U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez delivered the ruling Friday, citing concerns over Second Amendment rights to block the proposed law.
While buying and selling magazines over 10 rounds has been illegal in the Golden State since 2000, a provision in the old law allowed those legally in possession of such magazines to keep them without penalty. The State Legislature voted in 2016 to remove that exception, a move that had controversial implications for California citizens’ Second Amendment rights.
Judge Benitez, based in San Diego, decided the absolute ban infringed on citizens’ rights to self defense.
“California’s law prohibiting acquisition and possession of magazines able to hold any more than 10 rounds places a severe restriction on the core right of self-defense of the home such that it amounts to a destruction of the right and is unconstitutional under any level of scrutiny.”
The judge concluded that the state law effectively made criminals out of ordinary citizens and was an overreaction to high-profile gun crimes. https://t.co/0gfPs01FNe— KTLA (@KTLA) March 30, 2019
NRA and California Pistol & Rifle Association attorney Chuck Michel expressed his support for Benitez’s decision and theorized that the ruling could strike down the original 2000 law banning the sale of magazines with 10 or more rounds as well as the 2016 revision, per NBC News.
“We’re still digesting the opinion but it appears to us that he stuck down both the latest ban on possessing by those who are grandfathered in, but also said that everyone has a right to acquire one.”
Judge Benitez cited different women fighting off home invasions to demonstrate the consequences of the ban in his decision. In one case he mentioned, a woman was able to kill an attacker using extra bullets in her magazine. In contrast, he referenced two other cases where women ran out of bullets and could not defend themselves during the course of similar invasions.
The NRA praised the decision as a “huge win for gunowners.” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra gave a statement to The Hill, stating that his office is “committed to defending California’s commonsense gun laws and are reviewing the decision to evaluate next steps.”
The State of California will most likely appeal the decision to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Depending on the decision in that court (if the state appeals as expected), the case could go to the Supreme Court for a final resolution.