San Diego Residents File Suit Over California's 'Assault Weapon Ban'

The state of California has the most restrictive “assault weapon ban” in the nation. At a glance, anyone can identify a California-legal rifle due to the goofy way companies are forced to get around those restrictions. And they do, to be sure.

The issue is that California’s ban is still very broad and doesn’t accomplish as much as many would like to think.

Now, the law is on the line thanks to a lawsuit filed by a group of San Diego residents.

The suit calls California’s usage of the term “assault weapons,” “a politically-concocted pejorative term designed to suggest that there is an inherently unlawful or illegitimate basis for owning otherwise common firearms protected by the Second Amendment.”

The plaintiffs allege that the state has prohibited certain lawful firearms by designating them assault weapons under faulty rationales, such as basing its assault weapon status on the rifle’s ammunition capacity.

“The government cannot ban the constitutionally-protected firearms at issue in this case,” attorney George M. Lee said. “We look forward to proving that the state’s statutes, policies, and practices at issue in this case are both unconstitutional and irrational.”

The lawsuit references U.S. District Court Judge Roger Benitez’s recent ruling that California’s ban on high-capacity magazines was unconstitutional. Benitez later stayed his own order.

I haven’t seen the suit itself, to be fair. I want to think there’s more to it than just screaming, “The Second Amendment!”

Yes, yes, I know. The Second Amendment doesn’t have an exception for any firearm. It’s quite clear that the right shall not be infringed and any gun control is an infringement.

However, I also know that the courts throughout the country don’t hold to that. I’m a realist in this regard, and there has to be a better legal argument than that. Referencing Judge Benitez’s ruling is an excellent start, of course, since the ruling is something I consider a thing of beauty. That does suggest that the news report focused on a fraction of the rhetoric and not the legal arguments being made.

California’s law regarding what constitutes a dreaded “assault rifle” is no less arbitrary than Judge Benitez finding the 10-round magazine limit to be constitutional. “These features are evil and make a gun bad, so don’t have these features,” is an idiotic way to argue some guns shouldn’t be in civilian hands.

And yes, there is the fact that the Second Amendment was intended for private citizens to have access to military-grade weapons, weapons even beyond what we currently can purchase in freer states than California. I’m quite sure that’s part of the legal discussion as well because, well…it’s right.

This should be an interesting case to watch. I’m not quite sure what path this will take. Whether it will go through Judge Benitez or not, it will invariably end up before the dreaded Ninth Circuit. I don’t expect it to get favorable reception there, but perhaps that will then send it to the Supreme Court and it can end this “assault weapon” ban nonsense once and for all.

Hopefully, it’ll happen before we get saddled with one at the federal level.