SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA — Like several other states trying to pass backdoor gun control laws, California has been at the forefront of this game for years. Recently, California passed a ban on “high capacity” magazines of more than 10 rounds. This limited California gun owners to much smaller magazines than the industry standards. Gun rights groups took this one to court in California, and surprisingly, they won!
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday threw out a California law banning high-capacity ammunition magazines, ruling that the measure violates citizens’ constitutionally protected right to bear arms.Via USA News
“California’s law imposes a substantial burden on this right to self-defense … Its scope is so sweeping that half of all magazines in American are now unlawful to own in California,” Lee wrote in the ruling.
The ruling was a split 2-1 decision, with Chief U.S District Court Judge Barbara Lynn, the third judge on the appellate panel, dissenting.
Gun Rights Upheld
There are really two big stories here. The first is obviously the the magazine restriction that the court struck down. At the core of the majority’s argument was the definition of “large capacity.” Since the state declared the national standard size for most magazines as “large capacity,” they essentially banned the most popular firearms on the market. This was plainly a form of backdoor gun control.
The court decided that the terminology was essentially too expansive. The law would make criminals out of many law abiding gun owners for simply owning the standard, in circulation, sized magazines. The court declared that the law’s scope was so sweeping that half of all magazines in America were unlawful to own in California.
If we look back at the Supreme Court’s Heller precedent, what matters is whether a weapon is in common usage or not. Lee’s opinion points out the enormous number of magazines that hold more than 10 rounds in circulation in the U.S. Additionally, Lee shows there is historical context too, with even some antique weapons capable of firing more than 10 rounds.
The 9th Circuit Votes In Favor Of Gun Rights
The second big story here is that the 9th Circuit, a historically liberal and anti-gun court, has voted in favor of gun rights. The times are a changing. One of President Trump’s and Mitch McConnell’s claim to first term success has been the number of federal appointed judges that have been confirmed.
The president with the most appointees on the Ninth Circuit who are active right now is Trump, with 10. The two judges who made up today’s majority were a Bush 43 appointee and a Trump appointee, Kenneth Lee.
These appointments could usher in a new era for gun rights in America. If a historically anti-gun federal court like the 9th circuit is tearing down gun laws and handing victories to gun rights advocates, everything is now on the table.
Most of these judges are young also. Lee, the lead on the majority on this case is only 44. These judges have lifetime appointments. Hopefully this means that gun rights cases will get a fairer hearing, and possibly more frequent favorable outcomes for years to come.