Last month, U.S. District Court Judge Roger Benitez ruled unconstitutional California’s 2016 ban on gun magazines of more than 10 rounds capacity. The Cuban-born Benitez, an appointee of President George W. Bush, wrote that “Individual liberty and freedom are not outmoded concepts.” California’s law, according to the judge, “turns millions of responsible, law-abiding people trying to protect themselves into criminals.”
Benitez cited examples of citizens who ran out of ammunition defending themselves against home invasions by violent criminals. Benitez also characterized the Second Amendment as a “check on tyranny,” first implemented by those who “cherished individual freedom more than the subservient security of a British ruler.”
Law-abiding Californians applauded the judge’s brave defense of their Second Amendment rights. Governor Gavin Newsom, who plans even more restrictive gun laws, blasted the ruling as “indefensible.” Attorney general Xavier Becerra complained directly to Benitez, who responded by reversing his own ruling.
“The court understands that strong emotions are felt by people of good will on both sides of the constitutional and social policy questions,” Benitez wrote.
“The court understands that thoughtful and law-abiding citizens can and do firmly hold competing opinions on firearm magazine restrictions. These concerns auger in favor of judicial deliberation. There is an immeasurable societal benefit of maintaining the immediate status quo while the process of judicial review takes place.”
The “status quo” means that while the ruling goes through the appeal process, law-abiding Californians owners are still not allowed to buy magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. So Benitez’s grandiose rhetoric about liberty, the Second Amendment, and citizens defending themselves, was all for nothing. Though bad enough on its own terms, Benitez caved at the demand of Xavier Becerra, once on Hillary Clinton’s short list as a running mate, and who also has lingering legal issues
As head of the House Democratic Caucus, Becerra had custody of the server where Pakistan-born IT man Imran Awan stashed the material he ripped off from Democrats on the House intelligence and foreign affairs committees. When capitol police came looking for this material, they were handed a fake image of the server. With Kamala Harris running for the senate, Becerra duly bailed for the sanctuary state of California, where Jerry Brown made him attorney general.
Becerra would have to run for the office but Obama judge Tanya Chutkan repeatedly delayed the Imran Awan case. So no information damaging to Becerra emerged during the campaign, and Chutkan wound up letting Awan off easy. As attorney general, Becerra proved a soft touch with violent criminals, particularly those who aren’t supposed to be in California.
The Salvadoran MS-13 gang has maintained a reign of terror in Mendota, near Fresno, with at least 14 murders. Becerra looked the other way until federal authorities stepped in, and even then the attorney general, a supporter of California’s sanctuary laws, made it clear he was not concerned with the gang member’s “status.”
Mexican criminal Luis Bracamontes used an assault rifle to murder Sacramento County police officers Danny Oliver and Michael Davis. In court the previously deported criminal said he wished he had killed more cops, and yelled “black lives don’t matter” at family members of the victims.
None of that drew any impassioned statements from Xavier Becerra, who was also rather quiet when Mexican gang member Paulo Mendoza, a previously deported criminal of many aliases, gunned down police officer Ronil Singh, a legal immigrant from Fiji.
Governor-elect Gavin Newsom also held his peace, and his recent reprieve of 737 convicted murderers included cop-killer Luis Bracamontes. In California, criminals can use assault rifles with high-capacity magazines to kill as many people as they want, or they can kill and mutilate people with machetes in the style of MS-13. Attorney general Becerra will play down their crimes and defend their right to live in the state.
For his part, Gov. Newsom will override the will of the people and let the killers keep their own lives. Under Senate Bill 1391, signed last year by Jerry Brown, juveniles aged 14 and 15 can kill as many people as they want, escape prosecution as adults, and gain release at age 25.
Judge Roger Benitez, meanwhile, is guilty of perhaps the most dramatic reversal in California since Jerry Brown opposed the 1978 Proposition 13 as the end of the world, then after it passed proclaimed himself a “born-again tax cutter.” Californians have come to expect that in their third-rate politicians and hereditary governors, but not in a federal judge. As it happens, Benitez is in good company.
Federal judge Jon Tigar ordered Californians to pay for a convicted murderer’s sex-change operation and also his special garments. Superior Court judge Helena Gweon told the mother of Jamir Miller, gunned down at 15 by Mexican illegals, that the murder had “nothing to do with illegal aliens.” Bernard Lee Hamilton beheaded a San Diego woman and cut off her hands, but California supreme court justice Otto Kaus found no evidence that Hamilton had intended to kill her.
Californians will find little evidence that Roger Benitez believes in the Second Amendment. On the other hand, the federal judge has no problem with gun laws that transform law-abiding citizens into criminals. Starting in July, Californians must pass a background check even to purchase ammunition. The law requires retailers to log the amount of ammo purchased and send the records to the government.
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