Assault weapons have been banned in California since 1989, according to the ruling. The law has been updated several times since it was originally passed.
“Like the Swiss Army Knife, the popular AR-15 rifle is a perfect combination of home defense weapon and homeland defense equipment,” Benitez said in the ruling. “Firearms deemed as ‘assault weapons’ are fairly ordinary, popular, modern rifles.”
In his ruling, the judge also criticized the news media, writing, “One is to be forgiven if one is persuaded by news media and others that the nation is awash with murderous AR-15 assault rifles. The facts, however, do not support this hyperbole, and facts matter.”
Last year, Benitez ruled California’s ban on high-capacity magazines was unconstitutional. He also struck down the state’s restriction on remote purchases of gun ammunition.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom criticized the ruling Friday, calling AR-15’s a “weapon of war.”
Newsom added: “We’re not backing down from this fight, and we’ll continue pushing for common sense gun laws that will save lives.”
The ruling and injunction are stayed for 30 days, during which time the Attorney General may appeal and seek a stay from the Court of Appeals.
“There is no sound basis in law, fact, or common sense for equating assault rifles with swiss army knives — especially on Gun Violence Awareness Day and after the recent shootings in our own California communities,” his statement said.