"Under no level of heightened scrutiny can the law endure," U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez said prior to issuing a permanent injunction that happens in 30 days.
Benitez argued the country's definition of illegal military-style rifles prohibits firearms allowed in other states, depriving California gun owners of their own rights.
He compared the AR-15 rifle into a Swiss Army knife, stating it's"a perfect mixture of home defense weapon and homeland defense equipment. Great for both battle and home."
The lawsuit filed by the San Diego County Gun Owners Political Action Committee, California Gun Rights Foundation, Second Amendment Foundation and Firearms Policy Coalition is among many by gun advocacy groups challenging California's firearms laws, which are among the most popular in the nation.
"One would be to be confused if one is persuaded by news media and others which the country is awash with murderous AR-15 assault rifles," Benitez stated in the ruling, referring to AR-15s because"ordinary guns" compared to bazookas, howitzers, or machine guns that he said should just be used in the military. "The truth, however, do not support this hyperbole, and details thing."
He noted that there are currently an estimated 185,569 attack weapons filed with the nation despite the ban.
Gov. Gavin Newsom condemned the ruling, calling it"an immediate threat to public safety and the lives of innocent Californians."
He said the Swiss Army knife comparison jeopardized the"credibility" of the judgment and was a"slap in the face to the families who've lost loved ones to this weapon."
California Attorney General Rob Bonta said the country will appeal the judgment.
California first restricted assault weapons in 1989, with a number of upgrades to the law since then.
The country is also attractive Benitez's 2017 ruling contrary to the state's ban on the sales and purchases of magazines holding over 10 bullets and his 2020 decision blocking a 2019 California law requiring background checks for anyone purchasing ammunition.
Both steps were backed by voters at a 2016 ballot step.