California’s "high capacity" magazine ban upheld, Gun owners look to Trump's Supreme Court
Gov. Gavin Newsom's 'huge victory’ violates the Second Amendment
A federal court ruled that “weapons of war” will not be on the streets of California. Well, that’s how Gov. Gavin Newsom views the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling on Tuesday.
The correct legal analysis is the liberal court’s decision to uphold the state’s ban on magazines that have more than 10 rounds could lead to the Supreme Court ending this pointless gun-control law.
If you’re not familiar with guns, a magazine is the piece of metal that goes into the gun to hold the rounds of ammunition. The term “high capacity” is defined differently by states and the federal government, but usually means more than it can hold more than 10 rounds.
The court ruled 7-4 that the ban is consistent with other limits to the Second Amendment because it claims it “interferes only minimally with the core right of self-defense” and “saves lives.”
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The dissent was written by 9th Circuit Judge Patrick Bumatay, who was appointed by Pres. Donald Trump. He wrote that,
these magazines are lawfully owned by millions of people nationwide and come standard on the most popular firearms sold today.
If California’s law applied nationwide, it would require confiscating half of all existing firearms magazines in this country.
Larry Keane, general counsel for National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) told me that, “NSSF is disappointed by today’s ruling with which we profoundly disagree.” The NSSF represents firearms manufacturers and gun dealers.
The California Rifle and Pistol Association said it would appeal to the Supreme Court.
If you’re well-versed in the courts and gun-control laws, I recommend reading the entire 367-page decision and dissent. Focus on how the dissent writes with the expectations that the Supreme Court justices will be reading it. I attached it at the bottom.
California doesn’t claim that banning these magazines has anything to do with the city crime that affects most of its citizens. It only claimed that it might --one day-- slow down a “mass shooting.”
The 9th Circuit judges agreed. They wrote that the ban “reasonably supported California’s effort to reduce the devastating damage wrought by mass shootings.”
However, there is nothing in the decision about how many times this law has stopped a “mass shooting” over the years because it never has. The dissenting judges wrote:
The majority ignores the fact that California’s claimed reason for its ban—mass shootings—involves a harm that, while tragic and attention-grabbing, is thankfully extremely rare by any statistical metric. You are much more likely to be randomly injured or killed by a drunk driver than a mass shooter.
The judges explained that California (the defendant) proved that the “high-capacity” law was necessary because mass murderers would have to pause between “two to ten seconds” to reload. The judges also believe that:
large-capacity magazines may fire many bullets without pause, shooters are able to—and do—inflict far more damage using those magazines than they otherwise could.
The liberals on the court believe that mass killers are only caught because the police can nab them when they pause to reload. But that only happens on the movie sets in Hollywood.
The FBI doesn’t track “mass shootings” -- which the government and law enforcement define as four or more unrelated people killed in the same place and time by a stranger.
This is an extremely rare crime. It’s like terrorism. It’s rare but everyone thinks they are at risk. It generally is less than 100 victims a year. It just seems like more because mass shootings get wall-to-wall media coverage.
Court battles over Second Amendment limits
The federal government banned “high capacity” magazines for 10 years, but let the law expires 2004 because it didn’t do anything to decrease gun crime. Nine blue states and D.C. enacted their own bans to keep it going.
When I got my first gun in DC and it came from the manufacturer with 12 rounds, I had to pay to have the metal magazine blocked off at the bottom to stop me from putting in all the ammo. The photos in this story show the results
“The magazines banned by today’s decision are ubiquitous, they are ‘commonly owned’ in the parlance of Heller,” Keane texted. “There is no history of banning them until recently in a handful of states.”
Keane is referring to what Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in the landmark Heller decision. The high court said that guns that are “commonly owned” can’t be banned (which relates to the magazines inside them).
Since that 2008 decision, the interpretation of what “commonly owned” means has been the point of legal battle in federal appeals courts. Gun-control activists say the so-called assault weapons and high capacity magazines are “weapons of war”, so should not be considered owned by the public.
But Second Amendment rights folks point out that the semi-automatic AR-15 is the most popular gun in America, and most guns come with more than 10-round capacity.
The 9th Circuit’s majority reasoned their way around the Second Amendment with leaglese that Bumatay bashed.
In ratifying the Second Amendment, the People determined that such restrictions are beyond the purview of government. Our court reaches the opposite conclusion in contravention of the Constitution and Supreme Court precedent.
In so doing, it once again employs analytical tools foreign to the Constitution—grafting terms like “intermediate scrutiny,” “alternative channels,” and “reasonable fit” that appear nowhere in its text.
Heading up to SCOTUS
Keane said that, “The Supreme Court should grant review in this case to articulate to the lower federal courts what the test is post-Heller for evaluating Second Amendment challenges.”
This is assuredly what Bumatay has in mind because he specifically named the current Supreme Court justices’ opinions on limits to the Second Amendment. He’s clearly writing with the knowledge that these justices will be reading the opinion.