Second Amendment

Third Circuit Upholds NJ 'Large Capacity' Mag Ban

Competing rulings between circuits mean that SCOTUS will have to finally weigh in.

Thomas Gallatin · Sep. 7, 2020

Last month, we noted a win for Americans’ Second Amendment rights that came from an unexpected source, the infamous Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The court ruled that California’s ban on firearm magazines holding more than 10 rounds was unconstitutional and imposed “a substantial burden on this right to self-defense.”

Well, the issue of state governments imposing arbitrary limits on a firearm’s magazine capacity looks to be a matter the U.S. Supreme Court will be forced to settle after the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last week that New Jersey’s ban on “large capacity” magazines was constitutional.

In its ruling, the Third Circuit argued that New Jersey’s ban did not violate the Second Amendment based upon five reasons: The law does not ban firearms, does not prohibit a class of firearms for self-defense, does not disarm Americans (therefore allowing them the ability to defend themselves with a firearm), permits New Jersey residents to still use limited-capacity magazines, and allows any type of firearm in the home to be used for self-defense.

As the Wall Street Journal editorial board observes, “The ruling, by a three-judge panel, comes some two weeks after a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit reached the opposite conclusion about a similar California ban. This is what happens when the Supreme Court, in the words of Justice Clarence Thomas, treats the Second Amendment as a ‘constitutional orphan.’” Indeed.

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