California Law Sparks Fast Response From Federal Judge
A federal judge has blocked a California law that would have banned the sale and possession of gun magazines holding more than 10 rounds. The law, which was passed via a 2016 ballot initiative, was deemed unconstitutional by U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California Roger Benitez in a 71-page ruling released on Friday.
According to the judge, law-abiding citizens have the constitutional right to own magazines with a capacity greater than 10 rounds. He also stated that there was no legal precedent giving California the authority to pass such a law.
In his ruling, Benitez wrote, “Removable firearm magazines of all sizes are necessary components of semiautomatic firearms. Therefore, magazines come within the text of the constitutional declaration that the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” He also mentioned that millions of law-abiding citizens own these magazines for lawful purposes such as self-defense and they are related to service in the militia.
The judge firmly stated that California failed to justify its “sweeping ban and dispossession mandate,” which he believed would turn responsible and law-abiding citizens into criminals. He wrote, “One government solution to a few mad men with guns is a law that makes into criminals responsible, law-abiding people wanting larger magazines simply to protect themselves.” Benitez emphasized that the Second Amendment, which protects the right to bear arms, clearly supports state laws that combat the misuse of firearms but not the disarmament of law-abiding citizens.
Benitez further noted the importance of the Second Amendment in preserving individual freedom, stating, “The freedom they fought for was worth fighting for then, and that freedom is entitled to be preserved still.”
However, California Governor Gavin Newsom condemned the ruling, referring to Benitez as a “right-wing zealot with no regard to human life.” He tweeted, “Wake up, America. Our gun safety laws will continue to be thrown out by NRA-owned federal judges until we pass a Constitutional Amendment to protect our kids and end the gun violence epidemic in America.”
The judge’s order will not take effect for 10 days, allowing California Attorney General Rob Bonta time to file for a stay on the ruling. In response to the ruling, Bonta said in a statement, “There are no benefits or public safety gains that can justify the continued sale of these dangerous, lethally-dense weapons of war.”
This decision is likely to be met with both support and backlash from advocates on both sides of the gun control debate. It remains to be seen if California will appeal the ruling and what the ultimate outcome will be. Until then, law-abiding citizens in California continue to have the right to own magazines with a capacity greater than 10 rounds.