Survivors Of First Mass Shooting In US Speak Out About Judge Striking Down Assault Weapon Ban

Survivors of the Cleveland Elementary School shooting in Stockton are speaking out after a federal judge struck down California's assault weapons ban, calling it unconstitutional.

Video Transcript

- One of the first mass school shootings ever in our area. Speaking out tonight as a state appeals a federal judge's decision on California's assault weapons ban. Thanks for joining us here at 6:00. I'm Tony Lopez.

- And I'm Marlee Ginter. That band has been in place for 32 years. We have team coverage on the lift of the band tonight. CBS 13's political analyst Gary Dietrich with reaction on how Governor Newsom is responding to the judge who lifted the ban. But first, CBS 13's Marissa Perlman live in Sacramento with reaction from shooting survivors, Marissa.

- Well, it surprises many guys that this band was first put in place after the first mass school shooting in this country. That shooting in 1989 at Cleveland Elementary school in Stockton.

- There's a part of us that does not let that go.

- Judy Wheldon was a teacher at the Stockton school when a gunman shot and killed five students hurting 32 others before turning the gun on himself. It was her first teaching job in California. She and five other teachers saw the massacre unfold, helping students as young as six run from the bullets.

- We are the ones who have to teach them how to grieve and how to move on.

- She and others called the decision by Judge Roger Benitez to reverse the ban on assault weapons a deadly choice.

- He's opening the door to who knows what kind of violence. So utterly devastating.

- Now state leaders are appealing the ruling, which calls California's assault weapons ban unconstitutional. The decision carries a 30-day stay giving the state the opportunity to appeal. Meaning right now, the ban is still in effect. Governor Newsom ripped into the judge's decision vowing to fight it.

- It's not politics but our emotional and personal, the family members who lost their damn lives, their loved ones. Shameful.

- But one Cleveland survivor is supporting the judge's move. Rob Young was just six, a first grader at Cleveland Elementary. He was shot in the foot and chest, a piece of bullet still lodged in his chest today.

Now a police Sergeant young shared this statement with us which reads in part, "they've managed to demonize platform such as the Ar 15. Yet, they've also dumbed down several weapons related charges in recent years. That in turn has taken away law enforcement's ability to hold criminals accountable for their actions."

Now Rob Young goes on to say there's a good reason for the Second Amendment. He says California needs a reset in that regard. And the AG's office will also look to extend the hold on the ruling throughout this entire appeals process.

- All right. Marissa, thank you for that live report. Well now, let's listen to what else the governor had to say about the federal judge's ruling.

- Is a stone cold ideologue. He's a wholly owned subsidiary of the gun lobby and the National Rifle Association.

- Newsom saying the judge is not serious about gun violence in the state. Among other things, let's bring in CBS 13 political analyst Gary Dietrich. Gary, always good to see you. What's your take on what the governor said and his slam on this judge?

- Well, you know, Tony, this as always of course, gun violence always a very emotional issue. Second Amendment, always an emotional issue for people on both sides. The challenge these days is political figures demonizing members of the Judiciary.

And you've heard this recently around the country where judges are really feeling attacked personally, and those comments from the governor are pretty strong. I think there's a lot of people who say, you know, you can disagree with the ruling, but be careful about turning you know, people's sites. So to speak no pun intended on judges themselves, who sometimes feel very vulnerable in their positions as decision makers.

- All right, definitely quite a debate going on right now.