A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
A federal judge who ruled California’s ban on high capacity magazines unconstitutional has ruled the ban unconstitutional a second time. And Governor Gavin Newsom isn’t happy about it.
California voters in 2016 voted in favor of Proposition 63, Firearms and Ammunitions Sales. The law restricts residents from possessing firearms magazines that hold more than 10 rounds — so-called high capacity magazines — because only trained law enforcement should possess them. A person found with such a magazine faces a misdemeanor, a $100 fine for each violation, and up to a year in prison.
Judge Roger Benitez struck down the law, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reinstated it in 2020. In his second ruling, the judge cited the Supreme Court’s reasoning in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), which struck down D.C.’s ban on handguns.
The right to keep and bear arms includes ammunition and magazines, and there is no American tradition of limiting magazine capacity, the judge contended (PDF).
“There have been, and there will be, times where many more than 10 rounds are needed to stop attackers,” Judge Benitez wrote. “Yet, under this statute, the State says ‘too bad.'” Based on the tradition of the Second Amendment, the law is “clearly unconstitutional.”
Gov. Gavin Newsom is raging.
“California’s high-capacity magazine ban was just STRUCK DOWN by Judge Benitez, an extremist, right-wing zealot with no regard to human life,” he wrote on X. “Wake up, America. Our gun safety laws will continue to be thrown out by NRA-owned federal judges until we pass a Constitutional Amendment to protect our kids and end the gun violence epidemic in America.”
The state’s attorney general, who called the ruling a “dangerous mistake,” has filed an appeal.
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