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Federal Appeals Court Upholds California Ban on High-Capacity Magazines

A federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld California’s ban on so-called "high capacity" magazines, reversing a San Diego federal judge’s ruling that it was unconstitutional and

handing a victory to Far Left Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom and his gun-grabbing Leftist allies.

Katabella Roberts, writing for The Epoch Times, reported an 11-member en banc panel of the Ninth Circuit of Appeals on Tuesday voted 7–4 to issue a ruling (pdf) that reverses that decision on the California law.

The court said it applied a “two-step framework to review the Second Amendment challenge, asking first whether the challenged law affects conduct protected by the Second Amendment, and if so, what level of scrutiny to apply.”

Panel members noted that the law bolstered public safety rationale in reducing gun violence and does not outlaw the weapon entirely but rather places a limit on the size of the magazine that may be used with firearms.

“The record demonstrates that the limitation interferes only minimally with the core right of self-defense, as there is no evidence that anyone ever has been unable to defend his or her home and family due to the lack of a large-capacity magazine,” the panel wrote, adding that “the limitation saves lives.”

Panelists also noted that “in the past half-century, large-capacity magazines have been used in about three-quarters of gun massacres with 10 or more deaths and in 100 percent of gun massacres with 20 or more deaths, and more than twice as many people have been killed or injured in mass shootings that involved a large-capacity magazine as compared with mass shootings that involved a smaller-capacity magazine.”

Subsequently, the Court of Appeals ruled that California’s ban “on legal possession of large-capacity magazines reasonably supported California’s effort to reduce the devastating damage wrought by mass shootings.”

Panel members added that the law, “does not, on its face, effect a taking” because “the government acquires nothing by virtue of the limitation on the capacity of magazines,” and that because LCMs owners are allowed to modify or sell their nonconforming magazines, the law also “does not deprive owners of all economic use.”

The en banc court overruled both District Court Judge Roger T. Benitez and a three-judge appellate panel ruling striking down the high-capacity magazine ban. reported Chuck Michel, president of California Rifle & Pistol Association, a plaintiff in the original lawsuit, said the organization would appeal the ruling.

“We are truly disappointed that the Ninth Circuit en banc panel decided to go against the solid constitutional reasoning of other judges to strike down this win for gun owners,” Michel said.

“We will be appealing to the Supreme Court for a final determination because gun owners deserve to have someone fighting for them and their rights. The Second Amendment is a fundamental right, and it is time that courts stop treating that right like a second-class gift from government.”

Michael Schwartz, executive director of San Diego County Gun Owners, a Second Amendment political action committee, also criticized the ruling.

This decision essentially turns hundreds of thousands of people in California into felons for owning normal gun parts. A magazine is an essential part of a firearm and firearms are protected by the Second Amendment,” said Schwartz. “The ability to defend yourself should not be limited by an arbitrary restriction put in place for political reasons.”

Democratic presidents appointed the seven judges in Tuesday’s majority, while Republican presidents appointed the four dissenting judges.

  • California Ban on High-Capacity Magazines

  • 9th Circuit Court of Appeals

  • Second Amendment

  • gun control

  • gun rights

  • background checks

  • Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom

  • District Court Judge Roger T. Benitez

  • San Diego County Gun Owners

  • judicial appointees

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