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Federal Judge Overturns California’s Assault Weapons Ban

Likening weapons used for mass murder to a Swiss Army Knife (which contains such deadly tools as a corkscrew and a toothpick), Federal Judge Roger Benitez overturned California’s longtime ban on assault weapons on Friday.

Assault weapons had been banned in California since 1989, according to the ruling. The law has been updated several times since it was originally passed. Judge Benitez has 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.

According to the new ruling, the assault weapons ban “violates the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms” and “deprives Californians from owning assault-style weapons commonly allowed in other states”.

Benitez, who was appointed by former Republican President George W. Bush, also issued a permanent injunction Friday so the law cannot be enforced. “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. “Firearms deemed as ‘assault weapons’ are fairly ordinary, popular, modern rifles.”

California officials are pledging to appeal the ruling, with the effort led by Governor Gavin Newsom. who called the AR-15 a “weapon of war.” The comparison, he said in a statement, “completely undermines the credibility of this decision and is a slap in the face to the families who’ve lost loved ones to this weapon.”

Newsom added: “We’re not backing down from this fight, and we’ll continue pushing for Common Sense gun laws that will save lives.”

The ruling and injunction are stayed for 30 days, during which time the attorney general may appeal and seek a stay from the Court of Appeals. California Attorney General Rob Bonta said he will be appealing the ruling. “Today’s decision is fundamentally flawed, and we will be appealing it,” Bonta said in a news release.

 



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