Eventually, the Supreme Court may hear one or more challenges to Democrat-state laws that ban rifles Americans most commonly acquire for legitimate purposes, including self- and collective defense. Rupp v. Bonta, which challenges California’s ban, is moving as we speak, and its outcome may depend on which veterans of the United States Marine Corps the federal judge handling the case believes.
The Ninth Circuit has remanded the case to Judge Josephine Staton, of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California (Western Division), for consideration in light of the Supreme Court’s ruling, in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen (2022), that firearm-related restrictions are unconstitutional if they’re inconsistent with the nation’s history and tradition of restrictions, an argument made by then-Judge (now Supreme Court Justice) Brett Kavanaugh in his dissent in Heller v. District of Columbia (2011).
If Judge Staton follows Bruen, she will overturn California’s ban. It’s simple. The ban focuses mostly on semi-automatic rifles that use detachable ammunition magazines. Such firearms have existed for more than a century. The Remington Model 8, primarily intended for hunting but also used for battle (two were used by law enforcement officers in the famous ambush of Bonnie and Clyde) was introduced in 1905. Americans own countless M1 Carbines, introduced in 1942.
The most commonly owned rifle of the type today — the AR-15 — was introduced in 1963. But California, the first state to impose a ban, did not do so until 1989, only eight other states have done so since, and these nine states account for only one-third of the U.S. population.