California Appeals Ruling Overturning Assault Weapons Ban

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Brianna Lyman News and Commentary Writer
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California’s attorney general filed an appeal Thursday challenging a federal judge’s ruling that overturned the state’s assault weapons ban.

Democratic state Attorney General Rob Bonta filed the appeal, tweeting “weapons of war don’t belong on our streets.”

Announcing the appeal, Bonta said District Judge Roger Benitez’s ruling was “disturbing and troubling and of great concern,” according to CNN.

“We cannot be and we are not deterred by this ruling,” Bonta reportedly said.

Bonta is asking the appeals court to stay Benitez’s ruling which would keep the assault weapons ban in place until the appeals process is complete, according to the report. (RELATED: ANALYSIS: Here’s What Actually Happens When You Ban Assault Weapons)

Benitez, in his introduction, wrote “like the Swiss Army knife, the popular AR-15 rifle is a perfect combination of home defense weapon and homeland defense weapon. Good for both home and battle, the AR-15 is the kind of versatile gun that lies at the intersection of the kinds of firearms protected under District of Columbia v. Heller and United States v. Miller. Yet, the State of California makes it a crime to have an AR-15 type rifle.”

Mattie Scott, who lost a son to gun violence in 1996 and works with the Brady Center’s California chapter, said Thursday that equating a Swiss army knife to an AR-15 is “insulting,” according to CNN.

“It is insulting to read his decision where he called the kind of weapon that killed my son akin to a pocket knife. Pocket knives were not invented to kill as many people as possible. Pocket knives don’t tear families apart.”

Bonta also criticized the comparison in a statement. “Equating firearms that have been used in many of the deadliest mass shootings in this country with Swiss Army knives has no basis in law or fact,” Bonta said. “The ban on assault weapons will not put an end to all gun violence, but it is one important tool the state has to protect the safety of Californians while also respecting the rights of law-abiding residents who choose to possess firearms,” Bonta said.

Benitez ruled the case is about an “average” gun being used “in average ways for average purposes.”

“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,” he ruled, noting Californians are more likely to be killed by a knife attack than a rifle, citing FBI statistics.

Benitez gave Bonta 30 days to appeal.