A federal district judge recently ruled against a law prohibited buying or selling magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. This decision has spurred protests and controversy around the nation.
Here’s what you need to know:
- California has had a high-capacity magazine ban in place since 2000, with a provision that grandfathered magazines purchased before then. In 2016, the state legislature passed a law removing that provision in order to complement California Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s efforts to deter mass shootings and pass “common-sense gun laws.”
- According to California crime statistics, there have been at least 15 mass-shooting events since 2000. The most recent mass shooting was in November 2018 at the Thousand Oaks Borderline Bar and Grill, where 13 people were killed.
- On March 29, San Diego-based U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez declared the law unconstitutional in an 86-page decision, citing, “Individual liberty and freedom are not outmoded concepts.”
- Benitez ruled that 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.”
- This recent ruling has concluded a roughly three-year battle between lawmakers, voters, and the National Rifle Association (NRA).
- Beginning in 2016, a successful lawsuit was filed on behalf of the California branch of the NRA. Benitez agreed with the association’s position that banning high-capacity magazines was a violation of the Second Amendment. In a 2017 ruling, Benitez temporarily blocked the law from taking effect.
- Benitez believes mass shootings are “exceedingly rare” and has also made remarks to infer that robberies, rapes, and murders could be countered with firearms.
- Benitez’s ruling cited three cases of home invasion. Two cases involved female victims running out of ammunition while trying to defend themselves against an attacker. The third case involved a woman utilizing a high-capacity magazine to successfully defend herself against three armed attackers.
- At least seven other states have laws prohibiting high-capacity magazines.
- California Attorney General Xavier Becerra released a statement saying that his office is reviewing the decision and is “committed to defending California’s common sense gun laws.”
- If contested, this decision could ultimately be considered for appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
At the time of this story, California residents, with respect to their ability to pass a background check as outlined in California Proposition 63, will be allowed to purchase and own high-capacity magazines.