California appeals ruling to overturn assault weapons ban

June 11, 2021

Rob Bonta

By JOSH FREIDMAN

The state of California announced Thursday it is appealing a judge’s decision to overturn the state’s more than 30-year-old assault weapons ban.

In 1989, California prohibited the sale of weapons that have “such a high rate of fire and capacity for firepower that its function as a legitimate sports or recreational firearm is substantially outweighed by the danger that it can be used to kill and injure human beings.” The law classified specific brands and models of semi-automatic firearms as assault weapons and banned the ownership and transfer of those guns.

Last week, a federal judged overturned California’s assault weapons ban, ruling the law violates the Second Amendment. U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez of the Southern District of California compared the AR-15 to a Swiss Army knife in his ruling. The judge found that most people use military-style rifles legally.

Benitez stayed his ruling for 30 days to allow California Attorney General Rob Bonta time to appeal and seek a stay from the Court of Appeals. The state announced Thursday that Bonta has filed the appeal and will seek to extend the 30-day stay so that the assault weapons ban remains in effect throughout the appellate process.

“Equating firearms that have been used in many of the deadliest mass shootings in this country with Swiss Army knives has no basis in law or fact,” Bonta said in a statement. “The ban on assault weapons will not put an end to all gun violence, but it is one important tool the state has to protect the safety of Californians while also respecting the rights of law-abiding residents who choose to possess firearms. We have appealed the district court’s ruling and will continue our defense of the state’s commonsense gun laws.”

Gov. Gavin Newsom also voiced his support for continuing the ban.

“California’s assault weapons ban has saved lives, and we refuse to let these weapons of war back onto our streets,” Newsom said. “This ban was enacted after a shooting that took the lives of five schoolchildren and injured countless more, and my administration will do whatever it takes to continue protecting Californians and leading the nation in gun safety laws. This is a fight California will never back down from, period.”


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Jorge Estrada

It has been proven that if everyone were required to have a fire arm, crime would diminish. Crime in Kennesaw, Georgia went from out of control to ZERO after a gun requirement ordinance was passed. Sadly, like in war foreign or domestic, the reality of death improves the learning curve. Just stating what I learned when I was there in 1996.


In some countries, where fire arms are few, home invasion at night is very common. This was learned on another adventure, I was told that if someone comes in your room, when you are in bed, don’t move and let them take whatever if you want to live.


I do not have an AR15 but if I were a hunter I’d consider one because of it’s versatility and forgiveness if you miss the target on your first shot.


kettle

“It has been proven” No, never happened, nra bullshit.


TopZone

It’s simple. All gun laws are an infringement. Gavin Newsom talks a lot about disarming honest hard working citizens, but does he talk about the fact that the National Guard, police forces, ATF, FBI, Coast Guard, DEA, and who knows what other government organizations operating in HIS state ALL are armed to the teeth? The hypocrisy of the government is astounding, to say the least.


Yeah, I’m sure the founding fathers were sitting around worried about hunting rights, so they wrote the 2nd amendment to protect them. If you’re for gun control, just be honest and tell me you want the 2nd amendment abolished. At the very least don’t hide behind political words.


paragon

It’s simple, huh? All gun laws are an infringement? So we should repeal gun laws that prevent felons from owning firearms? You completely support arming the homeless, undocumented immigrants, and the mentally ill and allowing them to carry in front of your child’s preschool? I’m interested to see how truly committed you are to your “no gun law” mantra.


kettle

” the founding fathers” The slave owning, only white men can vote and own property.

America did not have woman doctors until the 1880’s.


“All gun laws are an infringement” nra Bullshit.


dland

I love reading comments in these gun control debates from gun control supporters who, with an air of superiority, lecture gun owners about these guns and their characteristics. The ironic part of this is the these same gun control supporters have NO idea of the history and characteristics of such guns that they pontificate about.


paragon

I hate to break it to you, but there are some “gun control supporters” who are ALSO gun owners and very knowledgable about firearms. I owe several guns, enjoy using them and also have no issue with the legislature passing reasonable gun control measures. Saying all gun owners are against any restriction on firearms is like saying all car owners are against any traffic laws. Sorry, but it’s not an “either/or” proposition.


dland

Is your comment directed at me? Because it has nothing to do with what I posted.


I’m talking to the people on here that post about guns when they have no idea what they’re are talking about.


PS. Keep supporting “reasonable gun control measures” and eventually you will not have the guns you own. Several democratic politicians have admitted that the end goal is complete banning and confiscation of firearms and taking little bites of guns at a time is how they will get there.


paragon

It was directed at you because your comment suggests that “gun control supporters” and “gun owners” are completely separate and polar opposite groups. This is more of the “us vs them” narrative that the mainstream media loves to mislead us with.


And thank you for bringing up the tired old gun control slippery slope fallacy about how if we allow even one single reasonable piece of gun legislation to pass, it will somehow open up the floodgates for an unstoppable series of successive laws that will take all of our guns away, so we are better off doing absolutely nothing at all.


That slippery slope argument has no validity. It assumes that we lack cognition and must roll down an incline like a marble. Your fellow citizens are more capable and resourceful than that. We can adopt a promising proposal and then stop, going no further. We can even adopt a measure for a couple of years, assess its effects, then walk it partway or all the way back if we aren’t satisfied. Its hard enough for the legislature to pass a single law, do you really think they will somehow be able to pass multiple successive gun control laws and the courts will just roll over and let them?


derasmus

A single “reasonable”piece of gun legislation?

I’ll remind you that combined, State and Federal, there are over 10k gun laws on the books. We are way past the point of reason. This is about the disarmament of the US Citizenry, plain an simple.


Please stop hiding behind that “reasonable” talking point.


codysan

If it’s such a fallacy, then explain the Soviet Union.


dland

Can you please point out one gun control law that California lawmakers or federal lawmakers have adopted, assessed its effects, then walk it back partway or all the way back?


If democrats get control of all three federal branches of government, yes they will pass successive gun control laws. This isn’t my opinion, the democrats have stated that this is their goal. What is stopping them is the filibuster in the senate, which democrats want to abolish. Also, no democrat appointed Supreme Court justice has voted in favor that the second amendment insures an individual right to firearms. The Supreme Court did not rule the second amendment was a individual right until 2008 with all the democrat justices against it and the republican justices for it. Currently, one of the reasons the democrats have stated they want to “pack the court” is to rule in favor of gun control.


Downtown Bob

The Ca AG’s statement that the so called Assault Weapons ban, as shown in the judges decision, has not reduced at all the crime committed by the same so called Assault weapons. He is not accurate in saying the law has saved lives.


Gordo

Every hunting or “sporting” arm has its origin in a weapon made for war. The iconic bolt action deer rifle was nothing more than a military Mauser, Springfield, Lee-Enfield or Mosin Nagant rifle fitted with a shorter wooden stock and a telescopic sight.

The argument that AR-15 type rifles are designed to kill people and therefore have no place in hunting doesn’t hold water when viewed in historical context.

The civilian AR-15 type rifle is made more lethal by the use of high capacity magazines, not by the semi-automatic action it and many popular sporting arms use.

If you want to reduce the lethality you should limit the capacity of the ammunition magazines that the rifle uses. An AR-15 with a five round magazine isn’t any more dangerous than my semi automatic Browning deer rifle. In fact I would submit my deer rifle would be more dangerous since it fires a more powerful round (.30-06) and has a telescopic sight mounted to it.

All this wailing and nashing of teeth about this type of gun or that type of gun misdirects the energy needed to actually address the epidemic of gun violence in this country.

We have had an assault weapons ban in this state for 30 years and yet we have more legally owned AR-15s in this state than ever before. Why?

The answer is when you tell somebody they can’t have something it makes them want it all the more.

Forget about trying to ban things and instead focus on regulating the sale, possession and use of these items to keep them out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill.


