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CA Legislators and Gun Control Advocates Back AG Bonta Appeal to Uphold Assault Weapon Ban 

For immediate release:
  • Erin Ivie
  • Director of Communications, Office of Assemblymember Buffy Wicks
  • 510-619-8495

SACRAMENTO –  In light of the recent ruling by U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez that overturned California’s long-standing ban on assault weapons, Assemblymember Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland), members of the State Legislature’s gun violence working group, and other gun control advocates held a press conference in support of California Attorney General Rob Bonta’s opposition to this dangerous decision. 

The press conference was in response to the recent U.S. District Court for the Southern District decision in Miller v. Bonta, which declared California’s assault weapons laws unconstitutional. Judge Benitez granted a 30-day stay of the ruling at the request of AG Bonta, which will allow the Attorney General to appeal the decision.

Reaction from State Lawmakers: 

“Judge Benitez’s decision is a radical, dangerous view of California gun laws — he likened the AR-15 assault rifle to a Swiss Army Knife, and made dangerously false claims that more people have died from the COVID vaccine than in mass shootings,” said Assemblymember Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland). “It’s profoundly irresponsible as an arbiter of truth and justice to promote such stark misinformation from the bench – especially as our state and country recover from a year of horrific spikes in gun violence. I and my colleagues stand in solidarity with AG Bonta as he pursues an appeal — because we won’t relent on this issue until there is not a single gun death in our state.” 

“For three decades, assault weapons have been banned in the state of California because of the danger they inflict on our communities,” said Assemblymember Mike A. Gipson (D-Carson). “This ban has outlasted the Federal Government’s ban on the same weapons, and we cannot deal with another mass shooting. The decision in this Miller v. Bonta is fundamentally flawed, and I believe the Attorney General’s office will continue the state’s defense of our commonsense gun laws. We must see this case all the way through and continue to support Attorney General Rob Bonta in his efforts to protect public safety at a time when gun violence is especially on the rise. I also commend Governor Newsom for his leadership on this important issue.”

“The Miller decision is constitutionally flawed, factually inaccurate, and morally indefensible,” said Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel (D-Woodland Hills). “But we will not be deterred. The California Legislature remains unwavering in our commitment to passing common-sense gun safety measures to better protect our children and our communities.” 

“I stand in solidarity behind Attorney General Rob Bonta, defending California’s ban on Assault Weapons,” said Assemblymember Cristina Garcia (D- Bell Gardens). “As a teacher, I know firsthand the fear our students live with daily, and it’s both unacceptable and detrimental to their ability to be the students and the leaders we need them to be. It’s crazy that students as young as Kindergarten have to do active shooter training. Students should not have to worry about being shot while at school. As the Chair of the Assembly Budget Subcommittee #5 on Public Safety, we are working to appropriate more money to programs like California’s Violence Intervention and Prevention Program (CalVIP) to reduce gun violence because there has been such an increase during the COVID 19 pandemic. It’s disheartening that as we take steps forward with programs like CalVIP,  a ruling like this sets as back even further.”

“Aurora, Las Vegas, Parkland. Despite differing circumstances, these mass shooting have one thing in common,” said Assemblymember Marc Berman (D-Menlo Park). “Like many of the deadliest shootings in the United States, AK-15 or AK-15 style weapons were used to commit these heinous crimes. As a member of the Legislature’s Gun Violence Prevention Working Group, I fully support Attorney General Bonta’s decision to appeal this dangerous decision to overturn California’s decades-old assault weapons ban. No Californian should fear going to the movies, a concert, or school.”

“My constituent, Jose Dejesus Hernández III, was only 35 years old when he and 8 of his innocent co-workers at the VTA were killed,” said Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan (D-Orinda). “They were killed by a gunman who had a history of violence and no right to the weapon he held. This murder, and the deaths of so many others, were preventable. They would not have been possible without inadequate regulation and the brutal killing power of semi-automatic weapons. Despite this clear danger, last week a federal judge made an unconscionable decision to strike down California’s 30 year assault weapons ban. This decision is a direct assault on our public safety. We have seen a sharp increase in gun violence in our state and around the country, with 247 mass shootings this year alone, 18 of which were in California. An assault weapon has the power to kill dozens of people in seconds. It is nothing like a Swiss Army Knife. I am grateful that the Attorney General will be appealing this decision, and proud to stand with other legislators to ensure that this decision does not cost more Californian lives.”

“Weapons of war have no place on our streets," said Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Laguna Beach). “California’s strong gun safety laws help to protect our communities from the pandemic of gun violence. After a year of tragic and deadly mass shootings, this attempt to overturn California’s ban on assault weapons is outrageous, irresponsible and cruel.”
“I worked with Senate Leader David Roberti 32 years ago on the first-in-the-nation ban on assault rifles in the wake of the massacre of five Stockton school children,” said Senator Steve Glazer (D-Contra Costa). “Since then, this has become a legal “whack-a-mole,” where the courts have continued to shift positions. First we named the weapons and the courts struck that down. Then, we addressed the characteristics of assault weapons and the courts didn’t like that. But, we’ll continue our relentless effort to protect neighborhoods from these weapons of war. We’ve experienced setbacks before at the state and national levels, but it doesn’t diminish our determination to work toward a society that is free from these dangerous weapons.”
"The decision to overturn California’s three-decade-old assault weapons ban is absolutely outrageous and asinine,” said Senator Dave Min (D-Irvine). “The decision is full of extremist right wing rhetoric and seems deliberately intended to be inflammatory. It also departs from decades of well settled precedent and common sense. AR-15s are not Swiss Army knives, the ban on assault weapons has saved lives, and this decision — couched in a radical view of the 2nd Amendment that was only recently invented — will increase the risk of mass shootings and make our communities less safe.”

"As a Senate member, I stand with the Attorney General, Rob Bonta, and Governor Newsom, in their efforts to defend public safety,” said Senator John Laird (D-Santa Cruz). “Assault weapons pose a threat to our communities, as shown by mass shootings and increasing gun violence, and these weapons have no place in California. I commend both the Attorney General and the Governor for their leadership on this vital issue.”

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