“Under no level of heightened scrutiny can the law survive,” said U.S District Judge Roger Benitez.
Benitez issued a permanent injunction that will take effect in 30 days.
Benitez says the state’s idea of an “illegal military-style rifle” bans firearms that are allowed in other states, which restricts the rights of California gun owners.
The judge also compared the AR-15 to a Swiss Army knife, claiming that the firearm is “a perfect combination of home defense weapon and homeland defense equipment. Good for both home and battle.”
“One is to be forgiven if one is persuaded by news media and others that the nation is awash with murderous AR-15 assault rifles,” continued the judge, also adding that the AR-15 is an “ordinary gun” in comparison to bazookas, howitzers, or machine guns that he claims should only be used in the military.
“The facts, however, do not support this hyperbole, and facts matter,” continued the judge.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom blasted the ruling claiming it was “a direct threat to public safety and the lives of innocent Californians.”
“Overturning CA’s assault weapon ban and comparing an AR-15 to a SWISS ARMY KNIFE is a disgusting slap in the face to those who have lost loved ones to gun violence,” claimed Newsom. “This is a direct threat to public safety and innocent Californians. We won’t stand for it.”
California Attorney General Rob Bonta said the state plans on appealing the ruling. The state also plans on appealing a 2017 ruling by Benitez that overturned the state’s ban on the sale and purchase of magazines holding more than 10 rounds and a 2020 ruling by the judge to block a 2019 California law that required background checks for anyone purchasing ammunition.
California banned “assault weapons” in 1989 and has revised the law several time since them.
The lawsuit was filed by several pro-Second Amendment organizations such as the San Diego County Gun Owners Political Action Committee, California Gun Rights Foundation, Second Amendment Foundation, and the Firearms Policy Coalition.