Buchon

“…The civilian AR-15 type rifle is made more lethal by the use of high capacity magazines…”


“The civilian AR-15 type rifle is made more lethal by the use of high capacity magazines”


That’s simply not true. All firearms are potentially “sufficient to cause death” and “harmful or destructive” (the very definitions of “lethal”) no matter their individual ammunition capacity. So are knives, baseball bats and cast iron frying pans.


Gun banners are simply trying to find firearm features (in this case removable magazines which they often incorrectly refer to as “clips”) as a basis for banning them.


In addition to magazine capacity, modern sporting rifles have been banned in CA based on: their make/model number, their ability to accept a removable magazine, their caliber, grip types, telescoping buttstocks, heat shields ( AKA “a shoulder thing that goes up”) and a host of other, often purely cosmetic features.


MrYan

We have had a state ban on assault weapons, not a national ban. Arizona is close and it is a free country.

What separates AR-15 from sporting rifles though is battlefield design.

If you try to fire a semi-automatic hunting rifle more than 30-40 rounds without cooling it the gun will jam-heat expands. Or worse a barrel can warp.

AR-15’s have higher grade steel than a deer rifle and the metal flaring along the barrel are actually heat sinks pulling heat away from the barrel so as not to warp it. It is designed to fire hundreds of rounds without stopping. A deer rifle is not.

There is a reason this is the gun of choice for mass murders. It is efficient.

Regulating their sale (license & training), not banning would make a difference.


Messkit

Ummmm…….no.


There are no “cooling” or “anti-warp” grooves, fins, striations, flarings, or water jackets on an AR15 barrel. It is also not made of super secret “Unobtanium”, just normal firearms quality steel, like 99.9% of all firearms across the world. The handguards of the AR15 and M16 series, are designed to allow cooler air to pass through, so as to keep the HANDGUARDS cool enough to touch.


Semi-auto fire, will require many many hundreds of shots fired, to begin heating the barrel or action enough to fail to operate. The M16 can fire many hundreds at full auto speed, with no serious overheating, even with the gas tube turning bright red from heat (which semi-auto fire could never do). I won’t even point out your blatant error of hundreds of shots fired design, but will jam at 30.


Your average “deer rifle” is a descendant of the Mauser, or Springfield (among others), military issue rifle. Many un-needed combat parts were removed, to make it lighter, shorter, and handier to hunt with……..well over 120 years ago. Nothing new under that sun.


Regulating firearms has ALWAYS historically led to confiscation. Always. The fight at Concord Green was the result of the British trying to confiscate arms from citizens (well, back then we were mere “subjects”)


If banning AR15’s works so good, why isn’t Arizona on top of the list for AR15 mass murder? Arizona is a full auto state. Meaning, that if you pay the requisite federal fees and taxes, wait many many months (or years) to be approved, have not a lick of criminal violations in your personal history, and come up with many tens of thousands of dollars to buy an actual M16, you too can go have fun at the dozens of ranges that host and allow full auto fire.


Finally, FBI stats prove that AR15’s, and ALL longarms (which include shotguns), account for less than 4% of all murders. Fists, feet, clubs, and knives kill far more individually, than rifles and shotguns combined.


hotdog

Looking at the downvotes of sane responders here and what I will get as well convinces me this site gets a lot of traffic from the right wing nut jobs.

For those who imagine they can either protect themselves from or overturn the government with a few AR 15s I imagine a squad of well armed Marines would wipe out legions of red neck gun nuts.

No one needs one of these death machines and if not for your illegitimate allies in Congress the NRA and gun lobby along with many of the manufacturers of these deadly weapons would be out of business due to lawsuits. But no, your minions in power have made that illegal.

I hope, in the next ghastly shooting, that those who adore these guns and their creepy allies in Congress will lose loved ones, maybe then they will come to their senses.


Downtown Bob

It certainly isn’t the sane law abiding citizens shooting or killing anyone, just criminals and the insane. Laws are only going to disarm legitimate firearm owners.


