A US federal judge on Friday overturned California’s 32-year-old ban on assault weapons, describing the ban as a “30-year-old failed experiment” and prompting a sharp retort from the state’s governor and attorney general.
Judge Roger Benitez of the US District Court for the Southern District of California concluded that the ban on assault weapons infringed on the Second Amendment rights of California citizens. Judge Benitez wrote in the court order that the “government is not free to impose its own new policy choices on American citizens where Constitutional rights are concerned.”
Judge Benitez also compared an AR-15 rifle to a Swiss Army knife, stating, “[L]ike the Swiss Army knife, the popular AR-15 rifle is a perfect combination of home defense weapon and homeland defense equipment. Good for both home and battle.”
A 30-day stay of the ruling was granted at the request of California Attorney General Rob Bonta, allowing Bonta to appeal the ruling. Bonta has said that he will appeal, as he believes that the decision was “fundamentally flawed.” He stated:
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. 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.