The governor of the state called the decision a direct threat to public safety.
California has overturned a three-decade-old ban on assault weapons. Federal Judge Roger Benitos of the District Court in San Diego called it a “failed experiment” that violates citizens’ right to own guns.
“The popular AR-15 rifle is like a Swiss Army knife, the perfect combination of home defense tool and homeland defense weapon. Good for home, and good for the battlefield,” is how the judge explained the decision.
The judge said the ban, in place since 1989, violates the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution by restricting Americans’ access to guns allowed in most other states. The judge noted that such weapons are used within the law in most cases.
California Governor Gavin Newsom criticized the court’s decision, calling it a “direct threat to public safety and the lives of innocent Californians,” and a “slap in the face to those who have lost loved ones to these weapons.”
The AR-15 rifle referred to by Judge Benitez is one of the most popular assault rifles in the United States. Critics of its availability among civilians point to cases of its use by people who have committed mass murder. One of the most famous incidents in recent years in which an AR-15 was used was the 2017 Las Vegas concert shooting, in which 59 people were killed.