A federal judge has struck down a California law banning the possession and sale of firearm magazines containing over 10 rounds.
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California Roger Benitez ruled on Friday that law-abiding citizens have the right to own such magazines and that there’s no legal precedent justifying California going so far.
“Removable firearm magazines of all sizes are necessary components of semiautomatic firearms. Therefore, magazines come within the text of the constitutional declaration that the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed,” he wrote.
“Because millions of removable firearm magazines able to hold between 10 and 30 rounds are commonly owned by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes, including self-defense, and because they are reasonably related to service in the militia, the magazines are presumptively within the protection of the Second Amendment,” he added.
You can read the Court’s decision here:https://t.co/brMF521bgf
— Firearms Policy Coalition (@gunpolicy) September 22, 2023
The judge further said that California had failed to justify “its sweeping ban and dispossession mandate,” which, according to reports, was passed in 2016.
“One government solution to a few mad men with guns is a law that makes into criminals responsible, law-abiding people wanting larger magazines simply to protect themselves. The history and tradition of the Second Amendment clearly supports state laws against the use or misuse of firearms with unlawful intent, but not the disarmament of the law-abiding citizen,” Benitez wrote.
“The adoption of the Second Amendment was a freedom calculus decided long ago by our first citizens who cherished individual freedom with its risks more than the subservient security of a British ruler or the smothering safety of domestic lawmakers. The freedom they fought for was worth fighting for then, and that freedom is entitled to be preserved still,” he added.
That being said, the ruling won’t go into effect for at least 10 days so that California Attorney General Rob Bonta can file an appeal with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
“In the past half-century, large-capacity magazines have been used in about three-quarters of gun massacres with 10 or more deaths and in 100 percent of gun massacres with 20 or more deaths. We will continue to fight for our authority to keep Californians safe from weapon enhancements designed to cause mass casualties,” Bonta said in a statement.
“The Supreme Court was clear that Bruen did not create a regulatory straitjacket for states — and we believe that the district court got this wrong. We will move quickly to correct this incredibly dangerous mistake. We will not stop in our efforts to protect the safety of communities and Californians’ rights to go about their business without fear of becoming victims of gun violence, while at the same time respecting the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners,” he added.
Meanwhile, radically far-left California Gov. Gavin Newsom published a tweet accusing Benitez, who was nominated to the court by former President George W. Bush, of being an “extremist” and “right-wing zealot with no regard for human life”:
BREAKING: California’s high-capacity magazine ban was just STRUCK DOWN by Judge Benitez, an extremist, right-wing zealot with no regard to human life.
Wake up, America.
Our gun safety laws will continue to be thrown out by NRA-owned federal judges until we pass a Constitutional…
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) September 23, 2023
And not surprisingly, the demonstrably left-wing-biased media are using similar rhetoric. For example, the Los Angeles Times refers to Benitez as “a darling of the political right for his record of rolling back gun control legislation.”
In fairness, the judge overturned the same ban in 2019.
“Crime waves cannot be broken with warrantless searches and unreasonable seizures. Neither can the government response to a few madmen with guns and ammunition be a law that turns millions of responsible, law-abiding people trying to protect themselves into criminals. Yet, this is the effect of California’s large-capacity magazine law,” he wrote at the time.
Following that decision, the state appealed to the 9th Circuit, and in 2020 a three-judge panel upheld Benitez’ decision. However, “the case was taken back up by an 11-judge ‘en banc’ panel of circuit judges, which ruled 7 to 4 to uphold the law,” according to the Times.
Luckily for gun-rights enthusiasts, the Supreme Court eventually overturned the decision, sending the case back to the 9th Circuit, which in turn funneled the case right back to Benitez.
Gun-rights enthusiasts have several residents from San Diego County — including lead plaintiff Virginia Duncan — to thank for Friday’s decision. They sued the state over the magazine ban in 2017, arguing in their suit that the 2nd Amendment grants them the right to own large-capacity magazines.
“Today’s rulings represent continued affirmation that the Bruen decision, and Heller before that, represent a sea change in the way courts must look at these absurdly restrictive laws. Sure, the state has appealed, but the clock is ticking on laws that violate the Constitution like this one,” Duncan’s attorney, Chuck Michel, said after Friday’s ruling.
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