Court upholds California ban on high-capacity magazines

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A panel of the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals upheld California’s ban on high-capacity magazines in a split decision that could be headed to the US Supreme Court.

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Sacramento, Calif. – The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a decision by two of its judges and on Tuesday upheld California’s ban on high-capacity magazines in a split decision that could be headed for the US Supreme Court.

“The statute does not prohibit any weapon, but only limits the size of the magazine that can be used with firearms,” ​​the court said in a 7-4 decision.

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The majority argued that “the record shows that the border interferes only minimally with the basic right to self-defense, as there is no evidence that anyone has ever been unable to defend his home and family.” Capability Magazine ; and … that limits save lives.”

The 11-member panel of the San Francisco-based court took action after two of three judges on a Ninth Circuit panel last year ruled a state ban on magazines containing more than 10 bullets, which is a part of the U.S. Constitution’s protection of the right to firearms. violates.

9th Circuit Judge Patrick Bumatte, who was appointed by Trump, wrote a dissent, saying large-capacity magazines are “commonly” used by Americans for self-defense.

“Indeed, these magazines are legally owned by millions of people nationwide and are the standard on most popular firearms sold today,” he wrote. “If California law applies nationwide, it would require the confiscation of half the magazines of all existing firearms in this country.”

His dissenting opinion was joined by two other judges, while the fourth judge wrote a separate dissenting opinion.

The majority’s decision rested in part on which legal standard should be used to determine results, and the majority of the 9th Circuit chose a more stringent standard. It found that “intermediate inquiry applied because the ban imposed only a minimal burden on the original Second Amendment right to bear and bear arms.”

Gun rights groups expect the Supreme Court to choose a lower legal standard for Second Amendment cases in an upcoming ruling on a New York law prohibiting concealed carry weapons.

“We are disappointed but not surprised that this particular 11-judge panel had the numbers to overturn a lower court decision. But the battle is not over yet,” said Chuck Mitchell, president and general counsel of the California Rifle and Pistol Association. said. Seven judges on the 9th Circuit panel were appointed by Democratic presidents.

“The panel is split, and all the dissenting judges are suggesting that the Supreme Court needs to explain the matter to how the challenge to the Second Amendment should be reviewed,” he said.

Four years ago, San Diego-based U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez declared unconstitutional a state law that prohibited buying or selling large-capacity magazines since 2000. That law prohibited the new sale or importation, but let those who had previously owned the magazines keep them.

Benitez also barred the state from enacting a voter-approved law that would have banned gun owners from keeping magazines that hold more than 10 bullets. The practical effect was that those who already had weapons of such magazines would have to turn to them.

Gun groups estimated that more than a million high-capacity magazines could legally flood California during the one-week window before Benitez halted his pending appeal. The three-judge 9th Circuit Panel upheld Benitez’s decision and upheld the stay.

In addition to impacting high-capacity magazine laws in California and other states, Tuesday’s ruling helps clear a hurdle in the state’s other pending assault weapons bans.

Everytown for Gun Safety, a leading group demanding a firearms ban, said state officials this year had blocked an appeal of Benitez’s decision to end California’s assault weapons restrictions, while the 9th Circuit has blocked a high-capacity weapon. The ban on magazines was considered.

The assault weapons ruling is also on hold, while an appeals court considers the same issue in a separate case, where a different federal judge upheld the state’s ban in 2018.

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