Obscure court rule sends gun rights cases to one San Diego federal judge, troubling gun control groups

Obscure court rule sends gun rights cases to one San Diego federal judge, troubling gun control groups

(AP) A custom-made semi-automatic hunting rifle with a high-capacity detachable magazine. In the past two years U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez has issued sweeping rulings, written in vigorous and sharply-worded prose, in two separate lawsuits challenging California state laws banning high-capacity magazines and mandatory background checks for ammunition purchases. On Monday Benitez will hold a hearing in his courtroom in the downtown San Diego federal courthouse on another case filed last year that challenges several laws regulating and defining assault weapons in the state. And he is also overseeing a fourth weapons case — one that challenges the state prohibition on possessing batons, billy clubs and blackjacks — that the plaintiffs say violates the Second Amendment. In a federal district with more than a dozen judges, Benitez has been able to oversee and rule on a series of challenges to state gun laws. His rulings have wide implications, not only in California but also across the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals — a huge section of the nation stretching from Montana to Hawaii and Guam to Alaska. With a U.S. Supreme Court that is seemingly on the verge of establishing a strong conservative majority where several justices, including current nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett, support an interpretation of the Second Amendment more favorable to gun ownership rights, Benitez’s rulings are drawing scrutiny from gun control groups. That scrutiny also includes the question of how various gun cases have gone to Benitez. In federal courts, cases are assigned randomly […]

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