US Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom has strongly reprimanded a Republican-appointed judge for removing a three-decade-old ban on assault rifles in California.
Newsom warned in a Friday post on Twitter that removing the ban on assault rifles was “a direct threat to public safety and the lives of innocent Californians”.
Overturning CA’s assault weapon ban and comparing an AR-15 to a SWISS ARMY KNIFE is a disgusting slap in the face to those who have lost loved ones to gun violence.— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) June 5, 2021
This is a direct threat to public safety and innocent Californians. We won’t stand for it. https://t.co/feL5BABTXa
Newsom likened the ruling of the San Diego district judge, Roger Benitez, who was appointed by Republican George W Bush, as a a "disgusting slap in the face" to those people who have lost a loved one in a shooting incident.
“Comparing an AR-15 to a Swiss army knife is a disgusting slap in the face to those who have lost loved ones to gun violence.”
In his court ruling, Benitez claimed that California was unlawfully depriving law-abiding Californians of weapons allowed under US supreme court rulings, denying their right to bear arms.
Judge Benitez claimed the banned assault weapons were "not bazookas, howitzers or machine guns."
He said those weapons were dangerous and solely used for military duties.
However, according to Judge Benitez the AR-15 assault rifle was comparable to the army knife used by the people of Switzerland - a tool used in both home and battle.
“Like the Swiss army knife, the popular AR-15 rifle is a perfect combination of home defense weapon and homeland defense equipment. Good for both home and battle,” he said.
In response to the ruling, California's attorney general, Rob Bonta, said Benitez' judgement about assault rifles was based on flawed logic.
He said that Benitez’s ruling to remove the ban on assault rifles, which has been in place in California since 1989, will be appealed in a court of law.
Meanwhile, the growing concerns over gun violence has been a major in US politics.
US President Joe Biden described gun violence as an "epidemic" in the country.
Last month, Biden called for action on gun violence prevention following mass shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis, Indiana.
The free access to guns, and little control over the sales of assault rifles in particular, has paved the way for a spree of mass shootings in the US in recent years.