NATIONAL NEWS

Federal judge reverses himself, rules that California’s ban on billy clubs is unconstitutional

Feb 26, 2024, 6:54 PM

SAN DIEGO (AP) — A federal judge struck down a California law banning possession of club-like weapons, reversing his previous ruling from three years ago that upheld the prohibition on billy clubs, batons and similar blunt objects.

U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez ruled last week that the prohibition “unconstitutionally infringes the Second Amendment rights of American citizens” and enjoined the state from enforcing the law, the Los Angeles Times reported Monday.

Weapons such as billy clubs have been outlawed in some form or other in California since at least 1917, with exceptions for law enforcement officers and some state-licensed security guards, the Times said.

Benitez declared in Sept. 2021 that California’s ban on such weapons qualified as “longstanding” and therefore did not violate the Second Amendment. But while that ruling was under appeal, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen that altered the legal analysis for Second Amendment regulations.

The billy club case was sent back to Benitez to review under the new Bruen analysis. He decided that Attorney General Rob Bonta’s office, which is defending the case, failed to provide evidence of any historically similar prohibitions.

Bonta said the judge’s decision “defies logic” and the state has filed an appeal.

“The Supreme Court was clear that Bruen did not create a regulatory straitjacket for states — and we believe that the district court got this wrong. We will not stop in our efforts to protect the safety of communities,” Bonta said in a statement Monday.

Alan Beck, an attorney for two military veterans who challenged the billy club ban, welcomed Benitez’s ruling.

“I thought it was a straightforward application of Supreme Court precedent,” Beck told the Times on Monday.

The challenged California law bans the possession, manufacture, importation or sale of “any leaded cane, or any instrument or weapon of the kind commonly known as a billy, blackjack, sandbag, sandclub, sap, or slungshot.”

Courts have defined a billy as any kind of stick, bat or baton that is intended to be used as a weapon — even common items like a baseball bat or table leg could qualify if it is meant to cause harm.

National News

Associated Press

‘Catch-and-kill’ to be described to jurors as testimony resumes in hush money trial of Donald Trump

NEW YORK (AP) — A longtime tabloid publisher was expected Tuesday to tell jurors about his efforts to help Donald Trump stifle unflattering stories during the 2016 campaign as testimony resumes in the historic hush money trial of the former president. David Pecker, the former National Enquirer publisher who prosecutors say worked with Trump and […]

7 hours ago

Associated Press

Arizona judge declares mistrial in the case of a rancher accused of fatally shooting a migrant

PHOENIX (AP) — An Arizona judge declared a mistrial Monday in the case of a rancher accused of fatally shooting a Mexican man on his property near the U.S.-Mexico border. The decision came after jurors failed to reach a unanimous decision after more than two full days of deliberation in trial of George Alan Kelly, […]

11 hours ago

Associated Press

Trial opens for former Virginia hospital medical director accused of sexual abuse of ex-patients

NEW KENT, Va. (AP) — The former longtime medical director of a Virginia hospital that serves vulnerable children used physical examinations as a “ruse” to sexually abuse two teenage patients, a prosecutor said Monday, while the physician’s attorney “adamantly” denied any inappropriate conduct. The trial of Daniel N. Davidow of Richmond, who for decades served […]

11 hours ago

Associated Press

US House Judiciary Committee chair seeks details from ATF on airport director shooting

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The chair of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee on Monday asked the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to provide documents and information about its raid at the home last month of the Little Rock airport director who died after a shootout with agents serving a search warrant. Rep. […]

12 hours ago

Associated Press

Minnesota state senator arrested on suspicion of burglary

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A state senator and former broadcast meteorologist was arrested on suspicion of burglary early Monday in the northwestern Minnesota city of Detroit Lakes, police said. Democratic Sen. Nicole Mitchell, 49, of Woodbury, was being held in the Becker County Jail on suspicion of first-degree burglary. Formal charges were still pending Monday afternoon, […]

12 hours ago

Associated Press

William Strickland, a longtime civil rights activist, scholar and friend of Malcom X, has died

BOSTON (AP) — William Strickland, a longtime civil rights activist and supporter of the Black Power movement who worked with Malcom X and other prominent leaders in the 1960s, has died. He was 87. Strickland, whose death April 10 was confirmed by a relative, first became active in civil rights as a high schooler in […]

14 hours ago

Federal judge reverses himself, rules that California’s ban on billy clubs is unconstitutional