D.C. sued over high capacity magazine ban for guns
The Supreme Court's Bruen ruling may end 10-round ammunition limits
When I bought my first gun, it came from the manufacturer with a magazine that could hold 12 rounds. But I lived in Washington, D.C. where there is a “high capacity magazine” ban. I would be a felon if I had a gun that could hold more than 10 rounds.
So I had to get the dealer outside of the city to stick a piece of metal in the magazine to block me from loading rounds 11 and 12. Then he sent it to the one dealer in D.C., who then legally transferred the gun to me.
It was a pain and an expense to take those extra steps. But it also meant that I have two fewer chances to stop a bad gun in self-defense.
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D.C. gets sued
Now, Washington is getting sued for its so-called high-capacity magazine ban. The lawsuit filed is attached below for paid subscribers.
The chances of winning the suit against D.C. are much higher now because of the recent Supreme Court decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Assn., Inc. v. Bruen.
That ruling, written by Justice Clarence Thomas, said that laws that infringe on the Second Amendment have to fit the text of the Constitution and have historical precedence at the founding of the nation.
“On the basis of Bruen, I'm challenging the 10-round magazine limit because the District can’t point to an historical analog for this restriction,” Attorney George Lyon, who represents the plaintiffs in the suit, told me.
Lyon wrote in the lawsuit, Andrew Hanson et al v District of Columbia, that magazine restriction started just in the early 20th century. The U.S. had a federal high-capacity magazine ban from 1994 to 2004.
Lyon also filed a preliminary injunction motion in U.S. District Court for Washington, D.C. on Aug. 19 to ask the judges to stop enforcing the magazine ban immediately since it’s a constitutional issue.
D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine did not respond to my request for comment.
Self-defense with 10 rounds max
Tyler Yzaguirre is one of the four D.C. residents who are plaintiffs in the case. He has registered guns in the city that have fewer than 10 rounds. He keeps higher capacity magazines in other states.
“What am I to do if two or more criminals break into my home or attack me on the street who possess in total 20 rounds of ammunition? I'm restricted by draconian laws to half of the firepower I could potentially have to effectively defend myself,” said Yzaguirre, who is president of the Second Amendment Institute.
“It's time to hold lawmakers accountable for laws that bolden criminals and harm law-abiding residents,” he said.
The other plaintiffs – Andrew Hanson, Nathan Chaney and Erik Klun – are all concealed carry permit holders in the District.
Lyon is also a certified D.C. carry permit trainer. He trained me for my permit.
“People don't get shot and suddenly stop what they are doing immediately – they could be on drugs, or under the influence of alcohol, or just means sons of bitches,” he said.
“There have been a number of law enforcement and civilian shootings that don’t get stopped with 10 rounds and you’re still in danger.” (The lawsuit below gives specific examples of these real crimes.)
High capacity magazine laws in U.S.
This new lawsuit against D.C. comes on the heels of the Supreme Court vacating and remanding a case about California’s “high capacity” magazine challenge for reconsideration under Bruen standards. I wrote about that here.
The Ninth Circuit now has to rehear the high-cap mag case of Duncan v. Bonta with stricter constitutional standards.
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