US District Judge Roger Benitez on Friday blocked California from enforcing its ban, saying it violates the Second Amendment right to bear arms and deprives Californians from owning assault-style weapons commonly allowed in other states. He granted a 30-day stay on the injunction.
In a press conference Thursday announcing that an appeal has been filed, Bonta, a Democrat, called the judge's opinion "disturbing and troubling and of great concern."
"We cannot be and we are not deterred by this ruling," he said.
Bonta said his office will ask the appeals court to stay the district court's ruling, which would extend the 30-day stay and leave the laws in place during the appeals process.
In his ruling, Benitez likened the AR-15 to a Swiss Army knife, arguing that both are a "perfect combination of home defense weapon and homeland defense equipment." His comparison drew criticism from California Democrats and gun safety activists, while gun rights advocates celebrated the ruling and said they would continue their challenge at the Ninth Circuit -- and Supreme Court if necessary.
The judge's ruling came in Miller v Bonta, a 2019 lawsuit from California residents, San Diego County Gun Owners PAC and other gun rights advocacy groups.
California became the first state to ban the sale of semiautomatic guns in 1989, following a shooting at an elementary school in Stockton that left five children dead.
This story is breaking and will be updated.