9th Circuit Blocks Lower Court’s Overturning Of California’s Assault Weapons Ban

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The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals blocked a federal judge’s ruling Monday that overturned California’s ban on assault weapons.

The three judge panel issued a stay on Judge Roger Benitez’s ruling, which means the current ban on the firearms will stay in place while other proceedings continue.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta, who had appealed Benitez’s ruling, celebrated the stay on Twitter.

“This leaves our assault weapons laws in effect while appellate proceedings continue. We won’t stop defending these life-saving laws.”

Benitez ruled June 4th the state’s ban on so-called assault weapons infringes on the Second Amendment, noting other states and the Supreme Court permit the very same weapons.

“Under no level of heightened scrutiny can the law survive,” Benitez ruled, comparing “the popular AR-15 rifle” to a “Swiss Army knife.”

“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,” he ruled, noting Californians are more likely to die in a knife attack than by a rifle, citing FBI statistics.

Bonta appealed the ruling, asking the 9th Circuit to stay Benitez’s ruling. Bonta argued the ban on the weapons was about protecting Californian’s rather than infringing on their rights. (RELATED: ‘Missouri Will Defend Its Citizens’: State Shoots Back At DOJ Over Gun Laws)

“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.”

Twenty-two Republican-led states then filed a brief asking the 9th Circuit to uphold Benitez’s ruling.

“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 coalition wrote.

The group said they filed the brief not because “they disagree with California’s policy choice, but because the challenged law represents a policy choice that the Second Amendment foreclosures.”