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San Diego residents sue CA over ‘assault weapon’ ban

A rack of various modern sporting rifles, mostly AR-15s, in Gallenson's Gun Shop, located in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. (Michael McConville/Wikimedia Commons)
August 16, 2019

Three San Diego residents are filing federal lawsuits against California for violating their Second Amendment rights through an “assault weapon” ban.

James Miller, Patrick Russ, Ryan Peterson, and the San Diego County Gun Owners Political Action Committee say that California has an erroneous “definition of assault weapons,” according to KUSI News.

The plaintiffs are challenging that the ban on assault weapons is a violation of their Second Amendment rights because the weapons are protected under the amendment.

The suit requests the court assert “California’s definition of an assault weapon unconstitutional and issue an order permanently barring enforcement of laws barring them on grounds of their ammunition magazine capacity,” the Miami Herald reported.

The lawsuit contends that California’s term “assault weapons,” is 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,” KUSI News added.

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The plaintiffs also charge that the state has mislabeled certain guns, forcing them to be covered under the ban.

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

Attorney for the plaintiffs, John Dillon said, “This is a straightforward case to protect our clients’ constitutional rights and property. The state of California’s ban on these firearms will fail constitutional scrutiny for the same reasons that its ban on firearm magazines did.”

U.S. District Court Judge Roger Benitez’s ruling is referenced in this lawsuit when he said that California’s ban on high-capacity magazines was unconstitutional.

This decision sparked a buying spree of high-capacity magazines before sales were stopped until an appeal decision is made, according to the Miami Herald.

This is the latest in a series of lawsuits in a state that has some of the harshest gun laws in the country, and comes in the wake of mass shootings involving rifles deemed “assault weapons” across the country.

Another lawsuit was filed in July in San Diego federal court on behalf of Matthew Jones, Thomas Furrh and several firearm-advocacy organizations, who were also represented by John Dillon, and argued that “requiring residents to be age 21 or older to purchase a firearm, not only discriminates against but also infringes on the rights of law-abiding young adults,” KUSI News stated.

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In that lawsuit, it also argued that the term “assault weapon” is “a politically-concocted pejorative term” for weapons lawfully used “in virtually every state” and argued that California is barring law-abiding citizens from getting, making or transferring “firearms in common use for lawful purposes such as self-defense inside and outside the home, competition, sport, and hunting,” KTLA 5 News reported.