[UCLA law professor Adam] Winkler interprets both the Heller opinion and a 1939 court ruling — United States vs. Miller — as broadly protecting firearms currently in common use. That ruling regulated sawed-off shotguns and machine guns.
“Benitez’s opinion was unnecessarily provocative,” Winkler says. “If nothing else, it was totally tone-deaf comparing Swiss Army knives to rifles.”
But the opinion’s conclusion was “certainly plausible,” Winkler continued. “It’s an opinion that’s likely to win over a number of justices on the Supreme Court.
“Really, these weapons weren’t commonplace 20 to 30 years ago — and when California’s law was first enacted. But military-style rifles have become quite common.”
The Supreme Court has presumably become more pro-gun with three appointees by former President Trump. Conservatives now hold a 6-3 majority. Also, the once-liberal 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals — where Benitez’s ruling is being appealed — has become more moderate, with several justices named by Trump.
“It’s likely that the Supreme Court is going to expand 2nd Amendment protections in coming years and that means striking down gun laws,” Winkler says.