Justice

California Appeals Court Upholds Assault Rifle Ban

CREDIT: Associated Press

California’s law banning possession of a semi-automatic assault rifle is constitutional, according to a state appeals court that upheld the law Monday against a Second Amendment challenge. As the court’s opinion explains, the Supreme Court’s seminal Second Amendment opinion in District of Columbia v. Heller held that the right to bear arms is “‘not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose,’ but is instead the right to possess and carry weapons typically possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes such as hunting or self-defense.” Ownership of “[d]angerous and unusual weapons” is not protected by the Constitution.

Heller also did not disturb a previous Supreme Court decision’s conclusion that “short-barreled shotguns” can be banned. According to the California court, assault rifles “are at least as dangerous and unusual as the short-barreled shotgun,” and thus can be banned as well.