Federal Appeals Court Upholds Shutdown of California’s Gun Magazine Ban
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, in a 2-1 panel decision, today upheld a lower court’s shutting down of California’s ban on gun magazines that hold more than 10 rounds, so-called “large capacity magazines” (LCMs).
The decision in the case of Duncan v. Becerra upheld a district court decision for summary judgment against the state of California from March 2019. The law barring LCMs as currently amended was a result of Proposition 63 in 2016.
Because of this lawsuit, initially filed just before the newest iteration of the LCM ban went into effect, the state has been legally enjoined from actually enforcing it. Now the 9th Circuit says it should never be able to. The law, if applied, would have demanded confiscation or destruction of all the tremendous number of previously legal LCMs in Californians’ hands.
The District Court had decided there was “no genuine dispute of material fact that section 32310 violates the Second and Fifth Amendments of the United States Constitution, and ordered summary judgment for the [LCM] Owners” who were suing the state. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals today agrees with that conclusion.
Judge Kenneth K. Lee wrote today’s 9th Circuit panel decision, in which he was joined by Judge Consuelo Callahan. The judges concluded that barring citizens from owning and using more than half of the magazines for sale in the United States, ones that come along with a wide variety of commonly purchased handguns, strikes to the core of the Second Amendment right to own arms for self-defense, since the LCM ban barred possession of a self-defense tool commonly used for lawful purposes.
For some perspective, Judge Lee notes that “from 1990 to 2015, civilians possessed about 115 million LCMs out of a total of 230 million magazines in circulation….Today, LCMs may be lawfully possessed in 41 states and under federal law.”
In buttressing the significance of the self-defense right the Second Amendment enshrines, Judge Lee discusses
Perhaps the most poignant and persuasive reminder of the fundamental right to self-defense…the denial of that right to Black Americans during tragic chapters of our country’s history….Post-Civil War state legislation and the Black Codes in the South deprived newly freed slaves of their Second Amendment rights…Meanwhile, armed bands of ex-Confederates roamed the countryside forcibly disarming and terrorizing African A
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