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BREAKING: FPC Wins “Assault Weapon” Lawsuit in Historic Victory for Second Amendment Rights

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SAN DIEGO, CA (June 4, 2021) — Today, Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) announced that Judge Roger T. Benitez of the Southern District of California has issued an opinion in Miller v. Bonta (previously Miller v. Becerra), holding that California’s tyrannical ban on so-called “assault weapons” is unconstitutional under the Second Amendment. The opinion, along with other filings in this case, can be viewed at AssaultWeaponLawsuit.com.

View: https://youtu.be/yMS0_QxPJUU
 
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Garys

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Just the first step on the ladder. This is a federal court decision for the Southern District of CA. It will no doubt be appealed to the Ninth Circuit, which will likely overturn the lower court decision. If the the three judge Circuit panel upholds the decision, it will very, very likely end up with an en banc review.

The Chief of the Ninth Circuit is very anti 2A and the Chief always sits on en banc reviews. Despite the good work in getting judges appointed by President Trump, the Ninth still has a liberal majority. OTOH, circuit courts can sit on a case as long as they want, there is no time limit. So, it could be years before they render a decision.

Then, it will end up being appealed to the Supreme Court no matter who wins or loses.

So, I wouldn't expect this to be resolved for five or more years.

Here's a link to the entire judgement. I'm told that Pages 1 and 93 have the best details.


My error, that's just the order, not the full decision. Here is the full decision,

 

PappyM3

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What this means for MA is that we have a better shot at a case going before the Supreme Court. If the ruling stands, then there is a conflict between circuits, which makes it more likely SCOTUS will hear an AWB case. Sadly, still unlikely.

But, I have a feeling CA will request it be heard en banc. So, it would then also need to be declared unconstitutional then too. THEN, we can hope for the SCOTUS to hear a case.
 

Mesatchornug

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Miller v Bonta decision here:
Second sentence of the decision brings us Heller and Miller
Good for both home and battle,
the AR-15 is the kind of versatile gun that lies at the intersection of the kinds of firearms
protected under District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008) and United States v
Miller, 307 U.S. 174 (1939).

CA AG response here:
 

Mesatchornug

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“Disproportionately used in crimes and mass shootings”. Good luck with that complete misstatement. And with politicians trying to expand the definition of a mass shooting, this will further demonstrate that few crimes involve ARs or rifles generally.
The decision is explicitly clear that the quoted statement isn't true. I'm only a couple pages in, but it's pretty solid. The number of times he notes the legislature was "unencumbered by constitutional considerations" in the drafting of their 1989 AWB is straight up savage.

Edit to add quote:
One is to be forgiven if one is persuaded by news media and others that the nation is awash with murderous AR-15 assault rifles. The facts, however, do not support this hyperbole, and facts matter.

Everyone should toast the judge, and the plaintiff and his legal team.

This is potentially huge.
 
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cstockwell

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I am wondering if his statement below will have any implications to our EOPS list if this is upheld by SCOTUS

Benitez argued the state’s definition of illegal military-style rifles bans firearms allowed in other states, depriving California gun owners of their rights.
 

Mesatchornug

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I am wondering if his statement below will have any implications to our EOPS list if this is upheld by SCOTUS
Seems we'd need a different case. For good or ill, the EOPSS list at least has specific reasoning and articulated definitions. They'll say that any vendor is free to submit for testing.

The AG's non-list, however...
 

Devils Paintbrush

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What this means for MA is that we have a better shot at a case going before the Supreme Court. If the ruling stands, then there is a conflict between circuits, which makes it more likely SCOTUS will hear an AWB case. Sadly, still unlikely.

But, I have a feeling CA will request it be heard en banc. So, it would then also need to be declared unconstitutional then too. THEN, we can hope for the SCOTUS to hear a case.
This is all good and well at this point, but I have crossed the will not comply river a long time ago.

A government that can't follow their own laws for convenience and control has not earned my compliance or respect.

Hope for the best, but expect the worst.

Ted Kennedy's car has killed more people than my guns ever will.
 

ToddDubya

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“Disproportionately used in crimes and mass shootings”. Good luck with that complete misstatement. And with politicians trying to expand the definition of a mass shooting, this will further demonstrate that few crimes involve ARs or rifles generally.
I tend to agree with that statement. There are a shitload of them out there and they aren't used very often.
 
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“Disproportionately used in crimes and mass shootings”. Good luck with that complete misstatement. And with politicians trying to expand the definition of a mass shooting, this will further demonstrate that few crimes involve ARs or rifles generally.
It is not a misstatement, it is a lie. Call it what it is.
 

LittleCalm

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The anti 2A crowd fundamentally is just politicizing the AR15 and “assault rifle” platform because they are so against 2A. The reality if you look at the FBI’s violent crime stats is that the number of crimes committed with ALL rifles is negligible. And even the number of crimes committed with handguns is very small compared to other types of weapons (eg, hands, knives). When you take suicides out of the equation, the number of gun-related deaths is even smaller - like less than 20K per year. Compare that to things like medical malpractice and the gun violence narrative is just that - a narrative that is a political weapon to gain votes. Nothing more. There is no math or science backing up the narrative. Years ago before I educated myself on the subject, I thought who needs ARs. Then I looked at the facts and realized that I was being used. It was a real eye opener. I urge everyone to educate themselves by doing their own homework by looking at the raw data.
 

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SAN DIEGO, CA (June 4, 2021) — Today, Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) announced that Judge Roger T. Benitez of the Southern District of California has issued an opinion in Miller v. Bonta (previously Miller v. Becerra), holding that California’s tyrannical ban on so-called “assault weapons” is unconstitutional under the Second Amendment. The opinion, along with other filings in this case, can be viewed at AssaultWeaponLawsuit.com.

