Judge who reversed California assault weapons ban faces barrage of criticism

Judge who reversed California assault weapons ban faces barrage of criticism

A federal judge whose ruling last week to strike down California’s three-decade-old assault weapons ban garnered swift backlash is drawing more criticism over his claims about Covid-19 vaccines, firearm injuries and other subjects. As the state gears up to appeal U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez’s decision Friday, which California Attorney General Rob Bonta dismissed as "fundamentally flawed," legal experts say scrutiny of the case goes beyond why he concluded that the state’s prohibition is unconstitutional to another level of concern: how he shaped his argument. "I think it’s incredibly problematic when a federal judge quotes things that are factually incorrect, because it hurts the integrity of the branch," said Jessica Levinson, a law professor at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles who is an MSNBC columnist. Gun reform advocacy group responds to judge’s comparing AR-15 to Swiss Army knife June 7, 202103:38 Benitez’s ruling has grabbed attention for how he likened the AR-15 rifle, which has been wielded in some of the deadliest mass shootings in the U.S. in recent years, to a Swiss Army knife that could be used "for both home and battle." But tucked within his 94-page decision were other comparisons that critics said were inexplicable. He wrote that studies prove "that the ‘harm’ of an assault rifle being used in a mass shooting is an infinitesimally rare event," adding, "More people have died from the Covid-19 vaccine than mass shootings in California." Benitez offered no citation for the claim, and his office did not immediately […]

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