ROBERT BONTA, in his official capacity as Attorney General of the State of California, et al.,



Case No.: 19-cv-01537 BEN (JLB)


October 19, 2023



The State’s attempt to ban these popular firearms creates the extreme policy that a handful of criminals can dictate the conduct and infringe on the freedom of law-abiding citizens. As Heller explains, the Second Amendment takes certain policy choices and removes them beyond the realm of permissible state action. California’s answer to the criminal misuse of a few is to disarm its many good residents. That knee-jerk reaction is constitutionally untenable, just as it was 250 years ago. The Second Amendment stands as a shield from government imposition of that policy.

There is only one policy enshrined in the Bill of Rights. Guns and ammunition in the hands of criminals, tyrants and terrorists are dangerous; guns in the hands of law- abiding responsible citizens are necessary. To give full life to the core right of self- defense, every law-abiding responsible individual citizen has a constitutionally protected right to keep and bear firearms commonly owned and kept for lawful purposes. In early America and today, the Second Amendment right of self-preservation permits a citizen to ‘repel force by force’ when ‘the intervention of society in his behalf, may be too late to prevent that injury.’ Unfortunately, governments tend to restrict the right of armed self-defense. Punishing every good citizen because bad ones misuse a gun offends the Constitution. A state supreme court in 1878 said it succinctly: If cowardly and dishonorable men sometimes shoot unarmed men with army pistols or guns, the evil must be prevented by the penitentiary and gallows, and not by a general deprivation of a constitutional privilege. Today … many Americans have good reason to fear that they will be victimized if they are unable to protect themselves. And today, no less than in 1791, the Second Amendment guarantees their right to do so.

Plaintiffs in this case challenge California Penal Code §§ 30515(a)(1) through (8) (defining an assault weapon by prohibited features), 30800 (deeming certain assault weapons a public nuisance), 30915 (regulating assault weapons obtained by bequest or inheritance), and 30945 (restricting use of registered assault weapons). It is declared that these statutes unconstitutionally infringe the Second Amendment rights of American citizens. These statutes and the penalty provisions §§ 30600, 30605 and 30800 as applied to assault weapons defined in §§ 30515(a)(1) through (8) are hereby enjoined.


Dated: October 19, 2023

Hon. Roger T. Benitez
Senior United States District Judge