ViolentFelon

I think the marines understand the phrase “Molon Labe.”


dland

It is comical you call people who support gun rights on here “nut jobs” and then you close your post with you hope they will lose love ones in the next “ghastly shooting”.


TopZone

The entire US military with the help of over a dozen NATO countries just lost a 20 year war to a country 10% the size of the USA with 5% of it’s citizens. My numbers are rounded, but fairly close to accurate. Your argument is fallacious. In addition, most Marines are sons of those red neck gun nuts you’re talking about. You’re incredibly wrong. In 2019, according to the FBI, there were less than 400 people in the USA murdered by rifles. That’s in a country with 300 million people. Per capita that’s less than many European countries. Why is this the battle you want to have? Why not go after pistols, that kill thousands of people a year? Why rifles specifically? Have you been programmed?


Francesca Bolognini

I am grateful for the sanity of our California government. A large majority of Americans poll as wanting better and more responsible gun laws, but we still do not have them in most of this country. This is in large part due to the influence bought and paid for by money invested in the NRA. So many of the fanatical owners of inappropriate guns seem completely undisturbed by the fact that a substantial amount of this money came from Russia. That really floors me.


In the previous post on this issue, I made the challenge that if there were some scenario that vindicated the possession of the weapons as more than an inappropriate fixation, if there were some set of circumstances where an individual possessing such a thing protected us from foreign invasion or our own government , somehow, that perhaps I would see their fixation as legitimate.


Well, all I got from the peanut gallery was wild hypotheticals and the usual claims that possessing such weapons made them a challenge to the US Military. Seriously? It amazes me how people who claim all this expertise in weaponry can possibly imagine that to be true. At the very least, they think that repeating it often enough makes it so. That seems to be their belief about a lot of things. But nothing actually works that way.


Individuals do not need to possess weapons designed specifically for killing people in large numbers and quickly. They certainly also do not need said weapons to “hunt”. Our wildlife is endangered enough already. And, simply owning such a thing does not make them a “militia”.


Finally, if ” Guns aren’t the problem. Guns don’t kill people, people kill people”, why do you want the problem to have such a gun?


info

Why is everyone focused on a tool that kills a few dozen of people a year than thousands that are innocently killed by alcohol? I don’t need alcohol so neither should you is a equivalent response. If you really care about lives let’s talk about things that really kill people (i.e. alcohol, hand guns, pharma).


Buchon

TOBACCO!


paragon

A few dozens of people a year? Try 39,707 people killed by firearms in the United States in 2019. You really want to compare that to the 10,142 killed in DUI accidents during the same time period?


TopZone

You are being dishonest. You just moved the goalposts. First of all, you are giving the death statistic. 3/4 of that is suicides. And if you further take that down, there are less than 400 murders with rifles. That is the few dozen the previous poster is talking about. I’m getting numbers from the FBI’s published statistics. So yeah, DUI’s are much more dangerous than rifles are.


paragon

Nope, the original comment nothing about murder. Also, the original comment said a few dozen, and even your claimed number was 400, so why aren’t calling them out for being dishonest and inaccurate, instead of just selectively focusing on my stats which you clearly find inconvenient.


But sure if you want to talk FBI stats, 10,258 people were MURDERED by firearms according to the FBI, which is still slightly more than the 10,142 killed in DUIs and thats not even removing all the people that drove drunk and killed themselves, which is basically suicide.


ViolentFelon

The same people that decry the events of unarmed protesters at the capitol on Jan. 6th as insurrection and a threat to our democracy are those that want to claim guns are useless against the government/military.


Michael Stove

NPR: “Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick died one day after two rioters allegedly sprayed him and other officers with what prosecutors describe as an “unknown chemical substance.” Four other people in the crowd died in the insurrection, and more than 100 police officers suffered injuries, including cracked ribs, gouged eyes and shattered spinal disks.”


