A federal judge ruled Friday that California’s ban on high-capacity gun magazines is unconstitutional, striking down a key provision of a successful 2016 ballot initiative that was proposed by now-Gov. Gavin Newsom. [San Francisco Chronicle]
In 2000, a state law took effect making it illegal for Californians to buy or sell magazines that hold more than 10 cartridges. The law, however, allowed individuals who already owned high-capacity magazines to keep them.
Proposition 63, which passed with 63 percent voter support, required anyone who still owned high-capacity magazines to turn them in, remake them in order to comply with state law, or send them outside of California. But, that aspect of the law has never taken effect.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the provision pertaining to high-capacity magazines, and in 2017, two days before the law was scheduled to take effect, San Diego-based U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez issued a statewide injunction. On Friday, Benitez ruled in favor of the NRA, finding that the expanded ban on high-capacity magazines is a violation of the Second Amendment.
“Individual liberty and freedom are not outmoded concepts,” Benitez wrote in a 86-page ruling
Benitez’s ruling cites three home invasions in which women fought against their attackers. In two of the home invasions, the female victims ran out of bullets, while in the third, the woman successfully used a high-capacity magazine to take on intruders while using one hand to make a phone call for help.
Mass shootings are far less common than robberies, aggravated assaults and homicides in homes, the judge said.
Gov. Newsom responded to the ruling in a tweet saying that failing to uphold the high-capacity magazine ban puts communities in danger, and “we will not stand for it.”
“Large capacity magazines allow a shooter to fire at large numbers of people — quickly. Lives are rapidly lost because of a single senseless act,” Newsom said in the tweet.
California is expected to appeal Benitez’s ruling to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which has a history of upholding gun control laws.