filed an appeal Oct. 19, the same day Judge Benitez issued his ruling.