Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News

California’s Ban on Large Capacity Magazines “Goes Too Far” -- Ninth Circuit Strikes Ban as Unconstitutional

Saturday, August 15, 2020

California’s Ban on Large Capacity Magazines “Goes Too Far” -- Ninth Circuit Strikes Ban as Unconstitutional

In Duncan v. Becerra, a case supported by the NRA, the  United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that California’s ban on the possession of “large capacity magazines”(LCMs) violates the Second Amendment.

The decision affirms a ruling last March by Federal District Court Judge Roger T. Benitez, who ruled, unequivocally, that the California law was unconstitutional.

The panel’s lengthy and considered opinion was written by Judge Kenneth K. Lee, joined by Judge Consuelo M. Callahan. Judge Barbara M. G. Lynn wrote a dissenting opinion, arguing that the California ban was constitutional. 

The case centers on California Penal Code §32310, which prior to 2016, imposed restrictions on the manufacture, importation, sale, transfer, and receipt of magazines capable of holding more than ten rounds. In 2016, the law was amended to add an outright ban prohibiting nearly everyone in the state from possessing such magazines. California residents who owned LCMs were given the option of removing the magazine from the state, selling it to a firearms dealer, permanently modifying the magazine so that it was incapable of holding over ten rounds, or surrendering it to law enforcement for destruction. Failure to do so could result in imprisonment for up to a year.

Judge Lee, who was appointed to the Ninth Circuit by President Trump last year, begins by observing that California’s near-total ban of LCMs “strikes at the core of the Second Amendment –the right to armed self defense. Armed self-defense is a fundamental right rooted in tradition and the text of the Second Amendment.”California’s law not only banned standard-issue magazines for many handguns commonly used for self defense, but made  “half of all magazines in America …unlawful to own in California.”  

Using a two-prong test to determine the constitutional validity of Cal. Penal Code §32310, the court first asked whether the law burdened conduct protected by the Second Amendment; if so, the second inquiry focused on the appropriate level of review (level of scrutiny) to apply in evaluating the law.

Under the first prong, the court found the law did burden protected conduct. LCMs were “arms”protected by the Second Amendment “for a simple reason”–without a magazine, many weapons, including “quintessential”self defense weapons like handguns, “would be useless.”LCMs were neither dangerous nor unusual, and firearms or magazines “holding more than ten rounds have been in existence –and owned by American citizens –for centuries.”LCMs had “never been subject to longstanding prohibitions”on possession or use.

Not only did Section 32310 “strike[] at core Second Amendment rights”by prohibiting LCMs for self-defense within the home, “any law that comes close to categorically banning the possession of arms that are commonly used for self-defense imposes a substantial burden on the Second Amendment.”

Significantly, in the second prong determination of the appropriate level of review, the court selected strict scrutiny, the highest possible level, as the proper standard. Strict scrutiny requires that a state law be narrowly tailored to achieve a compelling interest. While the government interests here were compelling, a “statewide blanket ban on possession everywhere and for nearly everyone”was not narrowly tailored or the least restrictive means. The law failed even if a less demanding level of scrutiny was applied, and for many of the same reasons –a lack of anything approximating a reasonable fit between the restrictions imposed and the government’s asserted objectives. 

Addressing California’s “implicit suggestion that the Second Amendment deserves less protection”than other fundamental rights, the court rejected this outright. The Second Amendment is not some outdated “relic relevant only during the era of Publius and parchments. It is a right that is exercised hundreds of times on any given day”by law abiding Americans, including women fleeing abusive relationships, members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities who are disproportionately the victims of hate crimes, and communities of color that “have a particularly compelling interest”in exercising Second Amendment rights.”The Second Amendment “provides one last line of defense”when the state cannot or will not “step in to protect them.”“We mention these examples,”declared Judge Lee, “to drive home the point that the Second Amendment is not a second-class right,”nor is “self-defense a dispensation granted at the state’s mercy.”

