In his 94-page long ruling, Federal Judge Roger T Benitez called the ban on assault weapons (which has existed since 1989) unconstitutional, defending the right of Americans to own semi-automatic rifles.
“Like the Swiss Army Knife, the popular AR-15 semi-automatic rifle can be used perfectly to defend both home and country,” he argued.
“Weapons and ammunition in the hands of criminals, tyrants and terrorists are dangerous. They are best left in the hands of responsible and law-abiding citizens,” he said.
Mr. Benitez said he would give the state of California 30 days to appeal his ruling, which Governor Newson has sworn to challenge, calling it a “direct threat to public safety.”
“We are not backing down from this fight and we will continue to fight for gun laws that go the right way and save lives,” he said in a statement.
The announcement comes amid heightened violence in the United States and just over a week after an employee of a public transport company killed eight people at his company’s California site before giving himself up. dead.
A search this week at the home of the shooter – burned down shortly before the attack – found 12 firearms, 22,000 ammunition and supposed Molotov cocktails.
Mass shootings have occurred recently in Florida, Indiana, California, Colorado and Georgia. An outbreak of violence described by President Joe Biden “epidemic”.
In the fall, the United States Supreme Court is due to consider an appeal by the powerful NRA arms lobby against a New York law restricting the carrying of firearms outside one’s home.
It will be the first time in more than a decade that the country’s highest court will consider a major case involving the Second Amendment to the Constitution.
This amendment, which is the subject of divergent interpretations, states that “a well-organized militia being necessary for the security of a free state, the right of the people to hold and bear arms will not be infringed. “.
For supporters of firearms, it guarantees a right to carry weapons for every citizen. Others, however, consider that the authors of the Constitution only wanted to protect the right to possess and use weapons within the framework of a force of maintenance of order, like the army or the police force.
In the United States, the coronavirus pandemic has certainly reduced violence at work – citizens staying at home – but gun sales have exploded.