Federal Judge Draws Fire for Striking Down California Assault Weapons Ban

“A stone cold ideologue. He is a wholly owned subsidiary of the gun lobby of the National Rifle Association.” That was California Gov. Gavin Newsom on federal judge Roger Benitez, who recently overturned California’s longstanding ban on “assault weapons.” Second Amendment advocates might find the “ideologue” description puzzling.

As we noted, in 2019 the Cuban-Born Benitez, an appointee of George W. Bush, struck down a California law that banned high-capacity rifle magazines, arguing that it prevented law-abiding citizens from defending themselves against violent criminals. Attorney general Xavier Becerra complained directly to Benitez, who reversed his own ruling. So much for the judge’s contention that “individual liberty and freedom are not outmoded concepts.”

At issue in the ban is the AR-15, which means “Armalite Rifle,” after the original manufacturer, not “assault rifle,” as gun-control advocates contend. The AR-15 is sold only in semi-automatic form and is not currently deployed by the U.S. military. Politicians decry “gun violence” but no rifle or handgun of any kind acts independently of human agency.

For a military weapon capable of mass destruction, check out the F-15 Eagle fighter jet, capable of 1,875 mph (Mach 2.4), a range of 3,450 miles, and armed with M-16AI cannon and Sidewinder missiles. According to the Los Angeles Times, the California National Guard put an F-15C fighter on standby to “buzz” any crowds daring to resist stay-at-home orders at the outset of the pandemic last year. What could possibly go wrong?

Four National Guard members, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told the Times the orders were allegedly handed down orally or through text messages rather than in an official manner. National Guard records examined by the Times indicate that an F-15C was indeed kept at the ready. The order to deploy an F-15C would have to come from Gov. Gavin Newsom, head of the state National Guard. Gov. An independent investigation could settle the matter, but so far the governor shows no inclination.

Meanwhile, for what can happen when no Second Amendment rights and personal liberties exist, see Stephen P. Halbrook’s Gun Control in the Third Reich: Disarming the Jews and “Enemies of the State,”  and Gun Control in Nazi-Occupied France: Tyranny and Resistance.

K. Lloyd Billingsley is a Policy Fellow at the Independent Institute and a columnist at American Greatness.
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