The ruling is a gratifying one by the Ninth Circuit, a court that, in past rulings, has been not especially protective of the Second Amendment.

It is anticipated that the State of California will seek en banc review of this ruling. Your NRA will keep you updated on the developments in this important case.

TRENDING NOW
Gun Control May be Wasting Away, But Not Because of COVID

News  

Monday, October 19, 2020

Gun Control May be Wasting Away, But Not Because of COVID

A recent article on a gun control news site laments that the COVID-19 pandemic has thwarted ballot initiatives to expand gun bans and restrictions. Initiatives in Florida, Oklahoma, Ohio and Oregon have stalled, allegedly due to the ...

Anti-gun Politicians Seek to Tax Your Second Amendment Rights Into Oblivion

News  

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Anti-gun Politicians Seek to Tax Your Second Amendment Rights Into Oblivion

In 1819, Chief Justice John Marshall of the U.S. Supreme Court famously wrote:  “the power to tax involves the power to destroy ….”

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

Gun Laws  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

Anti-Gun Organization Prepared to Launch National Group of Gun Owners Who Apparently Don’t Like Guns

News  

Monday, October 19, 2020

Anti-Gun Organization Prepared to Launch National Group of Gun Owners Who Apparently Don’t Like Guns

Yes, that title doesn’t make much sense, but neither does a group that promotes banning firearms starting a national organization called Gun Owners for Safety. Nonetheless, The Hill recently reported that the anti-gun group Giffords is doing just ...

Montana: Californian-funded Fake Hunting Group Lies About Steve Bullock’s Anti-gun Record

News  

Monday, October 12, 2020

Montana: Californian-funded Fake Hunting Group Lies About Steve Bullock’s Anti-gun Record

Montana gun owners have been subjected to an abundance of lies this election season. Leading the misinformation campaign is fake hunting group Montana Hunters & Anglers Leadership Fund. Bankrolled by a wealthy San Francisco Bay ...

Law Professors Make Case for Second Amendment Rights in Uncertain Times

News  

Monday, October 19, 2020

Law Professors Make Case for Second Amendment Rights in Uncertain Times

Americans have made clear that they value their Second Amendment rights, especially during uncertain times. Faced with the COVID-19 pandemic and then widespread civil unrest, Americans have bought firearms in record numbers. Through September, the FBI ...

Joe Biden Told Voters the Second Amendment DOES NOT Protect an Individual Right

News  

Monday, September 21, 2020

Joe Biden Told Voters the Second Amendment DOES NOT Protect an Individual Right

During a September 2019 “townhall” hosted by New Hampshire ABC affiliate WMUR, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden made clear that he does not believe the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms and ...

Judge Barrett Picks Second Amendment Case as Her “Most Significant” Ruling

News  

Monday, October 12, 2020

Judge Barrett Picks Second Amendment Case as Her “Most Significant” Ruling

The confirmation hearings of Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Trump’s nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, are due to begin on October 12th before the Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

Your Action Needed: Urge the Department of Justice to Rein in ATF's Arbitrary Determination on "Honey Badger" Pistol!

News  

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Your Action Needed: Urge the Department of Justice to Rein in ATF's Arbitrary Determination on "Honey Badger" Pistol!

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (“ATF”) recently informed firearm manufacturer Q, LLC that, in ATF’s view, Q’s “Honey Badger” pistol with stabilizing brace is actually a short-barreled rifle and therefore subject to the National ...

Please Urge the Department of Justice to Rein in ATF's Arbitrary Determination on "Honey Badger" Pistol

News  

Monday, October 12, 2020

Please Urge the Department of Justice to Rein in ATF's Arbitrary Determination on "Honey Badger" Pistol

As we reported last week, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (“ATF”) recently informed firearm manufacturer Q, LLC that, in ATF’s view, Q’s “Honey Badger” pistol with stabilizing brace is actually a short-barreled rifle and ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.