Federal Judge in California Blocks Law that would ban ownership of High-Capacity Magazines

In a small victory for gun owners in California, a Federal Judge in San Diego blocked a controversial California law that would ban the ownership of high-capacity magazines from going into effect Saturday.  The law would have required California owners of high-capacity magazines to turn them into law enforcement, sell them or transfer them to another State.

The judge ruled that the ban approved by the Legislature last year takes away gun owners’ Second Amendment rights and amounts to the government taking people’s private property without compensation.

California law has prohibited buying or selling the magazines since 2000, but until now allowed those who had them to keep them.

“If this injunction does not issue, hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of otherwise law-abiding citizens will have an untenable choice: become an outlaw or dispossess one’s self of lawfully acquired property,” San Diego-based U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez wrote.

He issued a preliminary injunction blocking the law from taking effect while he considers the underlying lawsuit filed by the National Rifle Association-affiliated California Rifle & Pistol Association.

A Sacramento-based judge is considering another challenge filed by different firearm owners’ organizations.

State lawmakers approved the ban last year as part of a package of bills adding to what already were some of the nation’s strictest gun laws. Voters agreed in November when they approved Proposition 63, a measure that toughened the penalties by allowing violators to be fined or jailed.

The judge said he was mindful of voters’ approval and government’s legitimate interest in protecting the public but added that the “Constitution is a shield from the tyranny of the majority.”

Gun owner’s constitutional rights “are not eliminated simply because they possess ‘unpopular’ magazines holding more than 10 rounds,” he wrote in a 66-page decision.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who is defending the state law, did not immediately comment.

Supporters say that magazines often holding 30 or 100 bullets are typically used in mass shootings and aren’t needed by hunters or civilian owners.

Forcing assailants to change magazines more frequently gives victims time to flee or subdue the shooter, Becerra argued in court filings.

He listed as examples the shooting in Orlando, Florida, that killed 49 people and injured 53; the terrorist assault that killed 14 and injured 22 in San Bernardino; the massacre of children and teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut; and the Arizona attack that killed six and wounded 13 including former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

The government isn’t illegally seizing gun owners’ property because owners retain the option of converting the magazines to only hold 10 bullets, selling them or transferring them out of state, Becerra argued.

Moreover, the government won’t own the magazines in the way it would property seized for a new highway or public building, he argued, since the magazines would be destroyed by law enforcement agencies.

Becerra said opponents’ Second Amendment challenge has repeatedly been rejected by other courts, allowing at least seven other states and 11 local governments to already restrict the possession or sale of large-capacity ammunition magazines.

It is likely this will end up at the Supreme Court in the future, despite their recent refusal to take on 2 Second-Amendment cases.

2 Comments

  1. 14TH AMENDMENT IS A MORE RECENT DECISION ABOUT THE RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS, AND IT BUTTRESSES THE 2ND AMENDMENT. So if anyone thinks its just about 2nd amendment rights they might want to think again.
    The 14th Amendment 1886 an its history about the Bill of Rights
    After the Civil War 1st issue the African American men after returning from the Civil War were denied the right to keep their military issued arms like their white counterparts…also women also with the 14th Amendment finally had the right to own guns…and the right to vote….actually the 14th Amendment is clear about the right to own guns and a much stronger case legally for the right to bear arms….but there is way more to this ground breaking amendment….THE FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT
    How the fourteenth was debated an framed by the the thirty ninth congress….The meaning of the words in its section 1…How its drafters rejected the Supreme Court’s holding in the Barron decision that the mandates of the Bill Of Rights were not applicable to the states…How these legislative arguments laid the ground work for the judicial doctrine an process of incorporation.
    THE FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT SECTION-1
    “…No State shall make or enforce any laws which shall abridge the privileges or immunity’s of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, with out due process of the law; or deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws…..”
    Under the leadership of Representative John Bingham, James Wilson, and Thadeus Stevens, as well as Senator Jacob Howard, the Fourteenth Amendment was proposed by the Thirty-ninth Congress in 1886 and ratified by the states in 1868. A close examination of the key sentence of this Amendment and of the legislative history surrounding this sentence will show that it was designed to make the various fundamental rights in the federal Bill Of Rights applicable against state governments, and thus to repudiate the Supreme Court’s 1833 Barron decision. With this Amendment. the Reconstruction Congress laid the groundwork fir the Supreme Court’s eventual process of “incorporation” of the Bill of Rights against the States. page 196 of “THE BILL RIGHTS PRIMER” what people refer to as “THE REDBOOK” by Akhil Reed Amar and Les Adams …Palladium Press, Bingham Alabama.
    Used by most law experts across the country an in colleges of law…[end]

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