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Appeals court blocks the overturn of California's assault weapons ban

The judge who overturned California's ban had likened the AR-15 rifle to a swiss army knife.

Published: June 22, 2021 8:04am

Updated: June 23, 2021 10:57am

A federal appeal court Monday effectively ruled to keep a ban on assault weapons in California. 

The ruling came from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers California and eight other states. The San Francisco-based court blocked a federal judge's previous ruling that had overturned California's ban on assault weapons, including AR-15's.

A three-judge panel on the federal appeals court issued a stay on U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez's order to overturn the ban, according to CNN.

"The 9th Circuit granted our motion to stay the district court’s ruling in Miller v. Bonta," California Attorney General Rob Bonta tweeted. "This leaves our assault weapons laws in effect while appellate proceedings continue. We won't stop defending these life-saving laws."

The 9th Circuit court said both parties would file a status update within 14 days.

In his original June 4 case which overturned California's three-decade-old  ban on assault rifles, Judge Benitez called so-called assault riffles "fairly ordinary, popular, modern rifles," and argued in his ruling that "like the Swiss Army Knife, the popular AR-15 rifle is a perfect combination of home defense weapon and homeland defense equipment."

This isn't Benitez's first ruling against firearm restrictions. Last year he ruled against the state's ban on high-capacity magazines, calling them unconstitutional, and also struck down California's ban on the remote purchase of ammunition. Benitez is a Bush-era appointee.

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