SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A federal judge has overturned California’s three-decade-old ban on assault weapons, calling it a “failed experiment” that violates the constitutional right to bear arms.
U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez of San Diego ruled Friday that the state’s definition of illegal military-style rifles unlawfully deprives law-abiding Californians of weapons commonly allowed in most other states.
"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.
"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."
"Firearms deemed as 'assault weapons' are fairly ordinary, popular, modern rifles," the judge continued.
California first restricted assault weapons in 1989, with multiple updates to the law since then.
California's attorney general argued that assault weapons are more dangerous than other firearms and are disproportionately used in crimes and mass shootings. But Benitez said the guns are overwhelmingly owned for legal purposes.
Gov. Gavin Newsom calling the decision “a direct threat to public safety."