Appeals Court Tosses California Ban on High-Capacity Firearm Magazines

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A federal appeals court threw out California's ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines today, upholding a San Diego federal judge's ruling that the law was unconstitutional.

The order from the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held that banning magazines that hold more than 10 rounds violates the Second Amendment.

In the majority opinion, U.S. Circuit Judge Kenneth Lee wrote that the law's “sweeping scope and breathtaking breadth'' is a substantial burden on Second Amendment rights, as magazines holding more than 10 rounds account for nearly half of the nation's magazines and are largely used for lawful purposes.

“We understand the purpose in passing this law,'' the opinion reads. “But even the laudable goal of reducing gun violence must comply with the constitution. California's near-categorical ban of LCMs infringes on the fundamental right to self-defense. It criminalizes the possession of half of all magazines in America today. It makes unlawful magazines that are commonly used in handguns by law-abiding citizens for self-defense. And it substantially burdens the core right of self-defense guaranteed to the people under the Second Amendment. It cannot stand.''

U.S. District Judge Barbara Lynn dissented, stating that the law does not substantially burden Second Amendment rights because it does not prevent citizens from using “handguns or other weapons in self-defense.''

She wrote that “the prohibition on LCMs is more analogous to a restriction on how someone exercises their Second Amendment rights, by restricting the number of bullets a person may shoot from one firearm without reloading.''

The ruling affirms U.S. District Judge Roger T. Benitez's decision last year that the law violated the Second Amendment rights of gun owners and that its passage was an overreaction to high-profile gun crimes.

Benitez issued his ruling in favor of several San Diego County gun owners who argued the ban burdened lawful gun owners and did little to reduce gun violence.

Photo: Getty Images

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