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.