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Second Amendment

District Judge: CA Magazine Ban Violates Second Amendment

California cannot ban standard-capacity magazines that hold more than 10 rounds.

Nate Jackson · Apr. 1, 2019

It’s not often that good news about the Second Amendment comes out of California, but that was the case Friday. U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez, a George W. Bush appointee, ruled that standard-capacity magazines will remain legal, at least for now. Buying and selling magazines holding more than 10 rounds has been against state law since 2000, but a 2016 law banned even possessing them. Benitez struck down the entire limitation.

Before we get to the merits of Benitez’s decision, we’ll make an important observation about news coverage. Don’t ever let the Leftmedia dictate gun terminology. That goes for anything from describing the parts of a gun to mislabeling AR-15s as “assault weapons” to calling murderous psychopaths “gunmen” so as to draw the attention to the tool.

In this case, so-called “high-capacity magazines” are actually standard capacity, and they were designed by gun manufacturers to fit particular guns out of the box. But USA Today, for example, began its coverage with the following summary: “High-capacity gun magazines will remain legal in California under a ruling Friday by a federal judge who cited home invasions where a woman used the extra bullets in her weapon to kill an attacker while in two other cases women without additional ammunition ran out of bullets.” What the paper means by “extra bullets” is that the woman’s weapon held the standard-capacity rounds of ammunition.

Now, to the ruling: Benitez rightly concluded that standard magazines are “arms” under the U.S. Constitution, and, thus, the California law “burdens the core of the Second Amendment by criminalizing the acquisition and possession of these magazines that are commonly held by law-abiding citizens for defense of self, home, and state.” He cited both legal and practical justifications, including the real-world self-defense cases USA Today highlighted.

What’s next? The case was already sent back to Benitez by the Ninth Circuit to further develop a ruling on the law, but now it will almost certainly return to the Second Amendment-hostile Ninth Circuit when the state appeals. President Donald Trump’s judicial appointments are more important all the time.

In any case, as Benitez said, the California law “turn[ed] the Constitution upside down,” but it all comes down to one simple thing: “Individual liberty and freedom are not outmoded concepts.” Even in California.

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