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California Semi-Auto Ruling Only The Start – Even If SCOTUS Upholds It

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California/United States – -( Loyal Ammoland readers are justifiably thrilled by the ruling of U.S. District Judge Roger T. Benitez in Miller v. Bonta. The celebration is warranted – a product of decades of legal scholarship and the successful legal efforts to strike down handgun bans in D.C. and Chicago in the Heller and McDonald cases.

Judge Benitez has made excellent use of the facts about rifles in general and their lack of use in crime. He also has used the clear textual standard from the Heller ruling – something that Second Amendment supporters should take note of:

If a firearm is commonly used for lawful purposes, it is protected under the Second Amendment.

In his ruling, he cited that the production of modern multi-purpose semi-automatic rifles is twice that of the Ford F-150 pickup truck – a similar comparison was made to the Chevy Suburban sport-utility vehicle when the way FBI crime data blew up Beto’s gun-ban plan was discussed. Now, that is pretty darn common, don’t you think?

Judge Benitez also noted the FBI’s crime data in his ruling, using the 2019 Uniform Crime reports information for California. Here’s what the data showed: Rifles of all types – not just the AR-15 – were involved in 34 killings in that state. Knives were used in 252. Meanwhile, the modern multi-purpose semiautomatic firearms are being used for a wide variety of lawful purposes, like hunting, three-gun matches and other competitions, not to mention target shooting and informal plinking.

Then of course, there is the matter of self-defense. Ammoland has covered cases where the AR-15 – or some variant – was used in self-defense or to help protect others multiple times. This was, as loyal Ammoland readers should remember, the purpose cited by the plaintiffs in Heller.

There’s more, though: Benitez also touched on the Supreme Court’s unanimous Caetano v. Massachusetts ruling as well, but he pulled off a double play. First, he used it on the obvious grounds that advancing technology did not negate Second Amendment protection, but he also noted that with a mere 200,000 stun guns, the Supreme Court declared they were in common use. If 200,000 is enough to meet the standard of being in common use, then the nearly 20 million modern multi-purpose semiautomatic rifles are clearly worthy of protection on the textual basis of Heller – and anti-Second Amendment extremists know it!

Gavin Newsome is already having a temper tantrum over the ruling. California Attorney General Rob Bonta has vowed to fight the ruling. We are still years away from the Supreme Court hearing this case, and have the Ninth Circuit to go through, as is the situation with the Duncan case. But the fight will not end with the Supreme Court cases.

Anti-Second Amendment extremists want to pack the Supreme Court, with an eye towards not just winning cases like these in California, but also overturning Heller and McDonald. The fight to protect those rulings will begin after that. To prevent anti-Second Amendment extremists from overturning the landmark cases, Second Amendment supporters need to support the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action and Political Victory Fund to ensure that the current anti-Second Amendment regimes in the House, Senate, and White House are defeated at the ballot box as soon as possible.

About Harold Hutchison

Writer Harold Hutchison has more than a dozen years of experience covering military affairs, international events, U.S. politics and Second Amendment issues. Harold was consulting senior editor at Soldier of Fortune magazine and is the author of the novel Strike Group Reagan. He has also written for the Daily Caller, National Review, Patriot Post,, and other national websites.

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