California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday lambasted two federal judges who he says are a threat to the state’s strict gun control laws.
The governor’s remarks came a day after a mass shooting at a Texas elementary school left 21 dead, including 19 children. Newsom, gathered with legislative Democrats, called for an effort to fast-track gun control bills currently working their way through the Legislature so that he can sign them into law next month.
But he saved his most pointed comments for two federal judges.
“The only thing that can stop (California’s gun control laws) by the way are these extremist judges, which is an issue. You can ask Judge (Roger) Benitez about how he’s feeling about these last 10 days. Ask Judge (Ryan) Nelson how he’s feeling. Specifically Judge Nelson.
Benitez is a federal judge, appointed by President George W. Bush in the Southern District of California. Nelson is a circuit court judge, appointed by President Donald Trump, for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
A recent 2-1 decision, authored by Nelson, found that California’s ban on anyone under 21 possessing semiautomatic rifles was unconstitutional. He praised the young people who fought in the American Revolution.
“America would not exist without the heroism of the young adults who fought and died in our revolutionary army. Today we reaffirm that our Constitution still protects the right that enabled their sacrifice: the right of young adults to keep and bear arms,” Nelson wrote.
Newsom referenced that line in his remarks Wednesday.
“I wonder how he’s feeling right now, what happened in Buffalo and what happened in Texas. Ripped from the pages of the Federalist Society, one of the 331 federal appellate court judges that Donald Trump gave this country. I wonder what Judge Nelson’s feeling. I wonder how proud he is of that opinion he wrote,” Newsom said.
The governor then turned his attention to Benitez, who has struck down a number of California gun control laws, including the state’s bans on assault weapons and large-capacity ammunition magazines.
“Judge Benitez, who said about our assault weapons ban that an assault weapon is nothing more than a Swiss Army knife. These are extremists. That’s the world we’re living in right now, wake up folks. Read these opinions. Pay attention to what’s going on,” Newsom said.
While the governor pledged to do what he could to fast-track pending gun bills so that he can sign them into law next month, he did not specify which bills he was referring to.
However, Erin Mellon with the governor’s office said that there are four bills in particular that he is looking to sign “sooner than later.”
Those include Senate Bill 1327, which allows private citizens to sue anyone who manufactures, distributes, transports, imports into the state or sells assault weapons, .50 caliber BMG sniper rifles, ghost guns, or ghost gun kits; Assembly Bill 1621, which would further restrict ghost guns in the state; Assembly Bill 2571, which would prevent certain categories of weapons, like semiautomatic weapons, from being marketed to minors; and Assembly Bill 1594, which empowers individuals and the California attorney general to sue irresponsible, reckless or negligent gun manufacturers, importers and dealers.