In 2019, FPC developed and filed Miller v. Becerra, a federal Second Amendment challenge to California’s Assault Weapons Control Act (AWCA) ban on common semiautomatic arms with certain characteristics, including those with ammunition magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds. Throughout the lawsuit, FPC argued that the State’s ban prohibits arms that are constitutionally protected, no more lethal than other certain arms that are not banned, and commonly possessed and used for lawful purposes in the vast majority of the United States.

 

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SAN DIEGO, CA (June 4, 2021) — Today, Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) announced that Judge Roger T. Benitez of the Southern District of California has issued an opinion in Miller v. Bonta (previously Miller v. Becerra), holding that California’s tyrannical ban on so-called “assault weapons” is unconstitutional under the Second Amendment. The opinion, along with other filings in this case, can be viewed at AssaultWeaponLawsuit.com.

In 2019, FPC developed and filed Miller v. Becerra, a federal Second Amendment challenge to California’s Assault Weapons Control Act (AWCA) ban on common semiautomatic arms with certain characteristics, including those with ammunition magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds. Throughout the lawsuit, FPC argued that the State’s ban prohibits arms that are constitutionally protected, no more lethal than other certain arms that are not banned, and commonly possessed and used for lawful purposes in the vast majority of the United States.

In the opinion, the Court ruled that many categories of firearms California bans as so-called “assault weapons” are protected by the Second Amendment, and that “[t]he Second Amendment stands as a shield from government imposition of that policy.” It went on to order an injunction against “Defendant Attorney General Rob Bonta, and his officers, agents, servants, employees, and attorneys, and those persons in active concert or participation with him, and those duly sworn state peace officers and federal law enforcement officers who gain knowledge of this injunction order or know of the existence of this injunction order,” preventing them “from implementing or enforcing” the following:

  • California Penal Code §§ 30515(a)(1) through (8) (defining an “assault weapon” by prohibited features);
  • § 30800 (deeming those “assault weapons” a public nuisance);
  • § 30915 (regulating those “assault weapons” obtained by bequest or inheritance);
  • § 30925 (restricting importation of those “assault weapons” by new residents);
  • § 30945 (restricting use of those registered “assault weapons”) ;
  • §30950 (prohibiting possession of those “assault weapons” by minors); and,
  • the penalty provisions §§ 30600, 30605 and 30800 as applied to “assault weapons” defined in Code §§ 30515(a)(1) through (8).
 

jpk

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The decision is explicitly clear that the quoted statement isn't true. I'm only a couple pages in, but it's pretty solid. The number of times he notes the legislature was "unencumbered by constitutional considerations" in the drafting of their 1989 AWB is straight up savage.

Edit to add quote:


Everyone should toast the judge, and the plaintiff and his legal team.

This is potentially huge.

WRT the AG's response that "these guns are used disproportionately in crimes" <paraphrased> is true if you consider that under california's laws currently its a crime to own one.

If on the other hand we look at statistics from UCR that show frequency that "long guns" of which AR's etc are a member of and their rate of use in crimes......the number drops to near zero.......people use hands and feet to kill more people than long guns most years
 

strangenh

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The judge, you'll note, couched the decision as being necessary under any level of heightened scrutiny. That's interesting and cautious (and probably was in the FPC brief) in case the Supreme Court for some reason settles on intermediate scrutiny rather than strict scrutiny for the 2nd. I.e., the judge noted we don't have a Supreme Court decision setting the level of scrutiny due the 2nd yet, but wrote that the CA AWB would fail the test under even intermediate scrutiny. He also talks about how "facts matter," which could be a hook to make the decision stick under even the low scrutiny rational basis test.
 

Pyromancer

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Had to go all the way to 🇮🇪 for this one boys. In BOLD

Overturning the ban would allow not only assault rifles, but things like assault shotguns and assault pistols, state officials said.

But Mr Benitez disagreed.

He said: “This case is not about extraordinary weapons lying at the outer limits of Second Amendment protection. The banned ‘assault weapons’ are not bazookas, howitzers, or machine guns. Those arms are dangerous and solely useful for military purposes
.”

Despite California’s ban, there currently are an estimated 185,569 assault weapons registered with the state, the judge said.

“This is an average case about average guns used in average ways for average purposes,” the ruling said.

“One is to be forgiven if one is persuaded by news media and others that the nation is awash with murderous AR-15 assault rifles. The facts, however, do not support this hyperbole, and facts matter.”

Mr Benitez added: “In California, murder by knife occurs seven times more often than murder by rifle.”
– PA
 

El_Guapo77

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Had to go all the way to 🇮🇪 for this one boys. In BOLD

Overturning the ban would allow not only assault rifles, but things like assault shotguns and assault pistols, state officials said.

But Mr Benitez disagreed.

He said: “This case is not about extraordinary weapons lying at the outer limits of Second Amendment protection. The banned ‘assault weapons’ are not bazookas, howitzers, or machine guns. Those arms are dangerous and solely useful for military purposes.”

Despite California’s ban, there currently are an estimated 185,569 assault weapons registered with the state, the judge said.

“This is an average case about average guns used in average ways for average purposes,” the ruling said.

“One is to be forgiven if one is persuaded by news media and others that the nation is awash with murderous AR-15 assault rifles. The facts, however, do not support this hyperbole, and facts matter.”

Mr Benitez added: “In California, murder by knife occurs seven times more often than murder by rifle.”
– PA
I like this judge
 

Rocco Mozz

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Sorry for the ignorant question, but does this mean that while they appeal the decision the law is stricken from the books, sort of speak, and people in CA can buy these firearms?
 
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