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HomeBreaking NewsCalifornia ban on standard-capacity gun magazines overturned

California ban on standard-capacity gun magazines overturned

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Federal judge Roger Benitez overturned California’s ban on standard-sized ammunition magazines, with California Attorney General Rob Bonta filing an immediate notice of appeal. The injunction on the ban will be stayed for 10 days, which means that the ban’s overturn will likely not take effect as the decision is appealed.

“Unless we enshrine a Right to Safety in the Constitution, we are at the mercy of ideologues like Judge Benitez,” said California Governor Newsom in a public statement responding to the decision. “This is exactly why I’ve called for a Constitutional amendment, and this is why I’ll keep fighting to defend our right to protect ourselves from gun violence.”

Standard-capacity magazines have been illegal to manufacture, import, keep or offer for sale, give, or lend since 2000, and illegal to purchase or receive in any way since 2013. Proposition 64, passed by California voters in 2016, made it illegal to possess even legally-acquired standard-capacity magazines with more than 10 rounds under the rationale such a measure would limit mass shootings. Anyone who did not turn in their standard-capacity magazines by July 1, 2017 could have faced up t o a year in prison before an earlier inunction by Benitez. The most popular firearm sold in 2022, a Sig Sauer P320 pistol, comes with a 15 round magazine except where otherwise limited, such as in California.

“There is no American history or tradition of regulating firearms based on the number of rounds they can shoot, or of regulating the amount of ammunition that can be kept and carried,” wrote Benitez in his latest ruling.

Benitez first struck down Proposition 63’s rule in June 2017 right before enforcement began, noting only six mass shootings between 2006 and 2013 used the banned magazines, and that “entitlement to enjoy Second Amendment rights and just compensation is not eliminated simply because they possess ‘unpopular’ magazines holding more than 10 rounds.” In 2018, a 2-1 panel of the Ninth Circuit Court affirmed Benitez’ ruling on the confiscations.

In 2019, Benitez ruled against the ban on the acquisition of standard-capacity magazines, citing varying outcomes of women’s self-defense cases where having additional bullets made the difference between life and death. This decision was upheld in a 2020 panel of the Ninth Circuit Court, then overturned by an en banc decision of the same court in 2021. The United States Supreme Court vacated the Ninth Circuit Court’s en banc decision in 2022 and remanded it back to Benitez for a new decision. Benitez’ latest ruling, if upheld in the appeals process, could allow for the resumption of legal sale of standard-capacity magazines in California.

Kenneth Schrupp
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Reposted with permission

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