SACRAMENTO (CBS13/CNN) — A federal appeals court has granted California a stay on its assault weapons ban as the state appealed a decision to lift it.

As the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals considers the state’s appeal of the decision by U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez in early June, the state requested a stay on lifting the ban, which the court granted Monday.

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State Attorney General Rob Bonta celebrated the 9th Circuit’s decision on Twitter.


US District Judge Roger Benitez on June 5 blocked California from enforcing its ban, saying it violates the Second Amendment right to bear arms and deprives Californians from owning assault-style weapons commonly allowed in other states. He granted a 30-day stay on the injunction.

In his ruling, Benitez likened the AR-15 to a Swiss Army knife, arguing that both are a “perfect combination of home defense weapon and homeland defense equipment.” His comparison drew criticism from California Democrats and gun safety activists, while gun rights advocates celebrated the ruling and said they would continue their challenge at the Ninth Circuit — and Supreme Court if necessary.

Gov. Gavin Newsom vowed to fight that decision, calling it “a direct threat to public safety and the lives of innocent Californians, period.”

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“For folks that wax on about public safety and they sit back passively and say nothing about this outrageous decision, shame on them. What frauds they are,” Newsom said at a press conference on June 10. “Frauds. They’re not serious about violence if they’re not serious about gun violence.”

California became the first state to ban the sale of semiautomatic guns in 1989, following a shooting at an elementary school in Stockton that left five children dead.

Six other states and Washington, DC, have bans on certain semiautomatic firearms.

In recent years, the US Supreme Court has declined to take up challenges to several states’ assault-style weapons bans, including Connecticut, Massachusetts and Illinois, leaving lower court upholdings of these laws in place. Gun-rights advocates, however, see new opportunities for legal challenges with the recent addition of Justice Amy Coney Barrett, giving the high court a 6-3 conservative tilt.

In April, the conservative-majority bench decided to review a case concerning a New York law that restricts an individual from carrying a concealed handgun in public in what will be the court’s first major decision on gun rights in a decade.

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