California Governor Gavin Newsom has beaten a federal judge’s decision to overturn the state’s three-decade-old assault rifle ban as “a direct threat to public safety and the lives of innocent Californians.”
In a heavily worded attack, the Democrat added: “Comparing an AR-15 to a Swiss army knife is a disgusting slap in the face for those who have lost loved ones to gun violence.”
Newsom issued his stabbing statement late on Friday after Roger Benitez, a San Diego district judge appointed by George W Bush, ruled that the state was illegally depriving law-abiding Californians of the weapons allowed by the United States Supreme Court rulings, denying their right to bear arms.
“Under no more rigorous level of scrutiny can the law survive,” Benítez wrote, issuing a permanent injunction that was upheld for 30 days. California Attorney General Rob Bonta called Benitez’s ruling flawed and said it would be appealed.
Assault rifles are disproportionately used in crime and have been used in most modern mass shootings in America, including the massacre of 20 young children and six adults at a school in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012. , 49 clubbers in Orlando, Florida in June 2016 and 58 concert goers in Las Vegas in October 2017.
California’s assault rifle ban has been in effect since 1989. Assault rifles have been used in mass shootings in the state, including in San Bernardino in 2015, when 14 were killed.
Nonetheless, Benítez said: “Like the Swiss Army Knife, the popular AR-15 rifle is a perfect combination of home defense weapon and national defense equipment. Good for both home and battle. “
The state argued that an increase in sales of pistols, rifles and shotguns in the last year showed that the assault weapons ban “has not prevented law-abiding citizens in the state from acquiring a variety of firearms with legal purposes, including self-defense. “
The assault weapons restrictions have been upheld by six federal appeals courts and districts, the state argued. Lifting the ban would allow things like assault shotguns and assault pistols, he said.
Benitez said, “This case is not about extraordinary weapons that are at the outer limits of Second Amendment protection. Prohibited ‘assault weapons’ are not bazookas, howitzers or machine guns. Those weapons are dangerous and only useful for military purposes. “
Despite the ban, there are an estimated 185,569 registered assault weapons in the state, the judge added.
“This is an average case of average weapons used on average for average purposes,” he wrote. “One must be forgiven if the media and others persuade him that the nation is awash in murderous AR-15 assault rifles. The facts, however, do not support this hyperbole, and the facts matter.
“In California, knife murder occurs seven times more often than rifle murder.”
The lawsuit was filed by the San Diego County Gun Owners Political Action Committee, the California Gun Rights Foundation, the Second Amendment Foundation and the Firearms Policy Coalition. It is among several challenging California firearm laws. The lawsuit was filed in August 2019, after a series of mass shootings.
The state is appealing a 2017 ruling by Benítez against a nearly two-decade ban on the sale of magazines with more than 10 bullets. That decision led to a shopping spree before the judge intervened. It was confirmed in August, but the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals said in March that an 11-member panel will hear the case again.
The state is also appealing an April 2020 decision by Benítez that blocked a 2019 law that requires background checks for anyone purchasing ammunition.
Both measures were championed by Newsom as lieutenant governor and endorsed by voters in 2016.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism