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California's Ban on Assault Weapons to Remain in Effect as Judges Grant Delay 2024-04-17 04:38:53

California's ban on assault weapons will remain in effect until the court decides whether the 30-year-old law is unconstitutional.

A majority of 2:1 in a panel of three judges from the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals granted an administrative stay on Saturday while the state appeals a lower court ruling that struck down the law. The appeals court is expected to hear oral arguments on the matter in December.

"We must protect our communities from this dangerous weaponry. We know these restrictions help prevent mass casualty events and save lives," said California Attorney General Rob Bonta in a statement.

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Bonta emphasized the importance of strict gun laws in light of a mass shooting in the state of Maine last week, which resulted in 18 deaths.

President Biden advocates for an assault weapons ban, but Republican leaders remain opposed. POLITICS President Biden advocates for an assault weapons ban, but Republican leaders remain opposed. California's law restricts the manufacture, transportation, sale, and possession of certain types of firearms that the state considers "assault weapons."

On October 19, U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez of San Diego ruled that the state's ban on the sale of semi-automatic firearms violated the Second Amendment.

"California asserts that its ban on so-called 'assault weapons,' a term of uncertain definition and scope, furthers an important government interest in public safety. Yet, at the same time, the state makes it a crime for law-abiding citizens to own, to possess, to use, and to keep commonly used arms," Benitez wrote his opinion in a 79-page ruling.

A poll showed that most gun owners support modest restrictions but deeply distrust the government. POLITICS A poll showed that most gun owners support modest restrictions but deeply distrust the government. The judge had previously attempted to overturn the state's ban. In 2021, Benitez likened the assault rifle to a Swiss Army knife, calling it the perfect combination of a homeland defense weapon and a national defense equipment. This decision was also appealed by the state's attorney general. Later, the case was dismissed by the 9th Circuit and remanded back to Benitez.

In 1989, California became the first state in the country to ban military-style assault weapons. This measure was enacted in response to a mass shooting on a schoolyard in Stockton, where five children were killed and 28 others, including a teacher, were wounded.

In 2021, Bonta told Morning Edition NPR that a major misconception in California's law is that AR-15 rifles are completely banned. Bonta said that California residents can legally possess certain types of AR-15 rifles that are less powerful or lack characteristics of an assault rifle.

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