In a move that may not surprise many, the California 4th District Court of Appeal has decided that the second amendment doesn’t protect semi automatic rifles such as the AK 47. William Zondorak of California was charged with illegally possessing an AK 47 style rifle. He waived his right to a jury trial and was found guilty of violating California’s assault weapons ban laws.
The court found on October 21st, 2013, that the assault weapons bans being cited by the defendant were not in violation of the second amendment, citing Heller and Miller in their decision.
…assault weapons, like machine guns, are not in common use by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes and likewise fall within the category of dangerous and unusual weapons that the government can prohibit for individual use. . . . In any event, assault weapons . . . are at least as dangerous and unusual as the short-barreled shotgun at issue in [Miller ].” ( James,at pp. 676-677.)
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out the faults in their logic. It’s really hard to say that assault weapons aren’t in common use. Although it’s hard to keep track of assault weapon ownership in the United States, most sources on both sides of the argument say that there are roughly 3 million AR 15s owned by private citizen in the US. This is in addition to an estimated 800,000 Ruger Mini-14s and the abundance of AK, SKS, FAL, M14 and other “assault rifle” platforms.
In my opinion, any case which cites Miller to restrict rights is a flawed opinion from the start. The Miller opinion was argued from a one-sided point of view, with the defendants never actually appearing in court to argue their side. The court decided that they couldn’t consider short barreled shotguns as protected under the second amendment because they had been presented with no evidence that they had a military use. This is an odd argument because it says that that particular court couldn’t give them protection because no evidence had been presented to support it. It seems to other courts, this has been taken to mean “these things are not protected and never will be.” To make the case even more odd was the use of trench shotguns in World War I was documented, including sawed off double barreled shotguns.
Californians need support right now and need to keep fighting the fight. The wheels of justice grind slow and fine, but they’ll get there one of these days if we just keep challenging and keep pushing against their unfair laws.
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