22 States Call On 9th Circuit To Uphold Ruling Striking Down California Assault Weapons Ban

(Photo by AMY OSBORNE/AFP via Getty Images)

Brianna Lyman News and Commentary Writer
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Twenty-two states filed a brief Wednesday asking the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold a lower judge’s ruling striking down California’s assault weapons ban.

The coalition of Republican states, led by Arizona, argue California’s ban on so-called assault weapons threatens the Second Amendment.

“Calling modern rifles ‘assault weapons’ is a misnomer – they are most often used by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes like personal protection or target and sport shooting,” the group wrote. “There is nothing sinister about citizens keeping or bearing a modern rifle. Law-abiding citizens keeping and bearing modern rifles benefit public safety, counter-balance the threat of illegal gun violence, and help make our homes and streets safer.”

The group said they decided to intervene not because “they disagree with California’s policy choice, but because the challenged law represents a policy choice that the Second Amendment forecloses.”

“California should not be permitted to invade its own citizens’ constitutional rights, and this Court should not imperil the rights of citizens in this Circuit and other states with its analysis.”

The states argue that California’s ban affects guns used by “millions of law-abiding citizens” and “criminalizes mere possession of commonly-used arms,” striking “at the core of the Second Amendment.”

WASHINGTON - APRIL 19: A man stands next to a sign pro-gun rally organized by the Second Amendment March group, near the Washington Monument April 19, 2010 in Washington, DC. Known as Patriots' Day, April 19 is also the anniversary of the American Revolutionary War battles of Lexington and Concord, the Oklahoma City bombing and the attack of the Branch Dividian compound. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON – APRIL 19: A man stands next to a sign pro-gun rally organized by the Second Amendment March group, near the Washington Monument April 19, 2010 in Washington, DC.  (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Attorney generals from Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming signed the brief.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich said the brief was about protecting American’s rights. (RELATED: California City Mandates Videotaping Of Gun Purchases)

“Our Second Amendment is constantly under attack from out-of-touch Californians and ignorant special interest groups. America must never abandon her law-abiding citizens and their fundamental right to defend themselves.”

Democratic California Attorney General Rob Bonta filed an appeal June 10 challenging District Judge Roger Benitez’s ruling, which found that “under no level of heightened scrutiny can the [ban on assault weapons] survive.”

Similar to the argument being made by the coalition of states, Benitez ruled firearms like the AR-15 are a “popular” choice for “home defense” and “the kind of versatile gun that lies at the intersection of the kinds of firearms protected under District of Columbia v. Heller and United States v. Miller.

Benitez ruled the case is about an “average” gun being used “in average ways for average purposes.”

Bonta said he “won’t rest in the fight to defend our state’s commonsense gun laws. Weapons of war don’t belong on our streets.”

Bonta said the ban on assault weapons was about protecting Californians, not infringing on their rights.

“The ban on assault weapons will not put an end to all gun violence, but it is one important tool the state has to protect the safety of Californians while also respecting the rights of law-abiding residents who choose to possess firearms.”