Judges Toss California Ban on High-Capacity Magazines

California law violates Second Amendment, 9th Circuit ruling says
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 14, 2020 4:10 PM CDT
Judges Reject High-Capacity Magazine Ban
A semi-automatic rifle is displayed with a 25-shot magazine, left, and a 10-shot magazine, right, at a gun store in Elk Grove, California.   (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

A three-judge panel of the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday threw out California's ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines, saying the law violates the US Constitution's protection of the right to bear arms. "Even well-intentioned laws must pass constitutional muster,” appellate Judge Kenneth Lee wrote for the majority, the AP reports. California's ban on magazines holding more than 10 bullets, he said, "strikes at the core of the Second Amendment—the right to armed self-defense." Lee noted that California passed the law "in the wake of heart-wrenching and highly publicized mass shootings," but said that isn't enough to justify a ban whose scope "is so sweeping that half of all magazines in America are now unlawful to own in California."

Attorney General Xavier Becerra's office said he "remains committed to using every tool possible to defend California’s gun safety laws and keep our communities safe," his office said. Becerra did not immediately indicate whether he would ask a larger, 11-judge appellate panel to reconsider the ruling by the three judges or appeal to the US Supreme Court. He also did not say if the state would seek a delay of the ruling to prevent an immediate buying spree if the lower court lifts its stay. An attorney for the California Rifle & Pistol Association attorney called the decision "a huge victory" for gun owners "and the right to choose to own a firearm to defend your family," while a group that favors firearms restrictions called the ruling dangerous and predicted it will be overturned.

(More gun control stories.)

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