Federal judge strikes down California ban on so-called ‘assault weapons’



Federal judge Roger Benitez overturned California’s ban on semi-automatic rifles, pistols or shotguns with certain cosmetic or ergonomic features that make them defined as “assault weapons.” 

Born in Havana, Cuba, Benitez is known for striking down several California gun control laws. Last month, he issued a ruling against the 10-round limit in California gun laws.

Most guns today are variations of semi-automatic firearms that fire single bullets of varying sizes with single pulls of the trigger. California’s “assault weapons” ban focuses on cosmetic and ergonomic features of firearms such as barrel lengths allowed for certain weapons, and bans on different types of weapon grips, threaded barrels that can accept attachments, and adjustable weapons stocks that can make a firearm more comfortable for users of diverse sizes. 

Benitez found the ban on these features as unconstitutional under the Bruen test, a new legal doctrine from the Supreme Court that requires the government must “justify its regulation by demonstrating that it is consistent with the Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation,” and also “assess whether modern firearms regulations are consistent with the Second Amendment’s text and historical understanding.” 

Applying the Bruen test, Benitez found the “State’s ban on modern semi- automatics has no historical pedigree,” and that “because a law criminalizing mere possession of a firearm in one’s home kept for self-defense, like California’s Assault Weapon Control Act, is so extreme, it would be very important if the State could at least point to a historical tradition of banning the simple possession of any kind of firearm.”

“The State argues that the prohibited firearms, designed and configured as they are, are somehow not suitable for self-defense.It has already been determined in the initial decision that the prohibited firearm configurations are well suited for self-defense and they are well-suited for militia use,” continued Benitez. “Even so, if a firearm is not unusual, it is protected. Government simply does not have the authority to dictate a list of firearms or configurations that it finds “suitable” for citizen self-defense, hunting, target practice, militia use, or some other lawful use.”

“Today’s radical ruling — comparing an assault rifle to a bowie knife — is a direct insult to every victim of a mass shooting and their families,” said California Gov. Gavin Newsom in a statement denouncing the decision. “Californians’ elected representatives decided almost 35 years ago that weapons of war have no place in our communities. Today, Judge Benitez decided that he knows better, public safety be damned.”

“Weapons of war have no place on California’s streets,” said California’s Attorney General Bonta in a statement announcing his appeal of the ruling. “This has been state law in California for decades, and we will continue to fight for our authority to keep our citizens safe from firearms that cause mass casualties.” 

Benitez recently also overturned the state’s ban on standard-capacity firearm magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds, drawing similar ire from the governor and attorney general. 

As with the magazine-ban ruling, Benitez gave the state 10 days to receive a stay on the ruling as the case is appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court. Benitez had previously issued a similar ruling overturning California’s “assault weapons” ban in 2021 that was quickly stayed while an appeals process could be pursued by the state. This ruling was vacated in 2022 in the aftermath of Bruen and remanded back to Benitez for this current ruling.


  1. Well done Judge Benitez. You are a brave man for doing your job right in the middle of a cesspool of a state, hell bent on destroying this country’s freedoms! God Bless you.🇺🇸

  2. Judge Benitez is absolutely right, and Gov. Newsom is an… well, let’s not use vulgar language in MRAK comments. More people are being murdered in this violent nation by hands and feet than by all types of rifles combined. Furthermore the ten-year ‘assault weapons’ ban of 1994 had no discernible effect on reducing crime, according to the federal government’s published analyses.

    My own AR15 has been well-behaved at training courses and shooting ranges since the early 1990s, and other than those times it rests peaceably in a rock-solid (yet quick-opening) gun vault. There is no reason for the innocent to fear my AR15, but no criminal should arouse it to wrath by venturing to harm my family or my friends or my liberty. And for that matter, most of my responsible family members and friends also own an AR15!

    And no, I will never sell or hand over any one of my firearms ‘back’ to a reprehensible or malignant government led by a Gavin Newsom or his ilk. Sheesh! Come up here and take ’em, Gavin.

  3. “Weapons of war have no place on California’s streets” says their Soros bought and paid for Atty General who consistently releases the people who use weapons of war in their gang activities against the citizens of California.
    Banning the Cartel supported criminals would be 100 times more effective than banning the only method of self defense in the war zone which used to be confined to the border states but is now Nationwide.
    Thanks to Liars Biden and Mayorkas.
    It doesnt help matters when Biden weaponized 87,000 IRS agents and targets his political opponents as well as parents who wont buy into his bulls**t queer agenda using the DOJ.
    Fat chance of restricting anyones gun rights in the “Democrats climate crisis” going on in every Blue city in America.

  4. Every restrictive gun control law says one thing, and one thing only.
    “You, a responsible and law abiding citizen shall not be allowed to own and use a firearm in a law abiding and responsible manner because someone you have never met might use a similar looking item in a criminal manner.”
    Essentially, it makes you responsible and guilty for someone else’s crime. Last time I checked, that is a clear violation of the 6th and 5th Amendments, and likely a violation of the 4th and 8th as well.

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