U.S. District Judge Josephine Staton, Central District of California, ruled this week the existence of the Second Amendment does not mean semiautomatic “killing machines” must be legal in California.
Staton ruling against “semiautomatic rifles with non-fixed magazines” came in response to a California Rifle and Pistol Association (CRPA) challenge against the state’s “assault weapons” ban.
CRPA sought a summary judgement against the “assault weapons” ban on behalf of Plaintiff Steven Rupp. But Stanton rejected the summary judgement request, characterizing “semiautomatic rifles with non-fixed magazines” as “killing machines” which “are essentially indistinguishable from M-16s.”
Stanton’s point overlooks the fact that M-16s are fully automatic firearms, which can fire a magazine-full of bullets per one trigger depression, while AR-15s are semiautomatic rifles, which fire one round per trigger pull, period. Her position aligned with that California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who argued that “[a]ssault rifles may be banned because they are, like the M-16, ‘weapons that are most useful in military service’; and ‘they are also not “in common use” for lawful purposes like self-defense.’”
Stanton opined that a ban on M-16s can stand under scrutiny of District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), because such guns are “outside the scope of the Second Amendment.” She then turned to a ban on AR-15s, saying, “Thus, if a weapon is essentially the same as the M-16, it is not protected by the Second Amendment merely because gun manufacturers have given it a different model number and dubbed it a ‘civilian rifle.’”
On July 11, 2019, Breitbart News reported a Florida homeowner used an AR-15 to stop four alleged intruders. He killed two and was shot and wounded by gunfire from the alleged invaders as well. On March 28, 2017, NBC News reported that a homeowner’s son used an AR-15 to fend off three alleged intruders and on May 13, 2014, Breitbart News reported that North Carolina homeowner used a AR-15 to defend himself against a suspect who kicked in the door of his house. Over nine million AR-style rifles were manufactured for U.S. sales during the Obama administration and ATF Associate Deputy Director Ronald Turk used a 2017 “White Paper” to explain that AR-15s are now the go-to gun for hunting, sport shooting, and other interests.
The Washington Post quoted Turk, saying, “The use of AR-15s, AK-style, and similar rifles now commonly referred to as ‘modern sporting rifles’ has increased exponentially in sport shooting. These firearm types are now standard for hunting activities. ATF could re-examine its 20-year-old study to bring it up to date with the sport shooting landscape of today, which is vastly different than it was years ago.”
The case is Rupp v. Becerra, No. 8:17-cv-00746 in the U.S. District Court for Central California.
AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a 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 directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sign up to get Down Range at breitbart.com/downrange.