SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – Attorney General Sean D. Reyes joined an amicus brief, led by the States of Idaho, Iowa, and Montana, to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Miller v. Bonta. The case involves a challenge to California’s Assault Weapon Control Act (AWCA).
The plaintiffs sued California over the constitutionality of the AWCA, which prohibits the “purchase, sale, gift, lending, manufacturing, distribution, or importation” of certain firearms, including many types of semiautomatic rifles. After arguments in the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of California, Judge Roger T. Benitez issued an opinion against the enforcement of the law, stating that “California’s ‘assault weapon’ ban takes away from its residents the choice of using an AR-15 type rifle for self-defense.”
Judge Benitez also wrote, “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.”
The District Court order was appealed to the Ninth Circuit, leading to the filing of this brief from the States.
In their brief, the attorneys general argue that “the plain text of the Second Amendment bars States from banning arms owned by millions of law-abiding Americans” and that “recycled laws rejected by the Supreme Court do not justify California’s total ban on common arms.”
Joining Utah, Idaho, Iowa, and Montana on the brief were the States of Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, Wyoming, and the Arizona Legislature.