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Judge: Billy Clubs Protected by Second Amendment

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US district judge Roger Benitez struck down California’s ban on billy clubs, finding them protected by the Second Amendment.

Applying the Supreme Court’s Bruen precedent, the judge examined the history of billy club laws and found no controls before the Civil War and few states regulated them until the early 20th century when only California banned them.

The judge criticized California’s expert for imprecise language in describing regulations.

“It makes it difficult to properly perform the Bruen analysis when the State’s expert who has studied gun regulations for thirty years is imprecise in his language, and when the State’s briefing employs a mischaracterization. After all, the subject of the regulatory ‘what and when’ is the central historical tradition inquiry under Bruen,” Benitez said.

The judge determined there was no historical tradition of banning billy clubs.

“More importantly, it is the government’s central burden to show a national tradition of regulation by reference to state laws and court decisions in effect during the most important historical time period,” he said.

“As it turns out, there is nothing. Though given lots of opportunity to do so, the State has not shown a tradition of prohibiting the simple possession of a billy during the most important historical time period. There is no genuine issue of material fact,” Benitez added.

Since the Second Amendment protects lethal self-defense with firearms, citizens should also have the right to bear less-lethal weapons like billy clubs.

The judge concluded every law-abiding individual has a constitutional right to possess such weapons for self-defense.

“The Second Amendment protects a citizen’s right to defend one’s self with dangerous and lethal firearms. But not everybody wants to carry a firearm for self-defense. Some prefer less-lethal weapons. A billy is a less-lethal weapon that may be used for self-defense,” Benitez said.

“It is a simple weapon that most anybody between the ages of eight and eighty can fashion from a wooden stick, or a clothes pole, or a dowel rod. One can easily imagine countless citizens carrying these weapons on daily walks and hikes to defend themselves against attacks by humans or animals. To give full life to the core right of self-defense, every law-abiding responsible individual citizen has a constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms like the billy for lawful purposes.”

The decision in Fouts v. Bonta found California’s billy club ban violated the Second Amendment.

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