U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez ruled Friday that California’s ban on assault weapons is a violation of the Second Amendment and struck the law down.

“This case is not about extraordinary weapons lying at the outer limits of Second Amendment protection. The banned ‘assault weapons’ are not bazookas, howitzers, or machineguns. Those arms are dangerous and solely useful for military purposes,” Benitez wrote in a ruling. “Instead, the firearms deemed ‘assault weapons’ are fairly ordinary, popular, modern rifles. This is an average case about average guns used in average ways for average purposes.”

Benitez also added that a state has no right to overstep the Constitution.

“Government is not free to impose its own new policy choices on American citizens where constitutional rights are concerned,” Benitez further wrote. “California may certainly conceive of a policy that a modern rifle is dangerous in the hands of a criminal, and that therefore it is good public policy to keep modern rifles out of the hands of every citizen. The Second Amendment stands as a shield from government imposition of that policy.”


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Following the decision, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) reacted angrily to the ruling.

“Today’s decision is a direct threat to public safety and the lives of innocent Californians, period,” said Newsom. “The fact that this judge compared the AR-15 – a weapon of war that’s used on the battlefield – to a Swiss Army Knife completely undermines the credibility of this decision and is a slap in the face to the families who’ve lost loved ones to this weapon.”

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