It took less than 24 hours for California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to request a stay, pending appeal, of a federal judge’s ruling that struck down the Golden State’s background check requirement for ammunition purchases as a violation of the Second Amendment.
The ruling was, however, a welcome smack-down of California’s restrictive gun control measure, which many call “extremist.” The court essentially eviscerates the law, passed as Proposition 63 in 2016, and explains that rights really aren’t subject to a popularity contest by voters.
The case, known as Rhode v. Becerra, was filed with support from the National Rifle Association. Issuing the 120-page decision was U.S. District Court Judge Roger Benitez, who last year ruled the California ban on so-called “high-capacity” magazines is also unconstitutional in a case known as Duncan v. Becerra.
According to The Hill, Judge Benitez said the background check requirement is “constitutionally defective.” But the state is determined to keep it on the books.
California attorney Chuck Michel, lead counsel on the case, said he was “Not surprised the state would continue to defend this unconstitutional affront to Second Amendment rights.”
The state also secured a stay in that case, which was argued before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco earlier this month.
While California is wrestling with a gun control issue, authorities in Canada are taking some heat for keeping mum about the firearms used by alleged Nova Scotia spree killer Gabriel Wortman. He is alleged to have murdered 22 people over the past weekend, setting several structures on fire and finally being killed at a gas station by police. Among his victims was an RCMP female constable, Heidi Stephenson. He took her gun and ammunition during the spree, but he was not her first victim, and he apparently used firearms for which he was not licensed.
Canada has strict gun control laws, and licensing is among them. Toronto Sun columnist Brian Lilley took the RCMP to task for being stingy with information about the mass killing.
“It took the Mounties until Wednesday afternoon to admit publicly they had known since they first heard Wortman’s name and ran it through the computer that he didn’t have a gun license. Yet somehow, Wortman was armed with a gun or guns. We don’t know for sure because the RCMP won’t say.”
A few paragraphs later, Lilley observed, “Despite all that we know — that Wortman wasn’t licensed, that his guns were not legal, that they may have been lost or stolen police guns — the narrative from the Trudeau Liberals is that this is further proof we need stronger gun control.”
He said the Mounties “have been loathe to release information about this incident.”
What is known is that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is using the incident to push his gun control agenda.
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There are gun control proponents on both sides of the border. The difference is that in the U.S., the Second Amendment is part of the Constitution, while there is nothing similar in the Canadian Constitution about keeping or bearing arms. Where gun control laws are now being challenged across the U.S., thanks to the Second Amendment and two Supreme Court rulings upholding it as protective of an individual right, there are no such avenues in Canada.
Only time will tell whether Judge Benitez’ ruling will strike down the ammunition requirement in California, or whether Canada will make its gun laws even harsher while it doesn’t explain how and where Wortman got his guns, or what kinds of guns they were.
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