CA appeals federal judge’s overturning of assault weapon ban

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Gov. Gavin Newsom and California Attorney General Rob Bonta were among a group of politicians and activists who criticized the recent overturning of the state’s assault weapons ban at a press conference on Thursday.

The state has already appealed the Miller v. Bonta decision, wherein US District Judge Roger Benitez of San Diego ruled last week that the state’s law regulating assault weapons is unconstitutional. The ruling is on hold pending an appeal in the ninth circuit.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta called the ruling “disappointing” and “fundamentally flawed.” Bonta plans to file a motion to stay, which would temporarily stop the ruling from coming into effect, and hopes to “make the best case to reverse the lower court's decision.”

Bonta argued for continued, common-sense gun control in the wake of the San Jose mass shooting, saying, “We must continue to do our part to protect the public safety here in California.”

The decision itself was unexpected, overturning a 32-year-old assault weapon ban in California. Judge Benitez wrote in his opinion that assault weapons are overwhelmingly used for legal reasons and even likened the AR-15 rifle to a Swiss army knife.

Dr. Andre Campbell, who works in the trauma center at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, pushed back on the judge’s comparison.

“The extent of injuries of one does not equal the other,” said Dr. Campbell.

An AR-15 causes “absolute devastation to the human body. It is as if a bomb went off in the body of the patient,” he added.

Dr. Campbell called gun violence in the US a “major public health crisis.”

Robyn Thomas, the executive director of Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, called Judge Benitez “handpicked by the NRA.”

Blaring sirens interrupted the press conference at one point, prompting Newsom to wonder, “How many more sirens we’re going to be hearing because of Judge Benitez’s ruling.”

Newsom called gun control a “bipartisan issue” while Benitez was merely an “ideology.”

Chided those who talk about public safety without getting serious about gun violence, even labelling them frauds.

“This state will continue to fight and continue to lead [on gun control],” said Newsom.

“We look forward to being successful in this appeal in the ninth circuit."