3rd Circuit Federal Appeals Court Says Large-Capacity Magazine Bans Are OK
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit, in a three-judge panel decision, declared today in the case of Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs vs. Attorney General New Jersey that New Jersey’s ban on “large capacity magazines” (LCMs) that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition is indeed permitted under the Second Amendment.
The case has a convoluted history, and this is the second time the 3rd Circuit has made the same declaration upholding the law. As Jacob Sullum has reported, hardly anyone in Jersey has been obeying the law, which requires them to disable or turn in formerly legal LCMs they may have owned but that the law now makes illegal to possess.
Last month, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decided a similar law in California was not permissible under the Second Amendment. The state of California has appealed for an en banc review of that three-judge-panel decision striking down their ban. For now, at least, it seems a full-on circuit split is brewing in the federal courts of appeals on the LCM ban issue, the sort of thing that ought to invite the Supreme Court to consider a case involving LCM bans when one is next brought before it (as it seems inevitable one will).
The 3rd Circuit, in a decision written by Judge Kent A. Jordan, did admit, at least for the purposes of argument, that the LCM ban implicates the Second Amendment. The court “assumed without deciding that LCMs are ‘typically possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes and that they are entitled to Second Amendment protection.'” (The district court that first considered the case concluded LCMs are relevant to the Second Amendment.)
Both the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey and the 3rd Circuit nonetheless think New Jersey can ban them anyway. They applied what courts call “intermediate scrutiny” to considering whether the burden on the Second Amendment wa
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