California’s ban on magazines holding more than 10 bullets was struck down by a federal appeals court as unconstitutional, with the majority ruling that the law “strikes at the core of the Second Amendment,” according to the Associated Press.
Judge Kenneth Lee of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals acknowledged that there may be good intentions behind the law, which was a response to mass shootings, but that doesn’t have any impact on whether it is constitutional.
“In the wake of heart-wrenching and highly publicized mass shootings, the state of California barred its citizens from owning so-called ‘large capacity magazines’ (LCMs) that hold more than ten rounds of ammunition,” Lee wrote for the majority. “But even well-intentioned laws must pass constitutional muster. California’s near-categorical 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,” Lee continued. “Indeed, from pre-colonial times to today’s post-modern era, the right to defend hearth and home has remained paramount.”
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra must now decide whether to appeal the decision to the full 9th Circuit or the U.S. Supreme Court, and whether to seek a delay in the ruling to prevent an immediate buying surge.
The majority found the ban to be too broad, even when considering its stated goal of limiting mass shootings.
“California’s law imposes a substantial burden on this right to self-defense. The ban makes it criminal for Californians to own magazines that come standard in Glocks, Berettas, and other handguns that are staples of self-defense,” Lee wrote, according to the Washington Times. “Its scope is so sweeping that half of all magazines in America are now unlawful to own in California.”
The ban on high-capacity magazines was passed in 2016 by 63% of voters in California, and challenged in 2017 by gun owner Virginia Duncan and the California Rifle and Pistol Association.
Deputy Attorney General John Echeverria argued earlier this year that the ban still allowed people to protect themselves and their homes because an average of 2.2 shots are fired during a home invasion.
U.S. Circuit Judge Consuelo Callahan previously called the ban a “slippery slope” and criticized the limit of 10 rounds as seemingly arbitrary.
“There seems to be some evidence that people need more than a few bullets to defend themselves in the home,” Callahan said.