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Gov. Newsom Blasts Judge Who Overturned Assault Weapons Ban

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Gov. Newsom launched a blistering attack on a federal judge in San Diego who overturned California's assault weapon ban. Wilson Walker reports. (6-10-21)

Video Transcript

ELIZABETH COOK: Even in these politically charged times, it's not something you hear often.

KEN BASTIDA: Yeah, Governor Newsom of launching into a personal attack on a federal judge who overturned California's assault weapons ban.

GAVIN NEWSOM: Judge Benitez-- and Matty, you were right-- is a stone cold ideologue. He's a wholly owned subsidiary of the gun lobby and the National Rifle Association.

ELIZABETH COOK: This is the man drawing the governor's fire. US District judge Roger Benitez ruled California's decades old ban on assault weapons is unconstitutional. KPIX 5's Wilson Walker with reaction from the former California lawmaker who helped pass that ban.

MIKE ROOS: I, along with a handful of people-- Dianne Feinstein at the federal level-- understand how damn difficult it is to get the votes. The NRA is quite an effective lobbyist.

WILSON WALKER: Former Assembly Speaker Pro Temp Mike Roos wrote the bill that became the Roberti-Roos Assault Weapons Control Act of 1989. With it, California established its own list of prohibited firearms-- mostly rifles. His reaction to the judge's ruling that threatens to overturn it--

MIKE ROOS: Like everyone who knew how difficult it was in this state in 1989 with a Republican governor-- and god bless George Deukmejian for signing the bill into law-- deeply disappointed, because it has had such a positive impact.

WILSON WALKER: That's not just in California where the law is credited with cutting the state's gun violence. The law also became the model for the national assault weapons ban.

ROBYN THOMAS: During the time of the federal assault weapons ban from 1994 to 2004 in this country, high fatality mass shootings were dramatically reduced by about 70%. And following the expiration of the ban after 2004, high fatality mass shootings deaths went up by almost 300%.

WILSON WALKER: Today, the governor said the state needs to be more aggressive in pushing for stronger gun safety laws, mentioning several of the loopholes that have recently been targeted by the attorney general.

GAVIN NEWSOM: Ghost guns and bullet buttons, issues related to some of the challenges we're having as it relates to gun restraining orders.

WILSON WALKER: As for the ruling, remember, it does not change anything. The law stays in effect for the time being pending the appeal. And no real timetable yet on how long that is all going to take. We're live here at San Francisco General, Wilson Walker, KPIX 5.