State appeals San Diego judge’s decision on assault weapons

California

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — Gov. Gavin Newsom and California Attorney General Rob Bonta were in San Francisco Thursday announcing action after a federal judge’s decision on California’s gun laws.

Last week, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California declared that the state’s assault weapons laws were unconstitutional. The long-held law bans Californians from possessing assault weapons.

Bonta responded that he will be appealing the decision:

“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. We need to take action to end gun violence now. We will fight this ruling and continue to advocate for and defend common-sense gun laws that will save lives,” said Bonta.

During Thursday’s news conference, he said: “Many choose to own firearms in San Francisco… our laws respect laws of gun abiding folks.”

Newsom called out U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez for working with the gun lobby and said Benitez will “continue to do damage.”

The court in its decision compared the AR-15 rifle to a Swiss army knife – versatile and protective:

Like the Swiss Army Knife, the popular AR-15 rifle is a perfect combination of home defense weapon and homeland defense equipment. Good for both home and battle, the AR-15 is the kind of versatile gun that lies at the intersection of the kinds of firearms protected under District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008) and United States v Miller, 307 U.S. 174 (1939). Yet, the State of California makes it a crime to have an AR15 type rifle. Therefore, this Court declares the California statutes to be unconstitutional.

Miller v. Bonta Court Decision

Strong criticism came from not only the governor, but also local San Diego gun safety advocates after the judge’s 94-page ruling likened the rifle to a Swiss army knife.

“This is a very versatile tool,” said Ron Marcus, president of San Diegans For Gun Violence Prevention. “It can be a hunting rifle; it can be used for protection or what not but I want to make no mistake about this the AR-15 and those kinds of weapons were designed for exactly one purpose alone which is to kill very rapidly, very easily and with as little training as possible.”

Meanwhile, local gun advocates such as the San Diego County Gun Owners, named as a plaintiff in the case, declined to comment on the ruling or the appeal.

However, the Firearms Policy Coalition released a lengthy statement reading, in part, that the coalition will “aggressively litigate this case on appeal and will take every action to defend the Court’s legally- and historically-correct decision up to and at the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Dr. Andre Campbell from the Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital joined Thursday’s press conference to give a perspective on doctors treating gunshot victims.

“To equate an assault weapon to a pocket knife is totally wrong – there is no comparison,” Campbell said. “The assault weapon causes absolute devastation to the human body.”

San Francisco Mayor London Breed also spoke, saying that the assault weapons law has saved countless lives, comparing it to how pandemic shut down laws saved lives as well.

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