Ninth Circuit Blocks District Court Ruling Against CA ‘Assault Weapons’ Ban

A man with his firearm listens to speakers at a protest to new gun legislation at the Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake City, Utah on February 8, 2020. - The protestors are opposing new gun legislation that they say will restrict their US second amendment rights. Utah is an …
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On Monday the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit temporarily blocked a district court ruling that would have prohibited the enforcement of California’s “assault weapons” ban.

On June 4, 2021, Breitbart News reported that Judge Roger T. Benitez ruled against the ban.

In so doing, Benitez noted:

The Second Amendment elevates above all other interests the right of law-abiding, responsible citizens to use arms in defense of hearth and home.’ Heller, 554 U.S., at 635. The Supreme Court clearly holds that the Second Amendment protects guns commonly owned by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes.

He added:

And although the Supreme Court cautioned that the Second Amendment does not guarantee a right to keep and carry “any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose,” Heller, 554 U.S., at 626, lower courts have often cited this proviso about extreme cases to justify gun laws in average contexts. There is no evidence that the Supreme Court intended that language to be a license to avoid its common sense holding in average contexts.

Benitez gave California Attorney General Rob Bonta a 30-day time frame in which to appeal the District Court ruling but noted that after 30 days an injunction against enforcing the ban would be in place.

Bonta appealed the ruling and on June 21, 2021, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit blocked Benitez’s injunction pending the result of Bonta’s appeal. The three judges are Clinton-appointee Barry G. Silverman, Obama-appointee Jacqueline Nguyen, and Trump-appointee Ryan D. Nelson.

The Ninth Circuit ruled: “The district court’s June 4, 2021 order and judgment are stayed pending resolution of Rupp v. Bonta. The stay shall remain in effect until further order of this court.”

The Firearm Policy Coalition responded to the Ninth Circuit’s ruling:

The first duty of our federal courts is to uphold the Constitution and protect the People’s fundamental rights enshrined therein. But today, as it has too many times before, the fanatically anti-Second Amendment Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals elected to disregard that fundamental duty, ignore the text and public meaning of our Constitution, and fail the very People they swore an oath to serve.

If this case were about a similarly broad abortion ban, restrictive immigration policy, or reduction of voting rights, just to name a few examples, there is no question that the Ninth Circuit’s decision here would have gone the other way. Just as Justice Clarence Thomas accurately explained in his 2018 dissent from denial of certiorari in Silvester v. Becerra—the first-ever federal Second Amendment trial victory that the Ninth Circuit outrageously reversed based on its own (anti-rights) “common sense” rather than the Constitution and Supreme Court’s D.C. v. Heller decision—“the right to keep and bear arms is apparently [the Supreme] Court’s constitutional orphan. And the lower courts seem to have gotten the message.”

The case is Miller v. Bonta,  No. 21-55608 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and previously No. 3:19-cv-01537 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.

AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkinsa weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him at You can sign up to get Down Range at


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