California’s Ban on Magazines Holding More Than 10 Rounds Is Constitutional, 9th Circuit Decides
In a 7-4 decision today from an 11-judge en banc panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, California’s 2016 ban on magazines that hold more than 10 rounds was found constitutional, despite earlier conclusions from a lower court and a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit that the ban violated the Second Amendment.
“Under the Second Amendment, intermediate scrutiny applies, and [the ban] is a reasonable fit for the important government interest of reducing gun violence,” Judge Susan Graber wrote for the majority today in Duncan v. Bonta. “The statute outlaws no weapon, but only limits the size of the magazine that may be used with firearms, and the record demonstrates (a) that the limitation interferes only minimally with the core right of self-defense, as there is no evidence that anyone ever has been unable to defend his or her home and family due to the lack of a large-capacity magazine; and (b) that the limitation saves lives.”
She added: “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, and more than twice as many people have been killed or injured in mass shootings that involved a large-capacity magazine as compared with mass shootings that involved a smaller-capacity magazine.”
“Accordingly,” Graber concluded, “the ban on legal possession of large-capacity magazines reasonably supports California’s effort to reduce the devastating damage wrought by mass shootings.”
Graber’s decision also denied the ban of such magazines constituted an unconstitutional taking of property without compensation, since owners of the now-illegal magazines can “modify or sell their nonconforming magazines” and thus “the law does not deprive owners of all economic use.”
Writing in dissent, Circuit Judge Patrick Bumatay complains that by use of “intermediate scrutiny” the 9th Circuit ensures that “so long as a firearms regulation aims to achieve a conceivably wise policy measure, the Second Amendment won’t stand in its way. In effect, this means we simply give a blank check to lawmakers to infringe on the Second Amendment right. Indeed, post-Heller, we have never struck down a single firearms regulation.”
The “manufacture, importation, or sale” of high-capacity magazines has been illegal in California since 2000. Possessing ones you already owned, though, had remained legal until the 2016 passage of Proposition 63, which “imposed a possible criminal penalty of imprisonment for up to a year for unlawful possession of large-capacity magazines.”
Thanks to today’s decision, the state is now free to enforce its ban on magazines holding more than 10 rounds. (The ban had been blocked from going into effect while the case played out in court.) As is often the case with gun control laws, current or retired police officers, our special centurion class, are not subject to the law.
Article from Reason.com