State Watch

California appeals ruling overturning state’s assault weapons ban

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Semiautomatic rifles are displayed for sale in this Jan. 1, 2019, file photo.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta (D) announced Thursday that an appeal had been filed against a judge’s decision last week to strike down California’s longtime ban on assault weapons.

Last week U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez issued a ruling striking down California’s 30-year ban on assault weapons, calling it unconstitutional and an overstep by the state government. In his ruling, the judge compared the AR-15 rifle to a “Swiss Army Knife” that is “good for both home and battle.”

Benitez granted a 30-day stay on his injunction, which the California state government is attempting to extend with its appeal.

During a press conference on Thursday, Bonta called Benitez’s opinion “disturbing and troubling and of great concern,” CNN reported.

“We cannot be and we are not deterred by this ruling,” Bonta said.

The attorney general had stated that he intended to file an appeal at the time of the ruling, calling the judge’s decision “fundamentally flawed.”

“There is no sound basis in law, fact, or common sense for equating assault rifles with swiss army knives — especially on Gun Violence Awareness Day and after the recent shootings in our own California communities,” Bonta said last week. “We need to take action to end gun violence now. We will fight this ruling and continue to advocate for and defend common sense gun laws that will save lives.”

Bonta was joined by California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) as well as guns rights activists who rebuked Benitez and claimed his ruling was a political outlier, CNN reported.

Mattie Scott, head of the California chapter of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, called Benitez’s decision “insulting.” Scott’s son died in 1996 due to gun violence, according to CNN.

“It is insulting to read his decision where he called the kind of weapon that killed my son akin to a pocket knife,” Scott said. “Pocket knives were not invented to kill as many people as possible. Pocket knives don’t tear families apart.”

Tags California Gavin Newsom Gavin Newsom Gun politics in the United States Rob Bonta Roger Benitez

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