How Can California's 'Assault Weapon' Ban Be Unconstitutional?

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Posted: Jun 09, 2021 12:01 AM

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When California legislators enacted the country’s first ban on military-style rifles in 1989, they gave no weight to the fundamental right of armed self-defense guaranteed by the Second Amendment: a right the U.S. Supreme Court did not explicitly acknowledge until nearly two decades later. But as U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez observed in his ruling against California’s “assault weapon” ban last Friday, it should now be clear that the outright prohibition of such firearms cannot pass constitutional muster.

California’s Assault Weapons Control Act, which is similar to laws enforced by a handful of other states, originally applied to a list of more than 50 specific brands and models. In 1999, the law was amended to cover any semi-automatic, centerfire rifle that accepts a detachable magazine and has any of the following features: a pistol grip that “protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon,” a forward pistol grip, a thumbhole stock, a folding or telescoping stock, a flash suppressor or a grenade/flare

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