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California Attorney General Rob Bonta on Thursday appealed a judge's ruling that declared the state's over 30-year "assault weapons" ban unconstitutional.
U.S. District Court Judge Roger Benitez overturned California's ban on certain semi-automatic rifles on June 4 that has been in place since 1989. Benitez, a former President George W. Bush appointee, said AR-15s and other similar firearms are not "extraordinary weapons lying at the outer limits of Second Amendment protection."
"Like the Swiss Army Knife, the popular AR-15 rifle is a perfect combination of home defense weapon and homeland defense equipment," the judge wrote in his decision. "Good for both home and battle ... Yet, the State of California makes it a crime to have an AR-15 type rifle. Therefore, this Court declares the California statutes to be unconstitutional."
Bonta criticized Benitez on Thursday for his comparison to a Swiss army knife and said his office is seeking a stay in the matter, which would effectively "extend the current 30-day stay of the decision and leave the laws in effect throughout the appeal process."
“Equating firearms that have been used in many of the deadliest mass shootings in this country with Swiss Army knives has no basis in law or fact,” the attorney general said in a statement. “The ban on assault weapons will not put an end to all gun violence, but it is one important tool the state has to protect the safety of Californians while also respecting the rights of law-abiding residents who choose to possess firearms. We have appealed the district court’s ruling and will continue our defense of the state’s commonsense gun laws.”
Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a critic of the ruling, said his state "will never back down" on defending its prohibition on "assault weapons."
“California’s assault weapons ban has saved lives, and we refuse to let these weapons of war back onto our streets,” he said Thursday. “This ban was enacted after a shooting that took the lives of five schoolchildren and injured countless more, and my administration will do whatever it takes to continue protecting Californians and leading the nation in gun safety laws. This is a fight California will never back down from, period.”
The Firearms Policy Coalition, a pro-Second Amendment group, promised to oppose the appeal as it criticized leadership in the state for seeking to protect the "unconstitutional ban."
"FPC will oppose any and all requests to stay enforcement of the final judgment," the group wrote. "Any further delays or stays of the injunction would prejudice the fundamental, individual rights of the plaintiffs and all peaceable gun owners in California, undermine the rule of law, and put thousands at risk of felony criminal liability for accidental violations of the unconstitutional ban."
It added: "FPC argued throughout the lawsuit that the State’s ban prohibits arms that are constitutionally protected, no more lethal than other certain arms that are not banned, and commonly possessed and used for lawful purposes in the vast majority of the United States."
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Original Author: Jake Dima