I saw bats, batons, spikes, spears, sprays, hammers, and all manner of other objects being used as weapons as a bunch of conspiracy minded traitors tried to occupy the capital, capture Pence, and delay certification of the election so Trump could be installed as a undemocratically President of the USA. They were armed. They should have been dealt with accordingly.


codysan

Sounds like a CNN soundbite


codysan

I’d like to know what you think of all the riots that happened the summer before the January 6th deal


Adam Trask

“Unarmed”?


I have to believe that if you were attacked by flag poles, rocks, bricks and bear spray, you’d say the attackers were armed.


Messkit

Just like Antifa! Oh. Wait. Those idiots are mostly peaceful…or something.


DonDiego

Your argument is extremely flawed. The 2nd Amendment of United States Constitution gives United States Citizens the right to keep and bear arms. Why is this so hard to understand? You can try to make all of the arguments you want on how an armed populace could never stand up against an evil government. That is your right. Fortunately, there is a silent majority willing to die to keep the United States a free country at any cost.


Gun laws make people like yourself feel good. Maybe because you want to take the joy out of someone else’s life who enjoys owning and shooting firearms? I don’t see you making any fuss over the thousands of criminals being let out of prison just because prisons are a little crowded, When “Thou shalt not kill.” was made into a law, as in murder is illegal, what else do you think will actually keep people from murdering their fellow human? There is no such thing as a little bit of murder! It is like being a little bit pregnant!


choprzrul

Francesca, you should go read Judge Benitez’s decision carefully to get the answers you seek.


Secondly, since when are Civil Rights about….and I quote from your post….”…need…” ? You are born with a complete set of Civil Rights. The Bill of Rights outlines restrictions on government intrusion into the Civil Rights of law abiding citizens.


Your post above seems to openly advocate for the oppression of Civil Rights…..is that really your position?


FoxtrotYankee

If history teaches us anything, it’s that the military doesn’t always win. Al Qaeda, Isis, Vietkong, American Whigs, all stood up to invading forces with guerilla tactics and firepower that was significantly dwarfed by their opponent. The fact that the invaders retreated — tells the story of why being ‘armed’ actually works.


Now, take ‘war’ out of the equation and look at smaller examples of oppression.


Back in the 60’s the Black Panther’s were “copwatching” in Oakland. If the police made a stop, the Panthers would supervise the interaction — while fully armed (since Open-Carry was legal). Do you think any unarmed black people were shot by police during those supervisions? Obviously, not. Shortly after the “Mulford Act” outlawed the ability to Open Carry in California and we continue to see “Oscar Grant” events.


It sounds like you’re left-leaning. What do you think of all citizens being disarmed and a fascist Trump-like president being in power? For example, all citizens are disarmed, a “Trump” loses the election but then via military force (and propaganda) overthrows the government via coup. Those who peacefully protest are executed in the streets. You know, the exact scenario that is happening today in Myanmar. Would you feel safe and secure knowing you and your neighbors have absolutely no way to defend your community? I’m sure the police would be there to protect you, right?


It might seem far-fetched because you get to browse your phone while sitting in the drive-through at Starbucks, but outside of your bubble it’s very real. And your bubble may not last forever.


Gun control is designed to oppress law-abiding citizens and especially the minorities within.


derasmus

Nicely written!


slo-to-load

Funny how some of the strongest advocates for State’s rights in managing their own affairs without Federal interference quickly change their tune when it comes to a state doing something they don’t like.


kayaknut

You mean when the States does something that violates the United States Constitution?, yeah funny………


skidmark

States cannot take away your constitutional rights


derasmus

Well. Not officially, but here in California, they have,


shelworth

Hey Newsom, your ignorance is showing. AR 15s are not used in war. They are “Sporting Rifles”. Performance is no different than a Ruger Mini-14. They just look scary to you.


kayaknut

They look scary to Newsom when the law abiding folks have them, as we all know his gun laws did absolutely nothing to prevent the criminals from having and using guns.


