9th Circuit Appeals Court blocks the overturn of California’s assault weapons ban

9th Circuit Appeals Court blocks the overturn of California’s assault weapons ban

The US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has blocked a federal judge’s controversial ruling that overturned California’s longtime ban on assault weapons, in which he likened the AR-15 to a Swiss Army knife.

In an order Monday, a three-judge panel on the federal appeals court issued a stay of US District Judge Roger Benitez’s order earlier this month that overturned California’s three-decade old assault weapons ban.
The state’s current assault weapons laws will remain in effect while further proceedings continue, California Attorney General Rob Bonta said in a statement on Twitter.
This leaves our assault weapons laws in effect while appellate proceedings continue,” Bonta said in a tweet. “We won’t stop defending these life-saving laws.”
In his order on June 4, Benitez, an appointee of former President George W. Bush, called firearms that have been labeled assault weapons “fairly ordinary, popular, modern rifles.”
“Like the Swiss Army Knife, the popular AR-15 rifle is a perfect combination of home defense weapon and homeland defense equipment,” Benitez said in the ruling.
The ruling sparked criticism from numerous California officials, including Gov. Gavin Newsom who said the AR-15 is a “weapon of war.”
When Benitez overturned the state’s ban on assault weapons, he gave the state 30 days to challenge the ruling. Bonta filed an appeal less than a week later, calling it “fundamentally flawed.”
The 9th Circuit court said both parties will file a status update within 14 days.
An AR-15 style rifle has been the weapon of choice for the most violent mass killings in modern history, including in a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado; the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh; the Route 91 Harvest musical festival in Las Vegas; a massacre at a church in Texas; the Pulse nightclub in Orlando; a high school in Parkland, Florida; and the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.
Judge Benitez previously ruled against other state firearm restrictions. Last year, he ruled California’s ban on high-capacity magazines was unconstitutional. He also struck down the state’s restriction on remote purchases of gun ammunition.

California man climbs inside farm equipment, gets trapped for 2 days

A California man was rescued Tuesday after getting stuck inside farm equipment at a vineyard for two days, according to authorities.

The unidentified man was found after the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office in Santa Rosa received a complaint earlier in the morning of a suspicious vehicle parked on private property in the city, about 60 miles north of San Francisco.

A deputy responded and located the vehicle, which was parked in a location that “made no sense,” the sheriff’s office said. A hat was also found resting on a nearby piece of farm equipment.

Local firefighters responded to the scene and extricated the man from the vineyard fan shaft. When questioned as to why he was there in the first place, the man claimed he liked to take photos of the engines of old farm equipment, authorities said.

However, the sheriff’s office didn’t appear to buy his explanation.

 

“After a thorough investigation which revealed the farm equipment wasn’t antique and the man had far more methamphetamine than camera equipment, the motivation to climb into the fan shaft remains a total mystery,” the sheriff’s office said.

The sheriff’s office will be recommending charges of trespassing and drug possession, as well as violations of an outstanding probation case and a pending case – for which the suspect was currently out of custody on pre-trial release.

At least four people were killed in a tour bus crash near Bryce Canyon National Park

At least four people were killed in a tour bus crash near Bryce Canyon National Park

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — More than a dozen people were thrown out of a tour bus that crashed and rolled on a remote Utah highway in 2019, killing four Chinese tourists and highlighting a lack of safety standards for bus roofs and windows, U.S. investigators said Thursday.

The bus crashed after the driver drifted off the road and “overcorrected” as he steered back into the lane near Bryce Canyon National Park, the National Transportation Safety Board found in its final report on the crash.

All 30 people on board were hurt in some way, a grim toll made worse by the roof caving in during the crash and the inconsistent seatbelt use by the passengers, the report found. Ten people on the bus weren’t wearing seatbelts, and some of the belted passengers wore the restraints loosely, making them less effective.

Investigators found no problems with intoxication, distraction, excessive speed, lack of sleep or the driver’s experience. A previous report found the bus had problems starting earlier in the day, but further examination found no mechanical issues or other malfunctions.

The driver had told investigators the road felt “slippery,” and it was newly paved at the time, but tests showed normal friction.

Instead, the report cited National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s failure to develop and issue standards for bus roof strength and window glazing to prevent people from being thrown out of buses during a crash. That agency did not immediately respond to a request seeking comment.

credit ksl