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Federal judge overturns California’s ban on assault weapons

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AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, Pool, File
FILE - In this April 14, 2020, file photo, California Gov. Gavin Newsom discusses an outline for what it will take to lift coronavirus restrictions during a news conference at the Governor's Office of Emergency Services in Rancho Cordova, While California will end most coronavirus rules on June 15, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Friday, June 4, 2021 he will not lift the “state of emergency” that has been in place since March 2020.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP and KION-TV)

A federal judge has overturned California’s three-decade-old ban on assault weapons, ruling that it 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.

California first restricted assault weapons in 1989, with multiple updates to the law since then.

California’s attorney general argued that assault weapons as defined by the law 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.

Governor Gavin Newsom was quick to react to the judge's ruling, writing in a statement Friday night, “today’s decision is a direct threat to public safety and the lives of innocent Californians, period." Newsom adds, "We’re not backing down from this fight, and we’ll continue pushing for common sense gun laws that will save lives.”

Read Newsom's full statement, here.

This is a developing story.

Reporting by the AP's DON THOMPSON and KION-TV.

California News / California Politics / Politics / Top Stories / Video

The Associated Press

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Aaron Groff

Aaron Groff is an evening co-anchor at KION News Channel 5/46.

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