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Court Decision Sets Back Reasonable Gun Control LegislationRalph E. Stone, Salem-News.com Commentary
Pro-gun Judge compares AR-15 rifle to a pocket knife.
(SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.) - I am very disappointed in U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez of the Southern District of California's ruling overturning California’s ban on assault weapons.
Judge Benitez misapplied District of Columbia v. Heller by minimizing the killing power of assault weapons.
California’s assault rifle ban is modeled after the federal assault weapons ban which expired in 2004.
Like most constitutional rights, the Supreme Court in Heller explained, “the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.”
For example, the Fourth Circuit in Kolbe v. Hogan upheld an assault rifle ban on the ground that AR-15s are not protected arms under the Second Amendment ruling that the civilian AR-15 is an “exceptionally lethal weapon of war” that is “like” the fully automatic military M16, and therefore not constitutionally protected.”
At least four courts have upheld such bans.
I expect this case will eventually reach the U.S. Supreme Court, which, as yet, has not ruled on this issue. Assault weapons and/or high-capacity magazines resulted in far more deaths and injuries and were disproportionately used in public mass shootings.
While bans on assault weapons and high capacity magazines will not end the gun violence rampage in this country, studies have shown that states with weaker gun laws and higher gun ownership rates have higher rates of mass shootings.
For Judge Benitez to call such firearms: “Like the Swiss Army Knife, the popular AR-15 rifle is a perfect combination of home defense weapon and homeland defense equipment” is absurd. I am not aware of any mass killings where the killer used a Swiss Army Knife.
In 2019, Judge Benitez overturned California's ban on large capacity magazines, calling such restrictions a violation of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. This decision was affirmed by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals although the 9th Circuit agreed to rehear the case en banc on June 22, 2021.
Sadly, overturning these California bans comes on the heels of the San Jose mass shooting and while the Senate is considering reasonable gun control legislation.
Sadly, in this violent nation of ours, there seems to be a disconnect between our Second Amendment "right to keep and bear arms" and the number of mass killings in our country.
Articles for June 7, 2021 |
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