Appeals Court Blocks Ruling Overturning California’s Assault Weapons Ban

An appeals court temporarily blocked a federal judge’s ruling overturning California’s longstanding assault weapons ban, The New York Times reports.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a stay of the ruling on Monday, allowing the ban to remain while it reviews the state’s appeal.

"This leaves our assault weapons laws in effect while appellate proceedings continue," State Attorney General Rob Bonta said on Twitter. "We won't stop defending these life-saving laws."

Judge Roger Benitez, who issued the original ruling, said in his decision that weapons that have been banned under the law are "fairly ordinary, popular, modern rifles."

"Like the Swiss Army Knife, the popular AR-15 rifle is a perfect combination of home defense weapon and homeland defense equipment," he said, drawing ire on the left.

Appeals court gives proceedings more time:

Benitez gave the state 30 days to appeal the ruling in his decision, which Bonta did less than a week later, calling the decision “fundamentally flawed.”

Under the stay from the appeals panel, both sides will have to file status updates within 14 days.

“The stay shall remain in effect until further order of this court,” the judges wrote.

Benitez is a George W. Bush appointee while the three judges on the appeals panel were appointed by Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump, giving liberals a slight edge in the proceedings.

Previous Benitez ruling on deck:

Benitez previously blocked a new California law in 2017 that banned magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

A three-judge panel of the appeals court upheld the ruling in a split decision but the appeals court said in February that an 11-judge panel would rehear the case.

One appeals judge argued that Benitez’s ruling was at odds with six other appeals court decisions, including a 2015 decision by the Ninth Circuit.

The gun control group Brady said it is “hopeful” the appeals panel will allow the law to move forward.

“The Constitution, properly understood, should not entitle people to weapons of war, or prevent states from prohibiting military-style firearms or the large capacity magazines they use,” Johnathan Lowry, the group’s chief counsel, told the Associated Press.


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