"Like the Swiss Army Knife, the popular AR-15 rifle is a perfect combination of home defense weapon and homeland defense equipment," Benitez said in the ruling. "Firearms deemed as 'assault weapons' are fairly ordinary, popular, modern rifles."
In his ruling, the judge also criticized the news media, writing, "One is to be forgiven if one is persuaded by news media and others that the nation is awash with murderous AR-15 assault rifles. The facts, however, do not support this hyperbole, and facts matter."
Both statements are true.
The AR platform truly is a swiss army knife when it comes to firearms. You can fit it with multiple upper receivers that have different barrel types, profiles and configurations for different uses. A bull barrel (heavy and fairly expensive) for target shooting, a light "government profile" one for hunting varmints and other modest-sized game or home defense, several different caliber upper options for various other hunting and target shooting purposes and you can even buy a "pistol" configuration that is indeed designed to be fired with one hand, although frankly I think that's sort of silly as the cartridge is not intended for this and as such they are extraordinarily loud and have a habit of spitting 1' diameter fireballs out the front end along with the projectile.
The weapon can also use "iron" sights, a "reflex" sight that can be used with both eyes open (excellent for home defense) or, for those of us with aging eyes who wish to target shoot or use it for hunting purposes, a scope of your choice. Depending on the options you choose you can even have more than one set of sights available at a time; a battery-powered reflex sight and "backup" iron sights, for example, should the batteries go dead, or a "flip away" magnifier allowing a reflex sight to be a viable hunting weapon both in close and at longer ranges.
While it is certainly true that people have chose to use this type of firearm as a weapon in mass-shootings, the facts are that rifles of all sorts, including the AR-series rifles, kill fewer people than knives in an average year. It's not close. Indeed you're more likely to be punched or kicked to death than killed with a rifle of any sort, including an AR-15 -- by roughly double or more depending on the year, and clubs (including I assume 5 irons), hammers and similar are about as likely to be the instrument of your demise. As the judge said: Facts matter. Nobody's talking about registering or banning 5-irons -- or fists.
This ruling will of course be appealed, but perhaps -- just perhaps -- some common sense is showing up.
The facts are that guns are used more-often, by quite a bit, in defense than for illegal, offensive purposes. Most of the time when a firearm is used for defense it doesn't have to actually be fired; the mere presence is frequently enough for whoever was in the middle of doing something ugly and criminal to decide that their action is a bad idea and change their mind. Indeed Samuel Colt's revolver was called the "Great Equalizer" and a firearm is; it renders a 5'1" 100lb woman able to effectively stop a 250lb 6' man from raping and/or killing her, a near impossibility otherwise.
Go figure -- criminals don't like the prospect of dying any more than anyone else does and since we refuse to keep criminals in prison, well, that makes the remaining choices rather stark, doesn't it?