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Judge Rules California Assault Weapons Ban Unconstitutional

Federal Judge Roger Benitez ruled that a California law banning assault weapons is unconstitutional, Reuters reports. Benitez said the prohibition enacted in 1989 against semi-automatic weapons could not stand under a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year that expanded gun rights. Benitez issued an injunction blocking the law, but put that on hold for 10 days so the state could appeal. California Attorney General Rob Bonta said he would appeal, calling the judge's decision "dangerous and misguided. ... Weapons of war have no place on California's streets."

The Supreme Court last year struck down New York state's limits on carrying concealed handguns outside the home. In that decision, the Supreme Court established a new legal test for firearms restrictions, saying they must be "consistent with this nation's historical tradition of firearm regulation" to pass muster. In the California case, Benitez wrote that there were "no founding era dead ringers or historical twins" for California's assault weapons ban, and that the state could point to no historical laws before it adopted its ban that restricted rifles as they advanced technologically. California in 1989 became the first U.S. state to ban assault weapons, acting after a school shooting that killed five children.


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