NewsCovering California

Actions

What it means now that the state is appealing the assault weapons ban ruling

California Assault Weapons
Posted at 10:00 AM, Jun 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-10 20:42:50-04

(KERO) — California Attorney General Rob Bonta and Governor Gavin Newsom announced Thursday that the state has appealed a recent decision by a federal judge to overturn California's three-decade-old ban on assault weapons.

Last week a federal judge ruled that California's ban on assault weapons violates the constitutional right to bear arms.

U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez of San Diego ruled that the state's definition of illegal military-style rifles unlawfully deprives law-abiding Californians of weapons commonly allowed in most other states and by the U.S. Supreme Court.

"Under no level of heightened scrutiny can the law survive," Benitez said. He issued a permanent injunction against enforcement of the law but stayed it for 30 days to give state Attorney General Rob Bonta time to appeal.

Gov. Gavin Newsom condemned the decision, calling it "a direct threat to public safety and the lives of innocent Californians, period."

Attorney Sean Brady of Michel and Associates, which represents the California Rifle and Pistol Association, said the critical thing to know right now is that there is no change in the law at this juncture.

“This ruling does not have any immediate effect and people should not be going out and buying an AR from Nevada and bringing it in or something like that,” Brady said.

At a press briefing Thursday, AG Bonta said the 32-year-old ban on assault weapons is a critical component in practicing responsible gun control policy, and keeping Californians safe. However, the judge said the weapon is a useful tool for home defense and the ban was unconstitutional.

“There are some guns that cannot be sold, manufactured, possessed. Short-barreled shotguns, machine guns," Bonta said. "We think that assault weapons as defined by California law fall into that category.”

So when could a decision be reached about the future of assault weapons? Brady says it will partly depend on other second amendment-related cases currently at the u.s. court of appeals for the ninth circuit.

Cases like Rupp v. Becerra, a previous challenge to California's “assault weapon” ban, and Duncan v. Becerra, a challenge to magazine capacity limits.

“It’s certainly possible that California could overturn that ruling,” Brady said. “Those cases will almost certainly have an impact if they are affirmed.”

Brady says the process to decide the cases could take months, or even longer.