Letter: There is no such thing as an ‘assault weapon’ | SteamboatToday.com

Letter: There is no such thing as an ‘assault weapon’

Earlier this month, Federal District Court Judge Roger Benitez struck down California’s 34-year-old so-called “assault weapon” ban. Technically, there is no such thing as an assault weapon. Neither bazookas or rocket-propelled grenades are classified as such.

An assault rifle, a.k.a. a machine gun, is a rapid fire rifle that allows the operator to select between fully automatic (continues to fire if the trigger is held down) and semi-automatic operation (trigger must be pulled each time to fire). In the U.S., these rifles are restricted to military use. The popular AR-15, which stands for Armalite (the manufacturer model 15), is a semi-automatic rifle or firearm. The Russian-made AK-47 is an assault rifle.

In his 94-page ruling, Judge Benitez stated the California law “bans an entire class of very popular hardware — firearms that are lawful under federal law and under the laws of most states, and are commonly held by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes.“ Benitez also said the U.S. Supreme Court recognizes “that the Second Amendment guarantee includes a right to keep and bear arms that have some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia.'”

Applying the Heller test from the Supreme Court in District of Columbia vs. Heller, Benitez found “the overwhelming majority of citizens that own AR-15 type rifles and firearms do so for lawful purposes, including self defense at home.”

Judge Benitez has granted a 30-day stay on his order to allow California to appeal.

Don Kosnik


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