“We can not be, and we are not deterred by this decision,” he said.
Bonta said his office will ask the appellate court to adjourn the district court̵
In its ruling, Benitez compared the AR-15 to a Swiss Army knife, arguing that both are a “perfect combination of home defense weapons and home defense equipment.” His comparison drew criticism from California Democrats and gun safety activists, while gun advocates celebrated the decision, saying they would continue their challenge at the Ninth Circuit – and the Supreme Court if necessary.
“It’s insulting to read his decision, in which he called the kind of weapon that killed my son like a pocket knife,” said Mattie Scott, who heads the Brady Center’s chapter in California and lost his son to firearms in 1996. “Pocket knives were not invented to kill as many people as possible. Pocket knives do not tear families apart. “
Robyn Thomas, CEO of Giffords Law Center, said they expect the Ninth Circuit will reverse Benitez’s decision, but also predict that gun lobbyists will continue to try to get similar cases before Benitez moves them up through the federal system.
The judge’s decision came in Miller vs. Bonta, a 2019 lawsuit from California residents, the San Diego County Gun Owners PAC and other gun rights advocacy groups.
Six other states and Washington, DC, have banned certain semi-automatic firearms.
This story has been updated with additional reaction and background information.
CNN’s Alexandra Meeks, Josh Campbell and Eric Levenson contributed to this report.