In a major blow for gun safety advocates and California officials, a federal appeals court on Friday ruled that the state’s ban on large capacity magazines is unconstitutional.
“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. But even well-intentioned laws must pass constitutional muster,” wrote Judge Kenneth Lee, who was appointed by President Donald Trump.
In her dissent, U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Lynn argued the decision defies precedent from six other federal appellate courts across the country, as well as with a 2015 ruling by a different panel of the 9th Circuit. She also argued it doesn’t violate Second Amendment rights, and doesn’t prevent the use of handguns or other weapons in self defense. Newsom, too, defended the law at a press conference Friday, saying the majority of Californians supported it when the state approved a ballot measure affirming the ban in 2016.
“Weapons of war-like large capacity magazines-have no place on our streets and sidewalks,” Newsom said. “We cannot and will not give an inch to the @NRA, or anyone else, who wants to weaken or invalidate these laws.”
California isn’t the only state that has a ban on large capacity magazines. Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Vermont also ban them. Gun rights advocates have also filed legal challenges against those laws as well, though the California decision is the first from an appellate court striking down such a law.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra could appeal the decision to the Supreme Court or to another panel on the 9th circuit.
Read the full decision and dissent here.