Home > News > California gun ruling: A federal judge, who compares an AR-15 to a Swiss Army knife, overturns ban on assault weapons

California gun ruling: A federal judge, who compares an AR-15 to a Swiss Army knife, overturns ban on assault weapons

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Assault weapons have been banned in California since 1989, according to the ruling. The law has been updated several times since it was originally passed.

“Like the Swiss Army Knife, the popular AR-15 rifle is a perfect combination of home defense weapon and homeland defense equipment,” Benitez said in the ruling. “Firearms deemed as ‘assault weapons’ are fairly ordinary, popular, modern rifles.”

AR-15 style weapons have been used in mass shootings

In his ruling, the judge also criticized the news media, writing, “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. The facts, however, do not support this hyperbole, and facts matter.”

However, as CNN has previously reported, AR-15 style rifles have been the weapon of choice for numerous mass shooters, including in a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, the Route 91 Harvest musical festival in Las Vegas, a massacre at a church in Texas, the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, the high school in Parkland, Florida, and the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, among others.

Last year, Benitez ruled California’s ban on high-capacity magazines was unconstitutional. He also struck down the state’s restriction on remote purchases of gun ammunition.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom criticized the ruling Friday, calling AR-15’s a “weapon of war.”

He said in a statement that the comparison made by the judge between a Swiss Army Knife and the AR-15 “completely undermines the credibility of this decision and is a slap in the face to the families who’ve lost loved ones to this weapon.”

Newsom added: “We’re not backing down from this fight, and we’ll continue pushing for common sense gun laws that will save lives.”

The ruling and injunction are stayed for 30 days, during which time the Attorney General may appeal and seek a stay from the Court of Appeals.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta said he will be appealing the ruling. “Today’s decision is fundamentally flawed, and we will be appealing it,” Bonta said in a news release.

“There is no sound basis in law, fact, or common sense for equating assault rifles with swiss army knives — especially on Gun Violence Awareness Day and after the recent shootings in our own California communities,” his statement said.

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