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California lifts ban on assault weapons that has been in effect for more than 30 years

A federal judge overturned a California assault weapon ban three decades ago, calling it a "failed experiment" that violates people's constitutional right to bear arms. Writes about it AP News.

Photo: Shutterstock

US District Judge Roger Benitez of San Diego ruled that the state's determination of illegal military-grade rifles illegally deprives law-abiding Californians of weapons normally permitted in most other states and by the US Supreme Court.

The judge issued a permanent ban on the law, but left it for 30 days to give state attorney general Rob Bonte time to appeal.

California Governor Gavin Newsom condemned the decision and called it "a direct threat to public safety and the lives of innocent Californians."

In his 94-page ruling, the judge spoke favorably about modern weapons and said they were overwhelmingly used for legal reasons.

“Like the Swiss army knife, the popular AR-15 rifle is the perfect combination of national defense and home defense weapons,” the judge said.

The comparison “completely undermines the credibility of this decision and is a slap in the face for families who have lost loved ones to this weapon,” Newsom said in a statement. "We are not giving up on the fight and will continue to push for sound gun laws that will save lives."

Bonta called the decision erroneous and said that it would be appealed.

Prohibition of assault weapons

California first enacted a ban on assault weapons in 1989, and several changes have been made to the law since then.

Assault weapons are more dangerous than other firearms by law, and are disproportionately used in crime, mass shooting and against law enforcement, resulting in more casualties, the state attorney general argued, and prohibiting their use “promotes important interests state security ".

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The increase in sales of over 1,16 million other types of pistols, rifles and shotguns last year shows that the assault weapon ban has not prevented law-abiding citizens from acquiring a range of firearms for legitimate purposes, including self-defense.

According to state officials, similar restrictions on the use of assault weapons were previously upheld by six other federal district and appeals courts. Officials said lifting the ban would allow not only the use of assault rifles, but also assault rifles and assault pistols.

But Benitez disagreed.

“This case is not about unusual weapons outside the protection of the Second Amendment. Prohibited "assault weapons" are not bazookas, howitzers or machine guns. This weapon is dangerous and useful exclusively for military purposes, says his decree. "Instead, firearms that are considered 'assault weapons' are fairly common, popular and modern."

The judge said that despite California's ban, there are currently approximately 185 assault weapons registered in the state.

They were acquired even before the introduction of the definition of assault weapons in California.

“This is the average case where conventional weapons are used in the usual way for ordinary purposes,” the decree says. “The media and others are convincing that the nation is awash with AR-15 assassinations. However, the facts do not support this exaggeration, and the facts matter. "

“In California, knife murder is seven times more likely than rifle murder,” the judge added.

He also called the ban "an ongoing failed experiment that fails to achieve its goals of preventing mass shootings or attacks on law enforcement officials."

In his preliminary ruling in September, Benitez said the complex legal definition of assault weapons in California could lure law-abiding gun owners into a trap that could, among other things, strip them of their right to own firearms.

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The lawsuit filed by the San Diego County Gun Owners' Political Action Committee, California Gun Rights Foundation, Second Amendment Foundation and the Firearms Policy Coalition is one of several lawsuits filed by firearms protection groups challenging California firearms laws , which are among the strictest in the country.

The right to arms in the United States

In the United States, the right to own a gun is protected by the Second Amendment to the Constitution, adopted back in 1791. According to 2018, the country ranked first in the number of weapons among the civilian population (more than 120 units per 100 people), writes Hromadske.

Since the beginning of the year in the United States, according to the Gun Violence Archive, more than 230 mass shootings have already taken place (that is, those in which four or more people died). In total, more than 7 Americans were killed by weapons.

Against the backdrop of an increase in the number of cases of violence with the use of weapons in the United States, there are calls for tougher legislation regarding control of its circulation. The current administration of US President Joe Biden is also in favor of this.

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