SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A judge on Wednesday upheld San Francisco's ban on gun magazines that can hold more than 10 bullets, the latest in long series of court rulings grappling with gun rights since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2008 that gun ownership inside the home for self-defense purposes was a fundamental Constitutional right.
The National Rifle Association sought to strike down the ban, arguing that high-capacity magazines were covered by the Supreme Court's ruling.
U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup disagreed, ruling that the city's law doesn't hinder self-defense and promotes public safety.
San Francisco supervisors enacted the law in November in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newton, Conn., in December 2012 that claimed 27 lives. The Sandy Hook gunman was armed with an assault weapon and several magazines each equipped to hold more than 10 bullets each.
Several other cities and states enacted similar bans on magazines equipped to carry more than 10 bullets. Alsup, in refusing the National Rifle Association's demand to stop the San Francisco ban from going into effect on April 7, noted that four other courts across the country upheld similar bans in Washington, D.C., Maryland, Connecticut and New York.
The ruling Wednesday comes a week after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down California's requirements for concealed-weapon permits that went beyond a desire for self-defense.
Alsup said the San Francisco ban didn't hinder self-defense because gun owners are free to own multiple gun magazines that can hold 10 bullets or fewer. The judge said that court testimony showed "that the average number of shots fired in self-defense is 2.2 rounds."
Unless an appeals court intervenes, owners of high-capacity magazines will have to surrender them to police by April 7 or store them out of state.
Chuck Michel, a lawyer for the NRA, didn't immediately return a telephone call for comment.