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The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals blocked a federal judge’s ruling that California’s ban on assault weapons was unconstitutional.
A three-judge panel issued a stay of U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez’s order on Monday, less than two weeks after the initial ruling.
California Attorney General Rob Bonta said the court’s decision “leaves our assault weapons laws in effect while appellate proceedings continue,” adding, “We won’t stop defending these life-saving laws.”
On June 4, Benitez ruled against California's ban on certain semi-automatic rifles, which has been in place since 1989. The judge, a President George W. Bush appointee, said AR-15s and other similar firearms are not "extraordinary weapons lying at the outer limits of Second Amendment protection,” comparing an AR-15 to a Swiss Army knife.
"Like the Swiss Army Knife, the popular AR-15 rifle is a perfect combination of home defense weapon and homeland defense equipment," the judge wrote in his decision. "Good for both home and battle ... Yet, the State of California makes it a crime to have an AR-15 type rifle. Therefore, this Court declares the California statutes to be unconstitutional."
Following Benitez’s ruling, he gave the state 30 days to file an appeal, which Bonta did less than a week later.
The Firearms Policy Coalition, a pro-Second Amendment group, promised to oppose the appeal as it criticized leadership in the state for seeking to protect the "unconstitutional ban."
"The first duty of our federal courts is to uphold the Constitution and protect the People’s fundamental rights enshrined therein," the group said in a statement following the appellate court's ruling. "But today, as it has too many times before, the fanatically anti-Second Amendment Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals elected to disregard that fundamental duty, ignore the text and public meaning of our Constitution, and fail the very People they swore an oath to serve."
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Original Author: Mike Brest