Michael Stove

As someone who currently owns a Ruger Mini-14 and in the past several ARs, this statement is patently false. The AR is a far superior weapon. The reloading mechanism of the Mini-14 is completely different and can affect the over all fire rate by several dozen rounds per min. Not to mention the ability of the AR to be modified in a myriad of ways to increase fire rate, conceal-ability, and weight to make it more effective at its originally designed purpose, which is to kill things. There is a reason you see the boogaloo boys, fake militia men, and many mass shooters using the AR platform.


shelworth

There’s endless information comparing the two rifles, If you would take the time to sound out the words I wrote, I said the “Performance” of the rifles is the same, they differ mostly in looks. But the Mini can be had with a wooden stock making it a more Friendly looking rifle. The AR15, AK47, Mini 14 and Mini 30 are all similar in function, but the AR15 is scary to most people who are ignorant of firearms.


https://www.opb.org/news/article/gun-design-form-function-ar-15-comparison-mini-14/


Michael Stove

“Performance is no different than a Ruger Mini-14.”


I did read it. This sentence if false. They look and perform differently. It is far easier for a untrained civilian to kill dozens with a AR and a Mini due to its performance. Which is why they should be banned.


Cthulhu Colander

Ruger made a select fire variant of the Mini-14. Didn’t you ever watch The A Team?


the alaskan

Oh bs. I own a mini14 and it shoots as fast as you can pull the trigger just like an AR.


Michael Stove

This is simply not true. Anyone who cares can find Youtube videos showing the difference.


fredpacker

You don’t know jack about firearms. ArmaLite’s own definition says the AR-15 is a rifle manufactured in the United States between 1959 and 1964 and was adopted by the United States Armed Forces as the M16 rifle.


Your statement is an insult to every service member of our brave military that risked their live in a real “war” armed with an AR-15 derived M16.


Messkit

All the prototypes presented to the Army procurement board, had their own model designations. Armalite used AR (AR-5, AR-7, AR-10, AR-15, AR-18, AR-180, AR-30, AR-31, and AR-50). Springfield Arms, International Harvester, Fabrique Nationale, Colt, all had their own.


The AR-10, and AR-15 were chosen by the Army (but the AR-10 was not picked up), contracted to Colt, and received the XM15 then 16 designation during trials. Initial issue was to Air Force crews, and kept the AR-15 moniker (I have worked on these particular rifles in the early 2000’s. They are still safely in the hands of the US Air Force). All others were changed to M-16 when the Army accepted the rifle for general issue in 1964.


In 1963, Colt first offered the AR-15 Sporting Rifle for sale to the civilian market. Numerous military parts were withheld, and full-auto machining work was not performed, in order to facilitate safe semi-auto operation only. For nearly 60 years, ordinary people have been buying the AR15 for target shooting, hunting, plinking, competition, and……defense of self, family, and nation.


Michael Stove, you speak of semantics. Semi-auto operation is functionally the same, regardless of the process or platform.


Semi-auto firearms have been offered for sale to civilians since the turn of the last century. If it took well over 100 years for them to be called a problem to society, are they really a problem, or are they just an easy focus for politicians to hoist their petards upon, and fool gullible people that have less than a clue about firearms? FBI stats say that less than 4% of all firearm crime, is done with ALL longarms, which includes rifles and shotguns. You have a better chance of being beaten to death by a fist, and are way more likely to die of a knife or stabbing wound.


So why all the hand-wringing, and teeth gnashing over a 4% crime stat? Democrat votes. Democrat politicians love stupid people.


shelworth

You better go look up what “Automatic” and “Semi-automatic” mean in regards to firearms…


aft50s

Hey Packer


Having personally used an original AR-15, an M16 in the service, and a civilian AR-15, it is you who knows little about the subject.


The original AR-15 was ONLY full auto and the rights to manufacturer it was sold to Colt.


The Colt M-16 was select fire, and the civilian (what you can own in Cali) AR-15 is semi-auto.


Join the military if you want to learn more on the subject, There’s a Gunnery Sargent out there who will be happy to school you on a great many gun related subjects.