Newsom bashes federal judge as 'wholly-owned subsidiary of the gun lobby'

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SAN FRANCISCO — California Gov. Gavin Newsom delivered an extraordinarily fierce rebuke Thursday of the national justice who struck down California’s battle weapons ban, calling the justice a “wholly-owned subsidiary of the weapon lobby and the National Rifle Association."

U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez spurred outrage among California leaders successful a Friday determination equating AR-15s to "a Swiss Army Knife" and asserting coronavirus vaccines had killed much Californians than wide shootings. Newsom and authorities Attorney General Rob Bonta condemned those comments arsenic some inaccurate and violative to weapon unit victims and vowed an appeal.

Newsom intensified his rhetoric successful a Thursday property league announcing that appeal. Speaking connected the rooftop of the Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center, Newsom called Benitez a "stone-cold ideologue" whose decisions are “press releases connected behalf of the weapon lobby.”

“We request to telephone this national justice out,” Newsom said. “He volition proceed to bash damage. Mark my words.”

An appointee of President George W. Bush, Benitez has issued aggregate decisions against California’s beardown weapon laws. The San Diego-based justice issued rulings successful 2019 and 2020 that recovered the state's ammunition-related restrictions unconstitutional; some were contained successful a 2016 ballot inaugural that Newsom championed. The afloat U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals said this twelvemonth that it volition rehear 1 of the cases connected large-capacity magazines.

Newsom and weapon power advocates lambasted weapon rights activists for seeking to enactment consequential cases earlier Benitez successful a maneuver that Newsom assailed arsenic “judge-shopping.”

“I don’t judge this justice would uphold a azygous weapon instrumentality anywhere, ever,” said Robyn Thomas of the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

Newsom has agelong been a vocal advocator for weapon control, assailing the NRA and championing the 2016 inaugural that imposed inheritance checks connected ammunition income and banned ample capableness magazines. Two weeks agone after a wide shooting astatine a San Jose light-rail yard, Newsom said, "What the hellhole is going connected successful the United States of America?" But the governor's nonstop condemnation Thursday of a sitting justice was a singular lawsuit of animosity betwixt 2 branches of government.

Benitez issued an automatic 30-day enactment of his ruling, acknowledging that the authorities would prosecute the entreaty that Newsom and Bonta vowed to file. The California Rifle and Pistol Association this week praised Benitez's ruling and said helium has "delivered bold and broad pro-Second Amendment decisions" successful caller years.

The stakes of the lawsuit are highly precocious fixed that it is apt to onshore earlier a U.S. Supreme Court with a 6-3 blimpish majority. That could pb to an adverse ruling that sets a broader precedent some nullifying California’s prohibition and much broadly limiting weapon restrictions.

Bonta deflected a question astir that outcome, saying helium was focused connected the appeal. But Newsom acknowledged the larger peril successful saying the lawsuit could onshore earlier “a stacked tribunal that went done a vetting process” to nutrient Supreme Court justices who judge successful an “expansive close to carnivore arms.”

“Serious moment,” Newsom said. “A batch connected the line.”

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