California: Federal judge overturns assault rifle ban

Ein federal judges in California has overturned the decades-old ban on assault rifles in the US state. In the ruling, released on Friday (local time), Roger Benitez, a George W. Bush-appointed district judge in San Diego, wrote that the ban on semi-automatic weapons was unconstitutional. Law-abiding Californians are unlawfully deprived of the right to guns. The “popular” AR-15 assault rifle, for example, is “like a Swiss Army Knife” – a “perfect combination” of a weapon for domestic defense and homeland security, “good for both home and combat”. The state has 30 days to appeal the decision.

California attorney general Rob Bonta immediately announced that he would appeal the decision and stressed that the applicable laws are still in full force. California’s governor, Democrat Gavin Newsom, assessed the decision as a “direct threat to public safety and innocent Californians”. On Twitter, Newsom wrote that comparing the AR-15 rifle with a “Swiss Army Knife” would be “a disgusting slap in the face for those who have lost loved ones to gun violence”. Gun lobbyists, on the other hand, cheered the federal judge’s decision.

The California ban on the private possession of assault rifles has existed since 1989.

In the United States, fatal incidents involving firearms that are easy to buy are commonplace. Assault rifles like the AR-15 are often used in rampages. After several larger gunshot attacks, a ban on such weapons was once again discussed more intensively at the federal level. So far, the necessary majorities have not been found in the US Congress. Many Republicans oppose tightening gun laws. The gun lobby is very powerful in the United States.