Judge shoots down California law mandating background checks for ammunition buyers citing grave injury to 2nd Amendment

A federal judge has overturned a law forcing Californians to undergo background checks when buying ammunition, arguing the rule set fire to the Second Amendment and deprived citizens of their right to bear arms.

US District Judge Roger Benitez blocked the 2016 law on Thursday from a San Diego courtroom, penning a lengthy 120-page opinion slamming “onerous and convoluted” laws and regulations that trample rights guaranteed under the Constitution.

“The experiment has been tried. The casualties have been counted. California’s new ammunition background check law misfires and the Second Amendment rights of California citizens have been gravely injured,” Benitez wrote in the opinion.

Here’s the whole 120-page opinion issued by U.S. District Judge Roger T. Benitez (Southern District of California): https://t.co/Gg7hBtOIib

The legal challenge was brought by the California Rifle and Pistol Association, which cheered the judge’s decision in a number of tweets on Thursday night. “Today’s ruling is a devastating blow to the anti-gun-owner advocates who falsely pushed [the law] in the name of safety,” said the group’s president, Chuck Michel.

Judge Benitez on #Prop63 and #2A: ??? https://t.co/Xb5F7072MNpic.twitter.com/LLxP482JnE

“Today’s ruling is a devastating blow to the anti-gun-owner advocates who falsely pushed #Prop63 in the name of safety.” —@CRPAPresident#2ADefendershttps://t.co/Om0YrUDJ0K

Though Michel said he expects the state will appeal the decision, the California attorney’s office did not immediately say how it planned to proceed, only stating that it is “reviewing” the ruling, according to the Associated Press.

The state, for its part, said the background checks were fast and simple, taking about 5 minutes each and putting no “substantial impediment” on gun owners, but Benitez rejected the argument, stating the law still illegally bars out-of-state vendors from the California market, and conflicts with federal interstate commerce laws.

READ MORE: Liquor stores & gun shops open for business, but churches closed. Why are US governors trashing the First Amendment?

Prompted in no small part by a procession of horrific school shootings over the last decade, fierce debate about gun laws continues to rage across the US, with those in favor of stricter gun control slamming Benitez’s ruling on Thursday, some arguing he blocked an “effective” and “common sense” law.

BREAKING: A judge blocked a California law on background checks on ammo sales. This is despite the fact that evidence shows the law is effective.With an influx of gun sales and new gun owners, our nation’s gun safety laws are more important than ever. https://t.co/iUFNP8zwda

Ugh, this isn’t the first time U.S. District Court Judge Roger Benitez, a George W. Bush appointee, blocked a common sense California gun law by claiming it violates the Second Amendment. https://t.co/w48jrrCPD8

Second Amendment advocates were unsurprisingly enthused about the decision, calling the ammunition law “unconstitutional” and echoing Benitez’s argument that genuine criminals don’t typically agree to background checks in the first place.

As we have said all along, this law was unconstitutional, by any stretch of the imagination and Judge Benitez sees it as we do. He suspended the entire law! https://t.co/gHXlX3B6wt

“Criminals, tyrants, and terrorists don’t do background checks” -U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez of San Diego pic.twitter.com/mcZ5ppM03i

Roger T. Benitez pic.twitter.com/hoqweZLeB6

Benitez has made a name for himself among both advocates and opponents of tighter gun regulation, striking down another California law last year which banned “high-capacity” magazines outright, at which time he argued that “individual liberty and freedom are not outmoded concepts.” That case, too, was brought by the California Pistol and Rifle Association.

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