Federal Judge Rules Against California’s ‘Large-Capacity’ Magazine Ban

On Friday, Judge Roger Benitez of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California ruled against the constitutionality of California's law that bans "high-capacity" gun magazines designed to hold more than 10 bullets.

NBC News reports:

High-capacity gun magazines will remain legal in California under a ruling Friday by a federal judge who cited home invasions where a woman used the extra bullets in her weapon to kill an attacker while in two other cases women without additional ammunition ran out of bullets.

"Individual liberty and freedom are not outmoded concepts," San Diego-based U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez wrote as he declared unconstitutional the law that would have banned possessing any magazines holding more than 10 bullets.

California law has prohibited buying or selling such magazines since 2000, but those who had them before then were allowed to keep them.

In 2016, the Legislature and voters approved a law removing that provision. The California arm of the National Rifle Association sued and Benitez sided with the group's argument that banning the magazines infringes on the Second Amendment right to bear arms.

Benitez referred to mass shootings as "exceedingly rare" in his opinion, while also "emphasizing the everyday robberies, rapes and murders he said might be countered with firearms," according to NBC News.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra reiterated that he is "committed to defending California's common sense gun laws" and is currently reviewing next steps, according to the news outlet. It seems all but a foregone conclusion that California will appeal the decision to the left-leaning U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which has appellate federal jurisdiction in California.

Libertarian website Reason has more:

In the landmark 2008 case District of Columbia v. Heller, the Supreme Court held that the Second Amendment applies to arms in common use for lawful purposes. Benitez notes that highly popular firearms owned by millions of Americans, such as the Glock 17 pistol, the Ruger 10/22 rifle, and the AR-15 rifle, come equipped with magazines that exceed California's arbitrary limit, which was originally imposed in 2000 and extended to pre-existing hardware by a 2016 ballot initiative. "Millions of ammunition magazines able to hold more than 10 rounds are in common use by law-abiding responsible citizens for lawful uses like self-defense," Benitez writes. "This is enough to decide that a magazine able to hold more than 10 rounds passes the Heller test and is protected by the Second Amendment."

The U.S. Supreme Court has been very reluctant to wade into Second Amendment issues since the twin landmark cases of 2008's District of Columbia v. Heller and 2010's City of Chicago v. McDonald. In January, as The Daily Wire reported, the Supreme Court granted a writ of certiorari to hear its first Second Amendment case since McDonald:

It is nothing less than momentous that the Supreme Court has finally agreed to hear a fresh Second Amendment challenge. For years, conservatives lamented what seemed to be a conscientious refusal by the justices to hear a fresh challenge post-McDonald. Justice Clarence Thomas, in various dissents to the denial of writs of certiorari in Second Amendment cases post-McDonald, repeatedly inveighed against what he saw as the Supreme Court's politically motivated belittling of the solemnity of the Second Amendment individual right.

Second Amendment supporters would likely be very excited about the possibility of litigation involving magazine size reaching the Supreme Court, given the Court's current composition.


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